I find myself to be a contrarian at times, so as a painter, the description of a “contemporary traditionalist” is fitting. It reflects my effort to use imagery that is clearly current while honoring the tradition of painting. My narratives are told with characters and scenes that are ordinary in our modern world. My paintings are material records of the places and people who have been significant to me in my personal experience. I discover and re-tell themes that make up our human experience.
But remember, this material record is only paint on a surface. I don’t want you to lose sight that the painting is an object by itself. I continually experiment with the paint and surface and texture, so that it has a life separate from the subject it describes. The image is not photorealistic, but rather sumptuously painted by any means necessary, whether it is impasto paint with palette knives or thin glazes of color.
I can share this imagery honestly, because it is the one I know.
I grew up in the small town of Redlands in Southern California. It holds a University that was surrounded by a sea of orange groves with a purple mountain range as its backdrop. It was the quintessential small town filled with odd characters, opposing points of view, and erratic transitions from old habits and traditions to a modern SoCal suburb. My own upbringing was equally eccentric and mainstream. My adult years took me from UC Santa Barbara for a Bachelors degree and then down to San Diego State for graduate school. I have lived along the coast of California ever since. My husband and I migrated back to Santa Barbara to raise our children and have remained here for the last 25+ years. True to my beginning, this home town is on the northern edge of Southern California and also holds a University surrounded by citrus and avocado groves with a purple mountain range as its backdrop. I work daily in a large barn that faces north toward the Santa Ynez Mountains in a cozy neighborhood surrounded by horses.
Find my full CV Here. http://www.holliharmon.com/selected-exhibitons