Artist bio

Harlie McCurley is a visual artist who works primarily with paint and fiber. Born in the foothills of Southern Appalachia, she utilizes Appalachian native species, landscapes, and southern culture to influence her work. She has exhibited throughout the United States including at the Southern Highland Craft Guild Folk Arts Center in North Carolina and the Hudson Valley Seed Company’s Art of the Heirloom Seed exhibition in California. McCurley was chosen as a teaching assistant at the John C. Campbell Folk School and has had her arts-based research published through an Appalachian Regional Commission grant. She received her B.A. in Visual Art from the University of North Georgia.


Flax on Fire



Artist Statement

My process for any creative work is research. I first studied the book of Ephesians and other verses related to the spiritual battle theme. I decided to focus my imagery on flax after reading Isaiah 42:3 “A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench…” In the background, I wanted to represent flames, as suggested by the “smoking flax” of Isaiah 42:3. I selected a warm palette and smeared the paint in an upward direction to create movement and suggest flames. After selecting a color palette for the foreground subject (flax), I utilized the same palette and muted it for the background text so that it would not overwhelm the subject. However, my goal for the audience is to view the foreground subject, then notice the words, and to visually go back and forth between the two. I gathered several references images and made sketches until I found a composition that was suitable. I stylized the flax plant by making partial, dark blue outlines to create further contrast and clarity from the background. This fits into my overall canon of work by representing, both of my primary media; weaving in the subject of flax, and painting in the creative execution.

How it fits into contest

Ephesians 6:10 calls Christians to be strong in the Lord. Strength and gentleness are not commonly thought of together, but that is exactly the character of Christ. During Biblical times, flax was used for candle wicks. In Isaiah 42:3, “A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth” we see that Christ tends to our weakness with gentleness. He doesn’t snuff us out like a smoldering wick, but lifts us up! The imagery in the painting I created shows a flax plant untouched by the flames in the background. We cannot win the spiritual battle by our own strength, we are to be empowered by the Lord.


Harlie McCurley - Creator

How to Purchase this Artwork

Flax on Fire
Original Acrylic Painting
9" x 9" round canvas
Price: $500

To purchase this work or inquire about another work, please contact me by email:

Other Goods & Services Available from this Artist

I’m available to create commissioned work and facilitate creative workshops.

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