Ted Harrison Northern Landscapes


Ted Harrison is one of Canada’s favorite painters. He was born in England in 1926 but immigrated to Canada’s Yukon in the 1950’s. His vibrant paintings of the people and the landscape of the Yukon Territories has brought Harrison many fans.

I would highly recommend the book Ted Harrison Collected by Robert Budd for the wide variety of art displayed in the book. Kids will love the flat colors and vibrant nature of his art.

What You’ll Need:

  • 12” x 18”white sulphite paper
  • Liquid Tempera Paints (blue, white, red, orange, turquoise)
  • Red, turquoise, pink and purple oil pastel
  • Ted Harrison Visuals
  • Optional: Posca Paint Markers

Ted Harrison Winter Art project that teaches color Value

Use a variety of colored oil pastel to draw a Ted Harrison Inspired background. I like to start at the bottom of the paper and work up towards the middle and finally the sky (top of paper). Working this way allows you to achieve perspective. Mountains or icebergs should grow smaller the farther away they are. Drawing a flat water line can act as the horizon line.

Draw gently rolling hills or snow drifts near the bottom of the paper.

Draw icebergs, mountains and a body of water in the middle of the paper.

Draw mountains in the distance.

Ted Harrison Winter Art project that teaches color Value

TIP: Don’t add too much water to the liquid tempera paints. You only want enough water to allow the paint to spread easily. 

To paint like Harrison, use a round pointed brush to paint inside all the shapes you created when drawing your landscapes. Resist the urge to paint over the lines as your painting will look much better if you work slowly and carefully. 

Keep each shape one paint color.

If you look closely at Harrison’s work, you will see that he uses bold colors to outline his shapes. You could use black oil pastel but my students liked the blues, pinks and red colors better.

If you can afford it, buy paint markers with a medium to bold point. These work amazing to create strong line details in works of art.

Use the water to clean your brush only. Paint that is drippy with water will look more like a watercolor painting rather than an oil painting. You want your paint to be thick so it covers your paper well. Using a paper placemat (top picture) is helpful to help clean your brush and remove extra water.


This lesson with Standards, Full Tutorial, Drawing Handouts and Assessments are available inside the WINTER ART Bundle.

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  • Rahul

    This is a very practical and useful article for children.


  • Ann

    Hi there! I was just wondering which type of paint you use for this activity (e.g., watercolour, acrylic…). Also, do you use any other materials (e.g., oil pastels)? Thank you!

    • Patty Palmer

      I have the supply list and links in the lesson plan but basically, this project uses simple materials: paper, liquid tempera and oil pastels.

      • Anna Henderson

        Hi, Just wondering how I can purchase this lesson?

        • Patty

          Hi Anna, This is on of the many lessons included in our Sparklers Club–a membership program for art teachers. You can download 3 art bundles each month plus access TONS of art videos and teaching resources. Enrollment opens on Aug 24th. To be notified when enrollment begins, add your name to this page an download a few lessons while you are there :)https://www.sparklersclub.com/tsc/learn-about-the-members-club/

  • Theresa

    I was wondering if you teach this all in one lesson, meaning teach about both artists, then allow the kids to choose with artist/ landscape they want to be inspired by or do you as the teacher teach one artist per lesson? I am very excited to try this with my 4th graders. Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks! 🙂

    • Patty Palmer

      Hi Theresa,
      I taught the lessons separately. It’s possible to teach both at the same time, but the styles are slightly different and you would have to prep two different paint palettes. Harris uses browns and blues while Harrison uses pinks, red and purples.
      One thing you could do to offer variety within the lesson is to branch out on each artists paintings. I used similar paintings within each lesson but you could expand to offer more suggestions and inspirational pieces.
      Hope this helps.

  • Katie Halford

    Hi Patty, Do you these lessons could be adapted for grade 2? Thanks!!

    • Patty Palmer

      Hi Katie,
      Honestly, the project looks easy but it might be a bit challenging for second grade. My suggestions is to take the project slow…take lots of time to create the drawing and lots of time to create tints and shades. 2nd graders don’t have the painting finesse that 5th graders have so the results may vary.

  • halfordk78@gmail.com

    Thanks for getting back to me!! I have purchased the lessons and will try to modify the lesson and will definitely take it slow. Love your site. Thanks again!

  • carlaarnouville


  • Shelley Henrion

    I see this portion but below you mentioned the list of materials attached to the lesson. I’m a member, is the lesson available to members, inside membership?

  • Edward Cooper

    I love what you are doing with these kids. VERY INSPIRATIONAL!!!!!!!!!!!!! Kids have NO fear. Minimal instructions and they go for it. Very nice colorful works.

    • Patty

      Thank you so much Edward!

  • Gretchen

    Can you please tell me what is the title of the painting you used in the Title of this lesson?

    • Patty

      I actually don’t know! It was a combination of a few from one of his books.Perhaps checking out his website will help. Loads of beautiful art. 🙂

  • Rose Wrede

    I had already purchased this incredible book. I think the illustrations are stunning. The story is so strong. I am really enthused to try your landscape lesson plan with my student artists.

  • vhudson23

    How can I download this lesson?

    • Patty

      We don’t have a free lesson PDF but if you are a Sparkler, this lesson is in the Art from Canada Bundle inside the private website 🙂

  • Dana Grue

    I’d love to see how to create the Ted Harrison work with the house and chimney in the background of the DSS video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0tyB_bMFU4&t=191s


  • Ginny

    Haven ‘t srarted yet. The lesson plans are clear and colourful :)) I will write a comment again after the homeschoolers try this. Grade 5/6.

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