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February 6, 2013

Having access to Fred Harris’ diary, provides actual details of Clara’s life as an artist which otherwise could only have been speculative.  Diary entries describe a married couple, ahead of its time.  Fred and Clara encouraged each other to pursue personal artistic ambitions even when it meant travelling separately for long periods of time; often in inclement weather; with less than today’s modernities in transportation and accommodation.  Provided with these details alters the viewer’s perception of Clara’s works.

Consider her two paintings of Haliburton in the winter:  Horses Pulling Logs and Winter in Haliburton.  These are not the result of a casual pastime designed for a lady of leisure. As described in the diary Clara took at least five winter trips over a period of four years varying in length from five days to three weeks.  There were inconveniences and unplanned circumstances. 


March 16, 1938 - Clara off to Haliburton
March 21, 1938 - letter from Clara
                            -  letter to Clara

January 10, 1939 - Clara off to Haliburton 8 am. Day is starting fair and nice
January 15, 1939 - letter to Clara in Haliburton
February 5, 1939 - Clara home about 3:30

February 20, 1940Clara coming down with a cold right after evening out, all packed for Haliburton
February 25, 1940 - Clara off for Haliburton
February 27, 1940 - Clara at Haliburton
March 20, 1940 - Clara back from Haliburton

February 11, 1941 - Clara off for Haliburton
March 3, 1941 - Clara phoned from Haliburton

April 1, 1941 - Clara away to Haliburton
April 10, 1941 - Clara home at 12 midnight



Clara sums it up:

"It takes a lot of hard work to bring Haliburton snows into the living room."  from The Toronto Telegram, January 3, 1962 article,
“Artist Leads Trend Oil Painting Gifts–Not Gold Watches”.




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