Artist Is Drawn To Nature

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In the quiet of the forest a man sits, his back against a tree, the breeze ruffling his hair, blowing his human scent away from the elk herd he has fixed in his sights.

The sights of his camera lens, that is.

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Elk in front of the San Francisco Peaks

The man's name is Chris Knollhuff.

The wildlife he is photographing will likely appear in a later painting.

The nature in the Rim Country was a big draw for getting out of the Valley.

Knollhuff spends his free time hiking, backpacking and sketching in the wilds of the Tonto and nearby forests when he is not working as a department manager at Wal-Mart.

"Part of the fun is going into the field with my camera and sketchbook.

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Quail against the Superstition Mountains

"I had a herd of javelina at the Bull Springs, a trail past Main Street and the water treatment plant just a few feet from me when I was hiking," Knollhuff said.

If he is not able to take just the photo he wants in the wild, he has a friend who is a taxidermist.

"I get a lot of photos from her," he said.

A given painting might have as many as 20 different reference photographs.

Knollhuff is active in Payson Art League and is on the board.

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Chris Knollhuff is a realist when it comes to his art.

"I have been working crazy hours so I was not in this past show, but I plan to be next November," Knollhuff said.

While Knollhuff's favorite medium is oil paints because of the details he is able to put in the layers and the ability to build a composition, he also enjoys illustration, watercolors and graphic design.

"I have done custom air brush graphics on cars and motorcycles," he said.

Art comes naturally to Knollhuff.

"I come from an artistic family. My brother is an artist, my father was a cartoonist years ago and my uncle was a draftsman," he said.

Knollhuff majored in fine art at Phoenix and Glendale colleges when he was living in Phoenix.

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A pencil portrait of rock legends Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix

"I had lots of good professors in high school and college.

"I am never satisfied with my work, and that makes me work that much harder. I see it as a positive, rather than a negative," Knollhuff said.

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