Advice on the art of making art a career

Severna Park painter says planning is vital

August 26, 1999|By Joni Guhne | Joni Guhne,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Welcome to "The Pro File," an occasional feature in which Anne Arundel Live will introduce you to a professional entertainer, artist, musician or dancer who is doing something noteworthy in the area. Today's pro is Severna Park painter Richard Hood Harryman, for whom the business of art is itself an art.

The Pro

His portraits, nautical paintings, landscapes and cityscapes fill his studio and grace some pretty lofty walls -- the U.S. Capitol among them -- but Richard Hood Harryman would rather tell an aspiring artist how to make art a career than talk brush strokes and color pallets.

"It is a business. That's a thing many artists have a hard time coming to grips with," said Harryman, who has been teaching artists how to become independent for more than 30 years.

A written plan -- a step-by-step list of where you are, where you want to be and how you plan to get there -- is the canvas of an art career, Harryman says. It's the attitude that forms the finished product.

Students from across the region who attend Harryman seminars and workshops learn to create careers through business plans and Harryman maxims: Work for nothing to start and never take no for an answer.

"And, I tell them, don't worry about the competition; the only person you have to exceed is yourself," he said.

Harryman has been a Marine, held jobs with the CIA, the Navy and an art agency, and done portraits on commission. He founded the Maryland College of Art and Design in Silver Spring on his way to developing a life that would allow him the freedom to wander the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, sketching the harbors, lighthouses, boats and people whose lives revolve around the water.

Through his nautical themes and landscapes in watercolor, acrylic, pastels and oil, Harryman conveys the serenity he gets from those surroundings.

"I paint because I have something to say," he said. "To my audience I say, `Know me by my art. I experienced this. It moved me. I share it with you.' "

It's similar to the message that he passes on to other artists.

"I don't necessarily love the business; I accept it as part of what has to be done so that I can enjoy the art," he said.

The File

Age: 71; born in Baltimore, raised in Baltimore County.

Education: University of Maryland, 1953, bachelor of arts in fine arts.

Home: Severna Park for the past 12 years.

Personal: Married 49 years this month to Jean Harryman ("her job is to keep me straight"); father of two, grandfather of three.

Inspired by: Vincent van Gogh and contemporary painters Richard Schmid and John Howard Sanden.

Favorite medium: oil. "I grew up with it, and I'm more comfortable with it."

Quote: "Even after 40 years, it is pure magic for me when the paint-laden brush touches the canvas."

Check him out: Sept. 9 through Oct. 3 at a showing of his paintings, prints and posters at the Main Street Gallery in Annapolis. On the Web: www.buyart direct.com.

Pub Date: 8/26/99

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