Born in Cambridge, England, to an academic family, Harrington has been making paintings for most of his life. His aesthetic emerged while studying under David Schirm at Carnegie Mellon in the 1970's. At CMU Harrington was also led to Hindu and Buddhist cultures and meditation practices. Harrington says that, "As a painter, an intuitive pathway opened up for me about 25 years ago, a kind of personal artistic Koan, which I am following to this day." Harrington is a long time Zen practitioner, and shares a studio with his wife, Susan, a ceramicist, in Jemez Springs, New Mexico, which he describes as "our hermitage in the foothills of the mesas."