• By: Keith Whittier

Jeremy Harder: The Art of Dynamic Doodling

Photo courtesy of Jeremy Harder

For as long as he can remember, Jeremy Harder loved to draw. By the age of five, he was already receiving praise from family and friends for his talent. By the time he reached high school, Harder was constantly filling notebooks with doodles and designs.

“All through high school and various jobs, I’ve always doodled in notebooks, but never really considered using it as art.”

After working in full-time positions unrelated to the art world, Harder decided it was time for a change.Jeremy Harder The Art of Dynamic Doodling - image 4

“I just wasn’t totally happy. I definitely wanted to be making art instead,” he recalls. “I found anytime I had a full-time job, trying to make art was just impossible. It was too hard to find the time.”

So, about a year ago, Harder left his job at NAV Canada to pursue art full-time.

“It’s amazing,” he says. “It’s the best feeling in the world to be able to do something your passionate about. There’s nothing like it.”

Harder continued to explore his unique style of doodling in ballpoint pen but then began experimenting with colour—adding marker, water colours, pencil crayons and egg tempera paint into the mix to illustrate landscapes of the Ottawa Valley, where he grew up. He says these scenes have sentimental value.

“These are all favourite places I like to go in the Valley. All my family is from there. I spend a lot of time there and it’s just a great spot if you like nature and being outside.”

Up close, Harder’s work is an intricate entanglement of lines and shapes, but take a step back and this geometric jigsaw transforms into tranquil Ottawa Valley scenery. Harder’s style of dynamic doodling seamlessly translates into his landscape pieces.

Harder says this style is partially influenced by three of the greats: Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh and Salvador Dali.

Jeremy Harder The Art of Dynamic Doodling - image 1
Photo courtesy of Jeremy Harder

“From a young age, I really gravitated towards (them) and I never intended to take anything from their work but now that I look at the landscapes I can see little bits and pieces.”

Harder says he finds his work “meditative,” as calming as the Valley scenes themselves.

“I just feel better mentally making art all the time. It clears my mind… I kind of get into a rhythm and when I’m done I feel really good after drawing, the same way as I do after meditating.”

Harder’s collection of soothing scenery currently adorns the walls of The Manx Pub at the corner of Elgin and Frank. This is Harder’s first solo show, but he says he hopes to do many others and get his work into a local gallery.

“I’ll do it ‘til I’m dead,” he says. “Hopefully I don’t ever have to get a regular job again. That’s the plan, I’m going to try and do it forever.”

Ottawa Valley Landscapes is on display at The Manx Pub until March 1.

To see more of Harder’s work, click here to visit his website.

Click here to learn more about The Manx Pub.