Harriet studied at Falmouth Art School, where she lived for over a decade. Returning to Cornwall after a time in London, she began to develop her unique style of painting. Taking wood from skips and painting on them, often with her daughter’s finger paints, she started painting her beguiling figures. Full of passion, sadness and beauty, her paintings reveal many aspects of her own emotional response to life events. She exposes a vulnerability many of us can relate to: opening up to another human being and allowing them to look beyond our outer shields. She says, “I suppose I have used painting as a catharsis over many years, allowing my own vulnerabilities to be released time and time again.”
Harriet traces her artistic choices back to notable influences early in life. She attended a convent school, where she recalls seeing the icon of Mary for the first time. “I was completely mesmerised by the depth of emotion in each interpretation of her face.” But perhaps more importantly, she was drawn to the mystery and romanticism of the Romany and circus communities: groups of people who live outside of society, maintaining an understanding of survival and a relationship with the natural world despite ongoing prejudice and abuse from the rest of society. She says, “For me, this human strength and vibrancy, along with the aesthetic glory of these studies, offers me an unlimited source of inspiration.” Harriet’s work champions the value of these communities and challenges our society’s lack of empathy and engagement with them.
“I had the immense pleasure of living next to a family of Roma in Cornwall, and to this day I have yet to come across funnier, kinder, warmer people. They are hardworking and decent, and have contributed hugely to both my own situation and to the wider community. I shall always be proud to say they are my friends.”
She currently exhibits in Bristol, London, New York and Paris. She has also exhibited frequently in Tuscany, Florence and her paintings have found their homes in many private collections worldwide. She was recently published in New York's ICA volume 6 publication of International Contemporary Artists.