The Gordon Harrison painting I didn’t buy, sigh – ottawa citizen – november 2008


Consult this article in PDF

Gordon Harrison is an Ottawa landscape artist who quit his comfy government job a few years ago to paint full-time. He now has his own studio in Ottawa’s Byward Market, and he has a vernissage this weekend, Friday, Nov. 21 to Sunday, Nov. 23. The times are 5 to 9 on Friday, and 11 to 5 on Saturday and Sunday, 100 Murray St.

I get sort of melancholy when I look at Gordon’s stuff, because I get to thinking about the first painting that I saw of his, about six or seven years ago, at an art show in Rockcliffe. I saw it from across the big room and knew right away that I had to have it. It was kind of like the first time I met Mrs. Big Beat, except she didn’t come with a price tag. (The 10th anniversary diamond necklace did.)

Anyhow, I don’t have an image of the exact painting that I saw that day, but this smaller version is quite close and gives a good idea of what I saw. I knew from 50 feet away that it was P.E.I., though I’ve never literally seen a scene such as this on P.E.I. I just knew that it was. And I would have bought it on the spot had not I, er, recently spent a significant amout of money on two other pieces of art, thereby blowing the art budget for that particular quarter. Somebody else bought the painting, and I hope they enjoy until the very day when I break into their house and steal it.

This time Gordon is doing the west coast, with some striking canvases of the mountains. Landscapes, like flowers, are done to the point of banality by amateur artists everywhere, but Gordon’s work reminds the viewer that no matter how many hobby painters do their best to make us sick of landscapes, real artists bring the scenes back into our esteem.

Check out Gordon’s work at
If you go to the vernissage, toodle across the street to Navarra for a meal. Great art, great food. Life is beautiful. Though it would be more beautiful if I had bought that painting.