For the last fifteen years I have been working as a professional artist, concentrating on my love of horses and hounds. Growing up with an array of naughty ponies and a mixed bag of dogs, the most natural thing for me to do was capture them on paper as best as a child could.
When I was introduced to hunting with the Ledbury, my love of Disney dogs evaporated, replaced by the majesty of Hounds and I have never tired of the subject. There is something so primeval about being on horseback and watching hounds in the English countryside which I find never fails to tantalise and inspire my work
In my teens, I came across the work of Alfred Munnings, Cecil Aldin and Lionel Edwards, all of whom I admire yet do not seek to imitate. Munnings mastery of light with such bold brush strokes never ceases to amaze me, every nuance of a horses movement is caught, seemingly without draughtsmanship.
I view Cecil Aldin as the Master of dog sketches, the emotion and character caught with a few deft lines has never been surpassed in my mind. And Lionel Edwards, his watercolours perfectly capture the tradition and vistas of England with uncompromising talent.
From these masters I can only hope to learn, but painting actually takes a certain amount of bravery for an artist, as we are always criticizing ourselves as professionals, and often forget the love of painting that we were born with.
My work varies between traditional portraiture to large monochrome studies, and my ‘drippy’ hounds which I have become known for.
I exhibit at Badminton Horse Trials and Olympia Horse Show annually, and try to have a solo exhibition every couple of years. As well as the hunting side of my work, I also undertake polo paintings, as my husband and I both developed the bug a few years ago. My passion for my paintings correlates with my passion for participating in the sport, be it polo or hunting. Having done both, when I am in my studio I can be mentally back in the saddle, or at kennels so that whatever I am putting onto canvas is as authentic as what I feel.
I am now based in the New Forest, where, on a daily basis I am fortunate to observe the ponies, deer, cattle and sometimes pigs! The landscape is hugely different to that of Worcestershire and I find myself torn between its farming landcsape and the heathland and enclosures of the Forest, but both captivating.
A lovely description of my work from a client was that my paintings “..have a heartbeat” , and this accurately describes exactly what I hope to convey. I work in a variety of media, from pen and ink to oils and also undertake private commissions of dogs and horses.
My paintings are in private collections worldwide and I have won a variety of awards through the Society of Equestrian Artists, as well as having my work used by Olympia Horse Show, The Countryside Alliance and The International Polo Club in America for advertising purposes.
Annually I produce a range of signed limited edition prints which are available from my website www.debbieharris.co.uk where my original work can also be viewed.