First posted September 2007, slightly updated
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 Wikipedia bio, a lesson plan about his life, a page about his paintings (link updated 2017), a teacher's guide to using Harris paintings to teach about Canadian symbols, and a few other paintings scattered online.
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:
2. "A Meeting of the School Trustees,"1885. Of course you have to watch the Historica Minutes video that brings the painting to life. (On You-tube.)
3. Portrait of Sir John A. Macdonald,1890 "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.