Personal Note

Steve Harris was born in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1953 and is self-taught as an artist. He moved with his wife Karen and two daughters to Australia in 1991 and now resides in Jervis Bay, New South Wales.

I’m not sure, but I think I was born with paint splattered on my powder blue booties and my first words were, “I NEED TO PAINT NOW.” I have yet to confirm this with my mother. My earliest memories are of Christmas Days unwrapping my much anticipated art supplies and quickly retreating to the drawing room

to try out my new set square, pencils and sketch pad. My compulsion and urge to create was as strong then as it is now. My dear wife, Karen, can testify to that (her love is patient).

Realism was not intentional. I did not feel the need for another direction. But I have learned to understand some things about painting in the real, such as the fact that reality and truth is tangible.

As far as technique is concerned, I treat each painting as a new adventure, not knowing exactly where the end will be. I endeavour to go beyond the rules and push the boundaries. More often than not, I show the hand at work, like splatters of paint and movement of a brush. I would get bored if I tried to present a technique that would perhaps be a little sterile. I would say it is more dynamic than dogmatic or rigid. If I were to classify my realist approach, I would say it is not super-realism, photo-realism or surreal etc. It may be something like ‘real-spontaneous’, but I like the term ‘painting in the real’. For me, the initial idea is the essence.



I paint still life because I am always drawn back to the idea of seeing the ordinary or mundane in a new or different way. To bring back to life that which has been discarded and to give it regard or to give the ‘everyday’ its day.

And of course it would still be dead or mundane without quality light breathing life upon it. The light is perhaps the most important aspect of each painting and to stage the subject as theatrical is for me, a most enjoyable element to my work.

There is another quote from Proust which I feel may be relevant:
“The objects are summoned, out from the everlasting darkness in which they have been interred.”

In a sense, I carry the same themes into the landscape and I very much enjoy the luminist time of day, those moments between day and night, or night and day. When the light is dancing, shimmering and racing through the hues, behind and upon a subject that has been touched in some way by humanity. But also giving us a perception of something that is much more eternal and majestic as our minds focus on ourselves and creation, and before the light that beautifies it.