Interview with international pastel specialist Heather Harman

Heather Harman in studio contrast

The pastel medium has been a lifelong love for Heather, and today she is regarded as one of the primary exponents of the ‘full painting method’, of pastel painting, and also as one of the important frontrunners of the new Pastel renaissance.    She works in 5 styles of pastel portraiture from drawing through to full painting, and continues to push the medium in her popular landscape work.  Her passion and constant challenge for some 30 years now has been capturing the special quality of light in the landscape, whether it be in the beautiful mists of England, or the exciting contrasts found in the sunlight and shadows of the Mediterranean landscape, but above all subjects – her passion for painting skies is all consuming. 

Today we are thrilled to bring you an interview with Heather Harman.

What kind of art do you create? And how would you describe your style?

I’m a commissioned portrait painter, and a canine art specialist. In the landscape genre I produce work which is contemporary realist (traditional) and impressionist.

Heather Harman

What are your favorite art materials?

No contest! I am know Internationally as a pastel specialist/tutor/author/historian

What are the products you sell or produce? And where do you sell them?

Mainly do commission for portraiture. My landscapes – I have gallery representation in the UK and France and I exhibit worldwide in the major art shows. My next exhibit is in Taiwan in April. On a local level there are clients who collect my work too which is nice. Later this year I hope to have open studio days where interested people can come and see what is for sale and special offers. I often let my demonstration pieces go for a very good price – my demonstration pieces are very popular!!!

I also have introduced a new line of Harman Minis’s – pastel miniatures around 7 x 8 inches. These are very collectable and clients can but them knowing that there will be some wall space for them. I also sell these for gifts which people can post abroad. I have a collector of these in Hungary! and a lady who purchases them for gifts for her daughter in California – she calls them her ‘charms’. When I asked her what she meant she said that years ago she would buy her daughter golden charms for her bracelet and every Christmas and birthday she didn’t have any worries about what to buy. Charm bracelets were good for present buyers. My Harman Mini’s are fulfilling that function for her! I have a local exhibition scheduled for 2015.

HeatherHarman Leanne & Mojo &Mobile 66x80cm

Where are you from originally? And what drew you to the area of Spain you now live?

I am British born and bred in the midlands but spent 30 years in Lancashire – Blackpool, Lytham St Annes. I live now in Canillas de Aceituno near Velez Malaga.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Nature. My passion is light – one of the reasons I moved to Andalucia

bluebells Alston_edited-1

What are some of the creative activities you like to take part in, in the area?

I am a passionate supporter of the animal rescue groups in the area. Every year I donate a few dog portraits to Axarquia Animal Rescue (AAR) and to Costa Animal Society (CAS).


What would you say are the key milestones to you becoming an artist and selling your work?

I was a child artist. So I genuinely find that a difficult question. I have always painted. I had a teenage career back in the 60’s and was fortunate enough to meet many of the pop stars. One milestone however was when I was only 13/14. My portrait of John F Kennedy was hung in the National Archives Gallery in Washington. The BBC covered that story. I am lucky however in that I have worked for many famous people in portraiture. I was Billy Connolly’s tour artist back in the early 80’s, and others; Elton John, Boy George, My portraiture client list is full of comedians, musicians, entertainers .

What is your favourite piece of artwork and why?

It would have to be Monet or Rembrandt – to many to mention.

pueblo light1_edited-1

What is your dream for your art?

My dream is more for pastel – I work to promote the medium. As for my work – the same as all serious artists – I hope that my work is appreciated.

What advice would you give other artists and creatives living in the Costa Del Sol area?

Get involved with initiatives like yours. Network and contact each other as much as you can,. It is all too easy to feel isolated as a creative in a new country. The contact with other artists is vital especially if you are just beginning


heathersmilycrop2013reseizedMy quest for capturing the right effect of light in my painting  is the most important aspect of my work, whether it be the colour filled shadows in a sun filled Mediterranean Garden, or the more specific demands of a beautiful portrait – illumination is paramount.

Connect with Heather here: Website | Facebook


Heather also hosts workshops which we have featured here on the site and please look out for her special painting holidays to be announced soon.

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