Artist Gets Ready For Payson Art League Show



The Indian warrior in bronze has been carefully wrapped and placed beside the other bronzes artist Don Harmon has sculpted and cast.

The landscapes he has composed and painted are crated and ready for transport.


Don Harmon will display his work at the Payson Art League's Fall Fine Art and Fine Craft Show & Sale this weekend.

Like 29 other artists, Harmon has spent time in the last few weeks deciding what creative works he will bring to the Payson Art League's (PAL) Fall Fine Art and Fine Craft Show & Sale this weekend.

In fact, Harmon still had paint on his fingers from putting the finishing touches on the untitled landscape when the photographer came to take the photo used on the cover.

The bronzes are titled Speaking with Spirits (male) and Sacred Songs (female).

He switches back and forth between the two mediums as the mood strikes him.

He also does pen and pencil illustrations and builds models.

"It seems like there are fewer and fewer of us hands-on guys," he said.

Working with his hands is a legacy from his father.

From the time Harmon was six years old he was helping his dad build or rebuild things.

His dad was a rockhound.

I remember we found an old Wurlitzer record machine and my dad took the motor and mechanisms out, then used them to make his own rock polisher, Harmon said.

‘But Dad, you could go out and buy a rock polisher,' Harmon said.

Painting as a child, Harmon found it frustrating, even though his sister and he would commiserate constructively.

He was an electrician in the U.S. Navy when he began to paint with oils. The year was 1952.

"I bought a paint by numbers kit of "The Last Supper" in the enlisted man's store," Harmon said.

The first thing he painted was Judas' face.

"I couldn't stand the color, so I started blending colors immediately," he said.

Honorably discharged from the Navy in 1956, Harmon began working for a series of aerospace companies during the day writing business procedures for engineering departments. Weekends and evenings he made time to pursue his passion for art.

By 1966 he was teaching oil painting and in 1975 "Landscapes in Oils, the Natural Way," a book using his painting process, was published.

By 1988 he wanted to try something new so he switched to acrylics, but something was still missing.

As a boy he had gone hunting just once and shot a rabbit.

The small success did not make him happy. Instead it made him resolve to capture his prey on canvas or in photographs.

The way he saw art evolved when he walked into a San Diego, Calif. art gallery in 1989.

"There were some phenomenal bronzes," he said, the awe still an undercurrent in his voice. "My hair stood up. I said, I have got to do this."

The very first eagle with a fish in its talons he cast will not be at the art show. It is lovingly displayed in his living room.

Some of the wild animals and landscapes his hands have created since, will be.

Payson Art League's (PAL) annual Fall Fine Art and Fine Craft Show & Sale is Nov. 3, 4 and 5 in the Tonto Apache Activity Center on Highway 87 at the Mazatzal Casino just south of Payson.

The show will open from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, with wine and refreshments. There is a donation of $5 for this reception.

Weekend hours with free admission are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.

A raffle of participants' artworks will be held Sunday afternoon with proceeds going for art materials and education to Rim Country schools.

PAL is online at


Patricia Allebrand

Brenda Baker

Robert Barela

Bonni Beveridge

C.D. Bond

Jackie Bond

Mel Bradshaw

Conrad Chapek

Angela Cockle

Dorene Davidson

John Finkey

Thomas Gallob

Jim Garrity

Peggy Gould

Jack Greenshield

Ted Harman

Don Harmon

Delores Hartless

Bernadette Heath

Sue Jones

Jay Kemp

George Lewis

Donn Morris

Rock Newcomb

Conrad Okerwall

Michelle Pennington

Glenda & Bob Roark

Mike Rokoff

Verna Weekley

Dick Wolfe

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