Book Reviews

Jan Stirling’s creativity is apparent to anyone who has heard her play. A talented and successful musician and therapist, Jan has also recently published a wonderful memoir of the friendship she had with English-Canadian artist Ted Harrison.

“You know how sometimes you meet someone and you just click?” Jan Stirling’s relationship with Ted Harrison was as simple as that. Described by an early reviewer as a love story, what Ted Harrison’s Rainbow Road really does is show you how people can connect on the most elemental level. Once they’ve done that, their friendship can take them anywhere.

Along with wonderful memories of time spent together, Ted Harrison – renowned painter, Order of Canada – also left Jan with a series of ‘word paintings’. These freeform poems came about from a need Jan saw in Ted: “I saw that he wasn’t painting, and needed a creative outlet. I noticed when he spoke that he was so eloquent in the moment, and I would sometimes prompt him to speak about topics that came up naturally.” Those freestyle improvised words were captured and saved. Now the painter’s words have been revisited.

It’s a tender reminiscence of a unique friendship. Jan approaches the memoir with a freeform touch, allowing the moments to build, one upon each other, and leaving the reader knowing a new side of the great painter, Ted Harrison.




By Deborah Rogers