William Harrison was born in Newport News and first became acquainted with the Town of Ashland when he attended Randolph Macon College in the 1960’s. At RMC he majored in English and was a member of Phi Delta fraternity. He looks back at his time at RMC with great fondness and said that he feels that the school gave him a great educational foundation which he has used every day of his life since. After completing his undergraduate degree at RMC, he finished a Master’s Degree at Wake Forest University and then went on to begin a career in teaching English literature. He and his lovely wife Beth met at Virginia Theological Seminary and then they raised their family in Spotsylvania County while they both were employed at NOVA as professors for 40 years. Mr. and Mrs. Harrison were lured to Ashland after their children had left home and they had both retired. After living in a rural setting for many years, the couple was looking for a vibrant town with plenty to do, and places to walk. They have lived here very happily for the past two years and enjoy “porching it” with friends and neighbors over cocktails at their beautiful home, the “McMurdo House”.
Shortly after Mr. Harrison retired, and after a period of enjoying naps and reading, he signed up for a painting class at the Liberty Town Arts Workshop in Fredericksburg under the instruction of Bill Harris. As time progressed, Mr. Harrison found he was painting all the time and rented a studio. He also gained confidence as his paintings began to sell and through participating in individual shows at restaurants and student shows which included his work.
Mr. Harrison currently rents a studio within walking distance of his home at the Hanover Arts and Activities Center where he paints most days. His preferred medium is oil on canvas but he also produces pen and ink drawings. He enjoys painting scenery, portraits, architecture, and animals and his work shows a wide variety of subject matter. His most recent work are portraits of his grandchildren, a Miami skyline and he is embarking on a series of paintings that will be all Ashland themed. His Ashland series will feature the town’s architecture, Randolph Macon College and a few Ashland “personalities” will be thrown in for good measure. He hopes to be finished with this series within a year and will host a show highlighting his Ashland works at the Hanover Arts and Activities Center when his has completed each painting. Mr. Harrison is also planning a spring literature course based on the works of Jane Austen and the films inspired by her work which he will teach at Hanover Arts and Activities Center.