Alto Artists’ Studio Tour
Spotlighting Artist Debbie Harris

Except for dabbling in drawing now and then in high school, Debbie Harris’ aspirations in art weren’t really focused until she decided to make art her major in college.  However, one semester of art in college proved that an art major had to make a substantial investment in supplies and, like many college students, money was limited. By necessity, she changed her major, obtaining instead a degree in science, ultimately becoming a high school science teacher.

That postponement in artistic expression didn’t deter Debbie. Her husband was sent to Indonesia for his work and there Debbie began a self-taught adventure in oil painting. She was talented, no question. Her work was accepted by a very established gallery in Jakarta, priced $800 and above for an invitation-only show: definite endorsement of her skills.

Jakarta is located on an island, surrounded by water, and Debbie felt her work could be better portrayed in watercolors. She felt she could capture the climate better with a different medium than oils, so again she proceeded to teach herself expression in watercolors. She excelled. Successfully selling and teaching during her 22 years in Jakarta.

As patron Betty Weimer testifies, “My husband and I encountered the art of Deborah Harris at an art exhibit in the Hyatt Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia. We immediately fell in love with the rich depictions of scenes of Asian life in watercolors.  We learned to attend her openings early as she tended to paint limited quantities that were very sought after and frequently her exhibits were sold out quickly.”

A scientist and an artist? Left brain, right brain? Debbie explains, “In both science and watercolors, one has to plan ahead. Mistakes in either could negatively affect the results”.

A move to London found her presenting her portfolio to the prestigious Royal College of Art. She was interviewed and accepted but her acceptance was late so no painting classes were available. The next-best choice was ceramics, which she had never pursued. As one would expect, she learned quickly and expanded her repertoire to include detailed ceramic sculptures, which she continues to create today.

“Janie and I are native-born New Mexicans, but work took us to other parts of the country to live.  We have collected several of Debbie’s paintings depicting the New Mexico that we both love.  We enjoy her work with the warm vibrant colors that only occur in NM and look forward to her next showing of art which she has promised will showcase even more of this area,” remarks Gene and Janie Hammons

Talent is undeniable as evidenced by her breadth of skill in artistic endeavors.