A few years ago, while Lily Harrington was a senior in high school and had already discovered that she had a talent for art, she met a wonderful interior designer who commissioned her to do a painting for a project in Atlanta. Lily jumped at the opportunity, created a beautiful abstract painting with perfect composition, a good balance of values, a synergy of positive and negative space and a bold color palette. The designer was thrilled, the vignette was photographed and a year later, it showed up in the largest circulation women’s magazine in America! (Photo below Better Homes & Gardens, design by Heather Roberts, Ivy & Vine; photo above by Emma Rolader).
This kind of instant recognition and success is what dreams are made of and they rarely happen in real life … except maybe for someone with the competence, confidence and natural talent of Lily Harrington. Shortly after this happened, we started seeing more work coming out of the prodigy, and when it started to be a steady pattern, the gallery gals and I approached Lily’s mother, Meg, and asked if she’d be interested in joining the gallery. (Despite the familial connection, we promised that all the same rules would apply to her, and the only one I’ve broken is that this blog about Lily is a surprise that Meg doesn't know about.)
Lily recently graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.A. in English and a B.S. in Cognitive Science. While at UGA she was a member of Chi Omega and served as the rush chairman in 2018. (We remember that period – it was pretty intense!) I asked her how she could find the time to paint while she was in school, and she admitted it was tough:
“Between classes, studying, socializing (wink wink) and sleeping, I could barely find enough time to think...let alone paint! I also lived in the dorms and sorority house my freshman and sophomore years, so I really didn’t have any studio space to work. My aunt was so gracious and let me go to their house in Athens and paint whenever I could find the time.”
In her junior year, Lily moved into a house with 8 other roommates, and managed to set up a little studio in a big closet. It was full of suitcases and cleaning supplies, but it worked. She started painting more and more, and although she wasn’t fully a member of Huff Harrington Fine Art at the time, she still managed to squeeze out a few paintings every few months. One of them landed on my inbox while I was in France.
I immediately picked up the phone, texted her Mom and in one of my few moments of complete spontaneity, said, “I need this painting!” (and luckily knew the right people to make it happen!). It now has primo location in our home and makes me happy whenever I see it.
Lily has now been painting for over six years, and we are so excited to fully welcome her to the Huff Harrington Fine Art family. Her latest work arrived last week and there's already been a rush on it:
Luminous, 48x48, $2,200
And at Huff Harrington Home, Lily's work strikes a nice chord mixed with antiques and one-of-a-kinds. I asked her a few questions recently about her process and influences.
When did you first discover that you could paint and what prompted you to paint?
I had always been decent at art and had a lot of artistic influence from my mom, grandma (Eileen) and aunt. However, I discovered my ability for painting in high school when Heather Roberts of Ivy and Vine asked me to do a piece for a client of hers.
(Lily shown here at Huff Harrington Fine Art with the artistic influences in her life: Aunt Stephanie, Lily, Grandma Eileen and mother Meg)
What was the process like?
I didn’t really have a process at the time. I usually just decided my palette and figured out the composition as I went.
Has your work evolved in the last few years?
- Absolutely. I feel like I have more control over the canvas now. My work has more dimension, strength, and maturity. I’ve learned a lot over the past couple years and I think it shows.
What medium do you use?
- I use a mixture of oil and acrylic, and I always use a touch of pastel for refined detail.
Where have you studied?
I’ve been self taught thus far
Who has influenced your style?
What artists do you admire the most?
my grandmother, Eileen, is who I admire the most. (Ed. note: Do you remember that awesome blog Meg wrote about her 100 year old mother, Eileen? See the painting below by Eileen Feus: So beautiful.)
What inspires you to paint?
- Being in the “groove” is always my biggest inspiration. Of course, running into roadblocks on the canvas is always a good way to grow and learn, but when I’m fluid and at ease I get inspired easily. (Color and the outdoors are influences, too.)
How do you develop your palette choice?
- Often I’ll be inspired by the palettes of other paintings, or I’ll just begin with one or two base colors and start mixing on the palette board. Sometimes the palette comes as a request from a client.
(This gorgeous painting was inspired by a bouquet of flowers she received from her Dad at graduation.)
Where do you paint?
- I usually paint in a small “studio” in my house in Athens (it’s really just a big closet with a gigantic window)
How much time do you devote to each day?
anywhere from 5 hours to 20 minutes! Just depends on how I am feeling :)
What music do you listen to?
- Michael Bublé and Norah Jones are my go-to. They both remind me of my mom, who I always associate with painting and art.
Lily with Meg, Molly and Scott Harrington
So Meg, this must be like another dream come true! I know it is for the gallery, for our clients and for me, as we all appreciate having the girl we grew up with turn into our very own talented artist. Bravo, Lily! And welcome to the gallery.