Hi there! Meg here and we're delighted to update a little Q & A we did a while ago with one of our artists, Lily Harrington. Yes, she's my daughter - and yes, I'm immensely proud of the beautiful work she creates and that we get to hang at the gallery (we just received a lovely new collection, hot off Lily's easel).
First of all, sorry if this sounds like a little much on my part, but it's fun to watch an artist develop and grow (especially if the artist is your kid!). So bear with me and reacquaint yourself with Miss Lily.
HHFA: tell us how you got started painting.
LH: that’s kind of a funny story. I was babysitting for the fabulous Heather Roberts of Ivy & Vine. She was designing a condo and needed artwork. We were chatting one evening and she asked if I’d be interesting in doing a painting. I’d never done something like that before, but told her how I’d loved art and grew up surrounded by it. I ended up doing a fun and vibrant orange and pink 36x48, and well…the rest is history (p.s. - it got featured in a 2017 issue of Better Homes & Gardens, eep!)
HHFA: we might have heard that oil paint runs in your veins. Give us the back story on that.
LH: my grandmother, Eileen Feus, was a fantastic artist. Her skill knew no limits. She excelled in just about every medium possible, but had a certain knack for oil painting. Her pieces were exquisite—always the perfect balance of light, texture, and color. Although her work was primarily representational, she’s always been such an inspiration for me as an abstract artist. (Meg: my mom, (Lily's grandmother), was definitely one-of-a-kind. Click here for for a little introduction to her we did when she turned 100. We very sadly lost her last August but she made it, feisty to the end, to 101. She's left a hole in our hearts but luckily it looks like her spirit has left its mark on Lily.)
Then, there's my aunt, Stephanie Cartwright, has also been a major influence on my career as an artist. She has taught me techniques I use to this day, and have taken my work to the next level. She taught me about color, composition, and most importantly, balance.
But I’d have to say, I think the thickest oil in my veins is from my mother. She introduced me to the world of art—and all of its splendor. From museums in Europe to her very own gallery, Huff Harrington, she made sure my childhood was marked by beautiful, complex, and canonical brush strokes. (Meg: wow, thanks Lily!)
When oil paint runs in your veins...Stephanie, Lily, Eileen and Meg
HHFA: you’re definitely an abstractist. What inspires your work?
LH: hmm, that’s a difficult one. I’d have to say: other artwork. I am always awestruck by what other artists have managed to create, and it’s always inspiring to know that there are so many ways to share and learn technique and color.
HHFA: tell us about your technique. How do you apply your media to the canvas?
LH: I typically start by determining where the darker values will live on the canvas; I’ll apply a thin layer of paint to map out the composition, and fill in from there! I usually start with a vision for the painting, but it always turns out different than I expected.
HHFA: speaking of media, what’s your favorite?
LH: I love oil. It’s so rich and deep. The palettes you can create are truly endless. It’s a very difficult and stubborn medium to work in though—so every painting is a new challenge, and a new opportunity for growth.
From the Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles Serenbe Designer Showhouse (Photo: Jeff Herr, design by Intuitive Dwellings
HHFA: we hear you’re living in NYC. Where on earth do you paint and tell us a little bit about that.
LH: Well, the minute I stepped into my 3rd floor walk-up in the bustling East Village, I thought: uh-oh. I tried my hand at painting in my living room, but that was a comical disaster. After long deliberation, I decided to rent a studio in Brooklyn. It’s a lovely 10 x 12 space with great light and plenty of room.
Even though I’ve checked that off the list, I still face the daily struggle of lugging supplies 30 minutes on the busy subway. But that’s New York for you - always a challenge, but generous in its rewards.
All the Joys in Life
HHFA: what kind of environment do you like when you paint? Music, animals (we know the answer to that!), TV?
LH: In my perfect painting world, I’d have a cat lounging on the chair, Michael Buble crooning in the background, and a crisp glass of rosé. In my reality? Music coming from a dingy speaker and dings from my work computer (yes, I actually have a full time job! But shhh, they don’t know I paint in between meetings.)
The Grass is Always Greener
HHFA: favorite art museum?
LH: these aren’t necessarily museums, but the Old Bank Hotel and The Old Parsonage in Oxford, England, have the most splendid personal art collections I’ve ever seen. And better yet, you can drink and dine while you enjoy the work!
The Little Things
HHFA: you get to invite three artists (living or dead) to dinner. Who’s on the guest list, what are making and what will you chat about?
LH: oh that’s a tough one, too! Hmm I’d have to say: my grandmother, Eileen, Nancy Frank, and Laura Lacambra Shubert. It would be a fabulous ladies lunch with a fresh mesclun salad followed by Chicken Marbella and panacotta (an eclectic meal!). We’d chat about art and life and everything in between! (Meg: sounds like such fun and Grandma would definitely want a dry martini!)
A Lily at Huff Harrington Home
We'e so excited that Lily just sent us a new supply of paintings from her little Brooklyn studio. They're here at the gallery and waiting for you to come by and take a peek.
I've loved chatting with her about being an artist - and as a mom (and gallery owner), I've happily lived through Lily's journey in art. From easels, brushes and canvases strewn about a room to worktables overflowing with tubes of paint, turpentine, jars or pencils and oil crayons, I'm so thrilled to see my daughter's passion and talent shine through.
It's an honor and a privilege. (And, from a proud mom, thanks for reading!)