Often portrayed in Harding’s drawings were family scenes, children playing, and youthful love. Several of her illustrations focused on young girls at boarding school and oung career women. Her children and young women were characterized by wide, penetrating eyes. The early illustrations were often done in ink or oil, but her most typical, mature work for Century, Harper’s Monthly and McClure’s Magazine was usually done in charcoal. There is
a velvety richness in her best charcoal drawings and a fluidity in her use of line related somewhat to the style of Violet Oakley and Elizabeth Sluppen Green.
Harding’s illustrations have a s ontaneous quality about them. To heighten the intricate decorative e? f eet, she often added dramatic shadows cast on a wall or placed tr pography and signs in the background. For McClure’s Magazine, her il ustrations sometimes spread along the entire edge of the pa ex, or small vignettes were playfully interspersed with the text.
She worked from models. When sculptor Alexander Calder was a young boy and lived nearby, he posed for some of her illustrations. Harding encouraged her brother George to go to Wilmington to study with Howard Pyle. After her marriage to James Adams Brown, a mechanical engineer, in 1905, she continued to do some illustration. By 1915, when they moved to Smithtown, Long Island, she had stopped working. In a letter to Thornton Oakley, dated 1925, she wrote of her lans to draw again when her daughter was in college. A few years before Âe r death, she explained to Oakley that, except for a collection of drawings given to the Library of Congress, “Everything else went into a bonfire. I had no reason to keep for that phase of my life had ended years before.”
Harding received silver medals at the Women’s Exposition in London in 1900, at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, and at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco in 1915. She was a member of the Plastic Club, the Pennsylvania Academy Fellowship, and the Philadelphia Water Color Club.