Harris's oil paintings are generally based on his watercolours and were completed after he returned to England. He often combined a number of watercolour images on one canvas to create a more complex composition - a "composite" as he called it. (3) Melfa River Crossings is a particularly fine example of a small Harris watercolour later used as the basis for an oil painting. The landscape predominates in this 9-by-10 inch work (23 x 25 cm), which is incorporated into a larger oil painting of the same title.

Melfa River Crossings CWM/MCG 12704 Melfa River Crossings, Italy CWM/MCG 12705
Melfa River Crossings Melfa River Crossings, Italy

Battleground near Ortona, a large one metre square oil on canvas is based on a small watercolour approximately 11 by 15 inches (28 x 38 cm) in size titled German Anti-Tank Position. In the oil painting, the destroyed tree to the right of the composition is simplified, as are the background details. The tank and anti-tank gun and the rocket trails in the sky appear in both versions of the subject. The dead horse in the foreground of the oil painting is an addition to the composition. 

Battleground Near Ortona CWM/MCG 12657 German Anti-Tank Position CWM/MCG 12687
Battleground Near Ortona German Anti-Tank Position

After the war Harris headed the Fine Arts Department at Mount Allison University and his style of painting became increasingly abstract. During the war he had completed a number of oil portraits, which were remarkable for the dour seriousness of the sitters' expressions.

Major General J.M. Roberts, DSO, MC CWM/MCG 12714 Lt (Nursing Sister) F.M. Copeman CWM/MCG 12673
Major General J.M. Roberts, DSO, MC Lt (Nursing Sister) F.M. Copeman

In the decades following, he continued to paint portraits that display little of his abstract interests. His war paintings are all housed at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, the watercolour images remaining among his most popular works.

Harris in Ortona, Italy CWM/MCG 19940072-011 Clearing Ortona Streets of Rubble CWM/MCG 12687
Harris in Ortona, Italy Clearing Ortona Streets of Rubble


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