Brenda Harris has been interested in art since early childhood. She has always had a love for drawing and often competed with her older brother in drawing art contests from magazines. Brenda originally began studying for an art degree in her first year of college, but decided to change her major to biology. Brenda went on to earn a BS degree in Biology and a BHS degree from the Physician Assistant Program at Duke University. Though she is passionate about medicine, her love of art has remained constant. Brenda is inspired by nature and its bold and bright colors. She enjoys working in acrylic and watercolor. Brenda is known for her very expressive brushwork that captures objects, animals, people and places that we may take for granted or overlook. Her works come to life on canvas and fine art paper, but she also favors weathered Masonite board, irregularly shaped papers, reused paper, wood, fabric, and poster board. Brenda is furthering her study of art by taking online courses. She is also having exhibitions juried locally and nationally. Brenda currently resides in Roxboro, North Carolina where she grew up.
The excitement of bringing things to life with bold and bright colors and different mediums has inspired me to draw and paint. I am at peace drawing and creating things of nature. I am continually learning how to use rustic materials in my artwork.
Meet the Artist
Q: What was your journey to becoming an artist?
HARRIS: As a child, my brother and I loved competing and drawing with each other. I was always creative, noticing all the surrounding nature on the farm we grew up on. I used whatever was available to draw on giving my art a rustic appearance. I also learned to sew, which included creating art with my sewing, using left over material and making art projects. After high school, I went off to college planning to major in art, but I wasn't sure if I would be able to find work in the field. Ultimately, I changed my major to biology. I graduated, worked for several years, then decided to further my education and entered the Duke University Physician Assistant Program. Upon graduation from Duke, I worked in the medical field for over 20 years. I decided to take a sabbatical some years back and that allowed me to return to art, which was my first love.
Q: Was there much art in your life during your childhood?
HARRIS: Yes, I loved drawing. My brother and I would participate in drawing contests we found in magazines. I wanted to pursue a career in art at a young age.
Q: What inspires you to create?
HARRIS: I am an observer, a noticer, a thinker. I love nature and animals and when I see something that catches my eye, I put it on paper.
Q: What advice would you give to another artist--established or emerging?
HARRIS: Follow your heart and imagination. There's no limitation to creating what you love. Don't be so hard on yourself by judging and comparing your work to another artist. Your art is your own unique creation.
Q: Is there a piece of work that you've created that you are most proud of?
HARRIS: Yes, a couple of earlier pieces I did, a weeping willow tree and a wisteria tree. They are large pieces that I put all my imagination and heart into creating. I created them using matching plaster and Masonite material.
Q: What do you like most about being an artist?
HARRIS: The simplicity of creating what you love doing. The peace and possibilities of making someone smile and enjoy your work.
Q: What are you working on now?
HARRIS: I am working on a watercolor painting of my tiny cabin and a wisteria tree.
Q: How did the idea for your penguins watercolor painting come about?
HARRIS: I loved the idea of fatherhood of penguins. It was my first watercolor painting and it just flowed together so well.
Q: What's the most unusual thing that you've used to create a painting?
HARRIS: I have used patching plaster to add texture and a 3D effect on my art. I also Masonite and Gorilla Glue.
Q: Aside from art, what are some of your other passions?
HARRIS: I love reading my Bible and crafting. I enjoy caring for people who need me. I am returning to my career as a physician assistant soon, but I will continue creating art.