Though she got a late start at studying and professional painting, American Impressionist Harriet Randall Lumis would enjoy a successful career. Born in Connecticut in 1870, Lumis' parents would discourage her interest in painting and drawing, and she would not be able to enjoy this activity until after her marriage in 1892.
She began to receive formal instruction in 1896, from Willis S. Adam who advocated the Barbizon School of painting "en plein air" and with a romantic eye for nature. Her earliest works under Adam's instruction were Tonalist landscapes, and she would soon seek the opinion and training of other artists. Her next mentor was Leonard Ochtman who introduced her to the New York Summer School at Mianus, near to the Cos Cob colony of Connecticut. Here she would paint less formal works with a significantly brighter palette. She would also reduce her scene to smaller vignettes rather than broad landscapes.
By 1912 Lumis was ready to submit her works, and entered the Buffalo Society of Artists annual exhibition. Her works received good reviews, and she was inspired to continue exhibiting her paintings. She continued to study and show her works and became a founding member of the Springfield Art League in 1919. By the early 1920s she had acquired professional representation in Chicago and St. Louis, was elected to the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors and had altered her technique to an even lighter and less textured style.
Interestingly, at the age of seventy-nine Lumis invited traditional artists to join her in founding the Academic Artists Association; a group that would defend realism against the heavy influence of the modern and abstract works entering the mainstream.
She exhibited widely throughout her later career, and her works are in many important private and public collections.