Local artist Don Harmon, who tries to capture the essence of nature in his sculptures, has been invited to display his work at the world's largest invitational sculpture show and sale this August.
Born in Iowa, Harmon was often critical of his father, a jewelry maker, because he thought his father's pieces were plain.
"One day my father handed me a block of clay wax, and he told me to see what I could do with it," Harmon said. "That was when I realized that creating was harder than it appeared."
At age 12, Harmon began exploring his artistic edge and feeding his imagination with comic books.
"Art teachers wanted too much control over the creative process, so they really did not help in the advancement of my interest," Harmon said.
In 1952, Harmon was in the United States Navy and stationed in Adak, Alaska. It was there that he discovered his talent in a paint-by-number kit of The Last Supper.
"I couldn't stand the faces," he said, "so I started blending these globs of color to give it more story, character and personality."
With that, an artist was born.
After the Navy, Harmon went to work for a series of aerospace companies in southern California, spending his evenings and weekends creating and selling his oil paintings.
Harmon wrote a book about oil painting techniques titled, "Landscapes in Oils the Natural Way."
In an art gallery in San Diego, Harmon molded another calling and talent.
"I saw some phenomenal bronze sculptures, and I thought that I could do it," Harmon said. "Motivation is everything."
Retiring from the aerospace industry, Harmon established Bronze Art by Harmon.
"I wanted to capture the moment of those seldom seen special characteristics which reveal the essence of nature," he said. "I want to seize those rare moments that others may not experience in nature."
His first piece, "Foraging," is an eagle sweeping down to snatch an unsuspecting fish out of the water.
Harmon, who moved to Payson three years ago, works in a realistic style, sculpting only in the medium of bronze, dedicating up to four months to perfect each piece.
His work reflects an interest in wildlife and Native Americans. His goal is to sculpt Western and nostalgic motifs into his repertoire.
Currently, he said, the most popular piece in his collection is a buffalo. Harmon creates limited editions of his sculptures.
"I keep track of those people who buy each piece," Harmon said. "After I have made the final piece in the edition, I break up the mold and send a piece to each customer, guaranteeing that it will not be reproduced."
Each bronze creation ranges in price from $450 to $5,000. Harmon also creates pen and pencil drawings ranging in size from note cards to matted prints, and oil paintings, which sell for as much as $2,000.
Harmon, who has won art awards ranging from first place to best of show, will display nine of his bronze sculptures Aug. 11-13 in the Loveland Invitational Show and Sale an art-appreciation display in Loveland, Colo.
"I was so grateful to be selected," Harmon said. "This is a wonderful opportunity to be participating with 250 other artists from all over the world."