The walls of the New Moon Art Gallery are adorned with a diverse blend of work by Spokane’s local artists. Alice and Chuck Harmon are preparing to add to the mix with a selection of new paintings at their joint gallery opening, “The Moon in June Circles Around You.”
The local couple shares a passion for painting though they took different paths in discovering this love.
Alice Harmon, who grew up in a family of artists, has been painting her whole life. She describes her artistic nature as an element of herself that is “at the core of her soul.”
Chuck Harmon began painting in 2009. Traveling with his wife to art hubs such as Santa Fe, New Mexico, was part of the inspiration to pick up a paintbrush. Another part of the inspiration: Alice Harmon herself.
“I’m sitting in my recliner, watching sports on TV; I’m in nirvana, and Alice comes in and hands me a paintbrush and says, ‘You need a hobby,’ ” he said.
Sure enough, Alice Harmon’s passion rubbed off on her husband and the two have been painting together ever since.
Despite their shared love of art, their personal painting styles are quite different. “We are not experts in each other’s art,” Alice Harmon said.
Chuck Harmon has a distinctly abstract style. He enjoys painting landscapes, each portraying reality infused with a bit of his signature whimsy.
“My landscapes are never truly real,” Chuck Harmon said, “but some are more abstract than others.”
He is creative in his tool choices, too, using things such as toothbrushes and old hotel room keys, to create texture and dynamics in his paintings.
Alice Harmon describes herself as not having a particular style; she simply follows her inspiration. “I’ve always just painted what I wanted to paint and that’s what I still do because that’s what makes me feel good,” she said.
In many cases, Alice Harmon is inspired by bright colors. One of her pieces for the opening, “A Punch Bowl of Rainbow Trees,” has a swirly blue sky and rainbow speckled leaves falling from the trees.
This particular work is dedicated to the artist’s father, Leo Patrick Driscoll, who is buried in the National Cemetery in Hawai’i, commonly referred to as the Punchbowl, under a rainbow tree.
Alice Harmon’s art doesn’t stop at the edge of the canvas. She also works with with clay, wood and beads, among other mediums. Her current project is a painted rug on the basement floor of the couple’s home.
The Harmons also are collectors of art. They even have a wall in their home named the “Other People’s Art” wall, or the O.P.A. wall for short.
During the show, the couple encourages guests to take a look around at the work of other local artists at the gallery as well. “The gallery is very eclectic,” Alice Harmon said.
Perhaps there’s a new piece there destined for the O.P.A. wall.