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It's on these wooded trails - beneath giant conifers beside the Pacific - that Megan Harris clears her mind of all thoughts and draws in the energy that inspires and fuels her art. (Image: Katia Beaty)

Artist of the Week: Megan K. Harris

Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists and today marks the first weekly artist feature on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at hello@seattlerefined.com. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art , that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!

Her Instagram is stamped with shots of Washington's coastal woodlands looking their best. Waves crashing or still, the pictures feature nearly every combination of blue and green you have come to expect from living in this part of the country. Deep azure, cobalt, turquoise, cerulean, sapphire, teal, and beryl are stitched into each square. It's on these wooded trails - beneath giant conifers beside the Pacific - that Megan Harris clears her mind of all thoughts and draws in the energy that inspires and fuels her art.

Megan’s work is certainly earthy and features “a lot of flora and fauna” she will tell you. What’s immediately striking is that her go-to medium (a combination of watercolor and India Ink) seems to capture something alive and dynamic within each two-dimensional piece. It’s easy to imagine her bright paint seeping slowly across the canvas until the final droplets evaporate, locking pigment into place. Her splotches of color appear to be barely contained by the surrounding jet-black ink.

I caught up with Megan to learn about her creative process and find out where to go see her work showcased around the Puget Sound.

Seattle Refined: How long have you been working with watercolor and ink? Do you work with other mediums?
Megan: I’ve been working with ink for about 10 years, and watercolor for about 5. I typically stick to ink, watercolor, and gold or silver paint pigment. It’s taken me over 15 years to figure out what kind of medium I enjoy the best and I’m glad I took the “watercolor challenge” so to speak. It’s weird but when you find the medium you love it just resonates. It’s like when Harry Potter’s wand chose him. Super cheesy, I know, but it just clicks! Watercolor has a reputation for being finicky but I honestly think that by learning this medium it helped me let go of the idea of perfect execution within my work. It has taught me to see a lot more beauty in an organic, abstract, free-form expression, which has now become the base of all my work.

Can you tell me about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
My process is a little all over the place. At times I create very planned out pieces and other times I wing it because I just need to get started. It's amusing to me because both scenarios can produce some great work but the difference is extreme. One process is to concept hard for days: sketch, paint, toss and start over until I have organized the correct composition. My second process is more free flowing: walking into the situation blindly and seeing where my mood or feelings drive the piece of work.

When and what is the next art show where your work will be displayed?
I’m very excited to be in the September Capitol Hill Art Walk, where I’ll be showcasing work at Saint John's Bar & Eatery. Luckily, I was noticed by Laurie Kearney, Founder & Curator of Ghost Gallery! I also keep my website www.misspnw.com updated with all my work.

What is the largest piece you've submitted to date?
Largest was close to 2’x4’. It was huge! It was a very different experience creating something that is two-thirds my size!

When submitting for a show, does a collection stay within a certain mood/theme/color scheme or wander a bit?
I’m trying to create a voice and cohesive feel throughout all my work. I use similar color schemes, and similar techniques throughout different pieces but test out new ideas constantly. I always want to have an arsenal of ideas to bring into my work.

Lastly, how do you take your coffee?
I like a good cold brew, or an Americano with almond milk!

To see more of Megan’s work, check out her site and follow her Instagram @mk_harris

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