Bio

Susan J. Harris is an abstract mixed media artist who 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 curing 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.

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 studied under Francis Kendall, the late North Carolina artist, who instilled in Susan not only a love for many art forms, but a desire to experiment and the joy to be found 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 land, close to their two grown children.

Artist Statement

To me, art is an expression of the inner self. I paint what I feel in my heart and imagination, not what I see. This translates to a painting full of emotion and thought. I paint intuitively using deep colors and rich textures to abstractly capture the world around me. My abstracts are an exploration of identity, capturing mood and layers of emotions. They are inspired by faith and centered around themes of healing, joy and restoration with the hope of connecting with others going through similar experiences.

In 2011, I noticed circles had found their way onto most of my canvases 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 really am--as an individual and as an artist. For me, circles represent my commitment to paint from the heart, letting what's on the inside spill out onto the canvas.

My paintings incorporate at least one circle, maybe more. They may be found in the painting itself or on an outer edge, pronounced or subtly embedded. I invite you to take a moment to find my circles.

Commercial Installations

  • BLUE RHINO
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Artwork: Shades of Sapphire 2
  • COMPREHENSIVE CANCER CENTER at WAKE FOREST BAPTIST
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Artwork: Peaceful Waters 2
  • CONE HEALTH CANCER CENTER
    Greensboro, NC
    Artworks (8): Quiescence, Conscious Thoughts, Time Fragments, Moving Forward, Quiet Trust,Moments in Time, Contemplation and Secret Thoughts

Publications / Recognition

  • 2016   THIRD PLACE AWARD
    Artwork: Tranquility - Second Spring Arts 2016-The Power of Story, Winston-Salem, NC 
  • 2014   HONORABLE MENTION AWARD
    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

  • 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
  • GALLERY OF ART AT THE CHAMBER
    Greensboro, NC (Past/Closed)
  • CIRCA GALLERY (Past/Closed)
    Asheboro, NC
  • GALLERY OF THE ARTS (Past/Closed)
    Winston-Salem, NC  
  • HEART OF LIVING GALLERY (Past/Closed)
    Greensboro, NC
  • UPSTAIRS GALLERY (Past/Closed)
    Greensboro, NC

Online Presence

 

Favorite Inspiration

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


Testimonials

TOUCHED BY LOVE

"Dear Susan, I'm so thankful I saw your painting in the coffee shop! Your words spoke to me so much. The idea of "love" caring so much. . . so much to refine. I had to have your beautifully, spiritually feeding painting. It is such a special part of my home and story especially because my life has so been touched with love. And, the pain turned to gold." 
Leslie A., Granville, Ohio

 

RELEASED

"Susan,
I am so blessed by the painting. I can't even begin to explain how much it means to me. I am going to pray that it will speak to others as it speaks to me so God can use it for His glory and honor.
Thank you so much!"
A. S., Welshpool, Wales, UK

 

UNFAILING LOVE

"I love walking into the house and seeing the painting. I love looking at the painting before I go to bed at night. I love coming down in the morning and seeing the painting. Every time I look at the painting it takes my breath away. 
I love the painting!" 
S. T., Greensboro, NC

 

SHADES OF SAPPHIRE 2
(commissioned)

"Thank you Susan! 
The painting looks amazing!"
Keagan P., Winston-Salem, NC

 

RIVER OF HOPE 2
(commissioned)

"I just wanted to tell you how pleased I am with the painting. It has been a pleasure working with you and exchanging emails, I really enjoyed the process. We have not hung the picture yet, still enjoy looking at it in front of the fire place; we will put it up this weekend and will email you the picture once it is up. Thank you again for your wonderful work on the 'River of Hope 2' painting."
Serei C., Yorba Linda, CA

 

SECRET GARDEN

“Oh My Goodness. It is spectacular! The pic on your website did not do it justice and I loved it there. Susan, I can’t tell you how much it means to me to have a little bit of you in my home.
Thank you so much!”  
Shelby J., West Palm Beach, FL

 

STREAMS
(commissioned) 

"Dearest Susan --
I am so excited to have your exquisite art grace my bedroom." 

Sheila S., Los Angeles, CA