Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Harrison Howard and his Fanciful World





If you've heard it from me once, you've heard it a million times.... I get weak in the knees for Chinoiserie ("good" Chinoiserie, mind you.). So it was with great excitement that I learned about artist and decorative painter Harrison Howard. Howard spent the early part of his career painting murals in private homes, working for such illustrious design firms as McMillen, Inc., Irvine and Fleming, and Pamela Banker. Fortunately for us, Howard now paints beautiful watercolors and wall panels that are reminiscent of a bygone era.

Inspired by the Chinoiserie illustrations of 18th c. French artist Jean Pillement, Howard paints colorful and charming scenes of Chinese men keeping butterflies, painting sea creatures, gazing at the stars through a telescope, and fishing (words don't do them justice;
you must see them for yourself.) There is also a series of flower and shell people which reflect Howard's love of flowers, children's book illustrations, and fashion illustration. Believe me, while this series is whimsical, it is anything but sugary.

While Howard's watercolors are available for sale through
his website, you might also be interested in one of his limited edition giclee prints. I just recently purchased one of these prints (in case you're wondering, it's "The Butterfly Keeper" featured at top), and if I didn't know better I would have thought it was the actual watercolor painting itself. It's colorful and amusing, and it brings a smile to my face everytime I see it. The print was also shipped from San Diego (Howard's home) to Atlanta with great care- no damage reported! So, here are a few samples below, but there are many more on his site. I'd love to hear what your favorites are.

From the "Chinoiseries" series:


"The Crab Painter"


"The Departure"

From the "Shell and Flower People" series:


"A Friendly Meeting"


"The Looking Glass"


"The Greeting"

Howard's "Shell" Series:


"The Green Angaria"


"Yellow Pecten with Red Seaweed"

25 comments:

  1. wow - great find! These are so charming!

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  2. Jennifer, this is wonderful! I'm so happy to learn more about him.

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  3. These Harrison Howard watercolours are utterly charming, and witty as well.
    My favourite would have to be the The Greeting, with it's slightly surrealistic cast shadows...quite wonderful.

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  4. Such colorful charming scenes, the last couple make me wish for summer time. Thanks for sharing Jennifer!!

    ~Kate

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  5. These are absolutely addictive; thanks for sharing!

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  6. These are amazing. I loved the shell and flower people series--they are so amusing that I found myself laughing out loud while looking at them. They have almost a surrealistic quality to them because of the composition and perspective (or the absence of traditional perspective) which I find fascinating.

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  7. Mr. Howard's work is exceptional! The colors and detail are amazing. Thank you for sharing his work, Jennifer.

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  8. They are all so lovely, thanks for sharing!

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  9. I too share your love of the Chinoiserie, (and Regency style), and I will be featuring a fragment of Chinoiserie wallpaper that hangs in my dining room, in my new blog, so please look out for it. Have been hunting around for great interiors blogs, as I'm a newby, and am delighted to come across yours. Thanks!

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  10. First, I look forward to receiving your blog every day. They are always inspiring and informative and I always keep my dictionary handy to look up a few choice words . . . better than word-a-day! But this blog about Harrison Howard is just the best yet! Thank you so very much. Since you asked, my favorites are the moon sailors! I can not say enough - except that I am completely inspired by these illustrations. Thank you.

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  11. I adore these! I'd like to own the crab painter and the friendly meeting as a duo hung in my livingroom. But I love the greeting! I want them all. Than you for this introduction!!!!!!

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  12. these watercolors are charming and fresh

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  13. I've always loved chinoise designs. The illustrations are stunning!

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  14. Jennifer - what a great find! Can't wait to check the site. Patricia

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  15. Thank you for the introduction, Jennifer! These are smashing and remarkable..."The Departure" is my favourite.

    I pop in to visit your weblog and I always find myself obsessed with something or someone new (to me).

    Happy Easter!

    -PP

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  16. ooh I love the looking glass esp. These are all so amusing!

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  17. oh! how nice to see mr. howard getting some attention here! i've been a fan for years, not just for the chinoiseries but for his mural work, which i admired a great deal when i was starting my career.

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  18. Jennifer, this is so great! I love the sea-hat people.

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  19. Oh wow - these are really beautiful!
    XX
    Anna

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  20. Thank you for sharing! These artworks are beautiul!

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  21. I just bought the Butterfly Catcher for myself for a 6th wedding anniversary present...I think I'm going to have to get another more. One doesn't seem like enough. They are all so beautiful!! I always seem to buy prints at least in pairs! Thank you for the post. I love his work.

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  22. Melissa- Don't you just love it?? I think you're right- you can't buy just one! :)

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  23. Jennifer,
    I know it's almost a year later but never to late to comment on Harrison Howard. He painted a mural in the dining room of my sister-in-laws family in LaJolla.
    It is gorgeous. How lucky for you to have acquired some of his work.
    Maybe some day I will be able to do the same. If I do I will be sure and let you know. Love visiting your blog.
    All the best.
    Lisa

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  24. Lisa- I hope you do get the chance to purchase some of Harrison's work. Not only is he talented, but super nice too! I bet that mural is to die for!!

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  25. though i am a bit late in leaving a comment, i just had to do it. i could never, ever pick a favorite even if my life depended on it! the flower lady, sea of poppies, crab baiting, rendevous at night, outdoor interior scene and on and on. thank you for such a beautiful post. kerry

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