Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Fall Term Picture Study: Robert Harris

This term we aren't following the Ambleside Online rotation for picture study; since we're also doing two Canadian musicians (rather than composers per se) for music appreciation, I thought we would match that in our art study by doing some paintings by Robert Harris (1849-1919).

Although Harris did some very recognizable Canadian paintings, it isn't all that easy to find information about him, except online, or unless you live in Prince Edward Island (we don't). Our public library has exactly one adult biography of Harris.

However, since we live in this golden age of technology, books aren't our only resource. There's a photograph of him here, a Wikipedia bio, a lesson plan about his life, a gallery of some of his paintings, another site with some pictures and notes, a teacher's guide to using Harris paintings to teach about Canadian symbols, and a few other paintings scattered online. Not to mention the Historica Minutes Vignette (i.e. one of those T.V. commercials) of his painting "A Meeting of the School Trustees."

So I think we can scrape half a dozen or so picture lessons together for this term. These are the six I'm planning on using, not necessarily in this order:

1. "Harmony," 1886.

2. "A Meeting of the School Trustees," 1885.

3. Portrait of Sir John A. Macdonald, 1890 "Robert Harris` most famous portrait of the first Prime Minister of Canada. Sir John A Macdonald was quoted as saying 'Paint me, warts and everything' and that is what Harris did for this most impressive portrait."

4. Cartoon for "Meeting of the Delegates of British North America to Settle the Terms of Confederation, Quebec, October 1864," 1883. The painting is better known as "The Fathers of Confederation." A cartoon, in this sense, isn't meant to be funny; it was more of a mock-up for the final painting; which was, unfortunately, destroyed in a fire in 1916.

5. One landscape--which one, I haven't decided yet.

6. "Last Days of Burns," which isn't online that I can see.

7. A nature-sketching lesson based on these lesson plans and an untitled sketch from Harris's nature notebooks--which also isn't online, so if I want to use this I think I'm going to have to go beyond the public library, or just make it not a Harris study at all (I just liked the idea for a drawing/nature lesson). [Update: I found the thumbnails here--there are three views of his nature notebook.]

And maybe this one:

8. "School at Canoe Cove, P.E.I.," ca. 1880.

1 comment:

Marsha said...

Hi to the Squirrellings - we have been to Canoe Cove, PEI many times. I was so excited to see a painting by Mr. Harris of it. It is right on the ocean - the Northumberland Strait. This part of the ocean - between PEI & the North Shore of Nova Scotia is WARM because of the Gulf Stream. In the summer the water can get up to 25C. It is warm enough that my kids went swimming there last October! There are red sandstone cliffs there and a sandy beach. The red cliffs contain iron-oxide (that's why they are red) & that is also what makes the soil in PEI red. PEI soil does not contain selenium - a micro nutrient that animals & humans need. So animals have to have needles at birth containing selenium! We go there because there is a camp there called "Camp Kier" - a Presbyterian children's camp that we use for Fall retreats. It is about 30 minutes from Charlottetown. It has farms all around that grow - can you guess? Potatoes! So a lot of trivia - not sure if it will be of interest to you but since you are homeschooled it might be!

I'm afraid I have not seen the schoolhouse in Mr. Harris' picture. It could be they were holding school in the church on the property. That very old church is still there.