Lawren P. Harris was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1910. He was the son of Group of Seven artist Lawren S. Harris, thus it can be assumed he had exposure to the arts at an early age. He trained in Boston at the Museum School of Fine Arts from 1931-33. He was encouraged to become an official war artist by the Canadian High Commissioner to Great Britain, Vincent Massey.
Harris served with the Governor General's Horse Guards during the first three years of the Second World War. As a war artist he remained with them in Italy as part of the 5th Armoured Division during 1944. Most of his war landscapes depict tanks in the spectacular hilly landscape near the Melfa and Liri Rivers and towards Ortona.
A majority of Harris's paintings are watercolours, a medium he was not, in fact, comfortable with, as he considered himself an oil painter. Many of the watercolours were composed on relatively small sheets of paper. He began his artistic career producing figurative works, later moving on to landscapes.
He died in 1994.
Over his career Harris had many solo exhibitions at Canadian universities and participated in numerous group shows, including a two-man show with Jack Humphrey at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts in 1955.
Among his many affiliations, he was a member of the Canadian Group of Painters, Ontario Society of Artists, Royal Canadian Academy, and Maritime Art Association. Harris held honorary doctorates from Dalhousie University (1971) and Mount Allison University (1976). His work is held in numerous public institutions, including the National Gallery of Canada, Canadian War Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario and Beaverbrook Art Gallery.