After 30 years as a high school teacher of English and Latin, Elaine Harrison decided to paint. Completely self taught, but influenced by many, especially Van Gogh, her main inspiration was her love of nature.
She attended Dalhousie University, graduating in 1937 with a Bachelor of Arts with distinction in Latin and English. She moved to PEI with her family and began her 30 year teaching career.
Carrying on the tradition of women artists throughout the century, Harrison was an inspired teacher, believing that education was not a means to an end but a way of life - a nurturing of the creative mind.
Harrison painted the wonder of her world; the sea and sky, trees and flowers, children at play, portraits of people and cats. Her work is deeply textured, and, often one image is painted over another, with a loose, thickly coated paint knife.
Her influential work as a teacher has been publicly acknowledged by a scholarship set up in her name in 1981 by former student George Rankin Schurman and with a medal for Meritorious Service to the education of the province's youth from the University of Prince Edward Island. In 1997 she received an honourary degree from UPEI
She died peacefully at her home in June 2003.