Greg Harris was born in California in 1953. In 1972, he attended Long Beach University studying art and theater. He also, at this time, began watercolor painting and song writing. From 1973 to 1986, he played in bands at local nightclubs, then later professional ‘gigs’ in hotels on the west coast. In 1977 while on the road in Spokane, Washington, inspired by a book on French impressionism, he began to paint in acrylic and oils, copying and studying the impressionists and old masters. Following graduatiion from university, Harris worked as a freelance artist, often for the motion picture business – Columbia Pictures purchased eleven paintings for the film ‘Annie’. He continued his studies at the Art Student’s League in New York City until 1985 when he returned to California.
He cites the artists Monet, Millet, Jules Bastien-Lepage, Andres Zorn, and Leon L’Hermitte as among his greatest influences. In addition to these European influences, Harris also references the techniques of the Boston School of painters, including Sargent, Benson and Tarbell.
His subjects are most often women in period costume set against sun-drenched, natural backdrops. As Harris states: “A large part of the time, I allow a scene or environment to dictate what I’m going to paint. I try to approach it from the ‘plein air’ concept…. you’ve got to get out there. That’s the best teacher an artist could ever have – painting from life in natural light”.