Abstract mixed media artist Susan J. Harris works with deep colors and rich textures that capture the natural beauty of the world around her. She works layer by layer, building depth into the painting with modeling paste, natural fibers, papers, acrylic gels and found objects. The creating process takes time, and throughout each step she adds color, different hues that are washed, glazed, troweled or scumbled, building upon the layers that came before it. Each painting becomes a discovery, a story, and a study of the time it takes her to create it. A single piece can take weeks, months, or even years to complete, and her work is sought out by both personal collectors and public organizations that recognize the unique, intuitive, and introspective aspects of her art.

Harris started a new body of work in 2018. Inspired by the calming effect of elemental form and structure, the new paintings have been created in series. They originate from a desire to simplify design and process. Less is more is one of the best ways to describe this minimalist style. Susan is intrigued by the contrast of basic form, texture and color against empty space. Each painting incorporates the stripping away of all unnecessary elements and focuses on what needs to be there with an intentional purpose of bringing the mind back to a basic sense of calm.

Born in 1952 in Bristol, Virginia, Susan’s passion for art began at a young age. After moving to North Carolina in her early childhood, she took private lessons from the late North Carolina artist, Francis Kendall, who instilled in Susan not only a love for many art forms, but a desire to experiment and fine joy in every part of the journey. Throughout high school and college, Susan expanded her studies in a variety of disciplines, including pottery, sculpture, and stained glass, all of which have influenced her use of color and texture. She married her husband, John, in 1975, and continued to create art in her spare time as they began raising their family.

In 2004, after working in the corporate world, raising two children and caring for her aging parents, she returned to her lifelong love of art and her dream of painting full-time. It began as a way to to express and process the changes she experienced in life and encourage healing, but her art soon began connecting with others going through similar experiences within themselves. Her early exhibits centered around themes of joy and healing, and those themes continue to recur in her work to this day.

Currently, she is active in the art world on both a local and national level. She has served as a juror for fine art exhibitions and she assisted in overseeing a gallery of local artists in Greensboro, NC for several years. Her work has been published internationally and her abstracts can be found in private and commercial installations throughout the US, Canada and Europe. She works out of her home studio in Randolph County, where she and her husband live on 64 acres of beautiful countryside, close to their two grown children.

Artist Statement

I paint from the heart, letting what's on the inside pour out onto the canvas. This translates into a painting full of emotion and thought.

My intuitive paintings consist of multiple layers of deep color and rich textures. They are inspired by faith; centered around themes of healing, joy and restoration.

My series paintings are more of a minimalist style inspired by elemental form and structure, stemming from a desire to simplify design and process. Less is more expresses this artistic approach where form, texture and color are pitted against empty space.

In 2011, I noticed circles had found their way onto most of my artwork so I took an introspective look to analyze why they kept appearing. I concluded that painting does, indeed, have a tendency to reveal who I truly am--as an individual and as an artist. 

My paintings incorporate at least one circle, maybe more, representing my commitment to paint from the heart. They may be found in the painting itself or on an outer edge, pronounced or subtly embedded. 

Commercial Installations

    Winston-Salem, NC
    Artwork: Shades of Sapphire 2
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Artwork: Peaceful Waters 2
    Greensboro, NC
    Artworks (8): Quiescence, Conscious Thoughts, Time Fragments, Moving Forward, Quiet Trust,Moments in Time, Contemplation and Secret Thoughts

Publications / Recognition

    Artwork: Tranquility - Second Spring Arts 2016-The Power of Story, Winston-Salem, NC 
    Artwork: Focus - 2014 Spring Art Show, Franklin Square Gallery, Southport, NC
  • 2012   LOVE, LIFE AND PEACE - POETRY, PICTURES AND MUSINGS, pg. 28, Thomas and Arrington -- Artwork: Journey's Dream; Poem: A New Day
  • 2012   BEST OF THE BEST WORLDWIDE ARTISTS, pp. 110 & 111, Kennedy 
  • 2011   INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY OF ARTISTS VOL 1, pg. 155, World Wide Art Books 
  • 2010  BEST OF WORLDWIDE MIXED MEDIA ARTISTS VOL 1, pp. 77 & 78, Kennedy  

Selected Commissioned Artworks

  • Journey - 30x40 - Private Collector, Mechanicsburg, PA (2017)
  • Shades of sapphire 2 - 48x48 - Blue Rhino/BCBS Main Lobby, Winston-Salem, NC (2014)
  • Peaceful Waters 2 - 40x50 - Comprehensive Cancer Center at Wake Forest Baptist, Winston-Salem, NC (2013)
  • River of Hope 2 - 40x50 - Private Collector, Yorba Linda, CA (2013)
  • Secret Thoughts, Contemplation, Quiet Trust - 11x14 - Cone Health Cancer Center (2012)
  • Streams - 60x48 - Private Collector, Los Angeles, CA (2007)

Gallery Representation

  • NC FINE ART & GIFTS (Current)
    3900 West Market Street
    Greensboro, NC 27407
    Greensboro, NC
  • CIRCA GALLERY (Past/Closed)
    Asheboro, NC
  • GALLERY OF THE ARTS (Past/Closed)
    Winston-Salem, NC  
    Greensboro, NC
  • UPSTAIRS GALLERY (Past/Closed)
    Greensboro, NC

Online Presence


Favorite Inspirations

Sunsets, nature, abstract patterns and textures found in everyday life.