Portrait Artist Enjoys New Opportunity

PAYSON ARTS

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A cowboy stands in a reflective moment. His thoughts are in the mind of the beholder.

A woman turns and looks back, shy, not quite startled. Another woman beckons with an unmistakable, "come hither" look.

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"I don't have to prove anything with the work. I just let it speak for itself," Huffman said.

A mountain man rests his rifle on his shoulders, naturally, as if he has just sighed.

These four very different canvases prove one thing: Jason Huffman has gifted hands.

A case in point: Huffman was standing in Myra's Gallery conversing with Daniel Graham. Graham had given Huffman back the clay buffalo he had cast in bronze. Myra watched and as the two men continued to talk, Huffman "without looking at his hands, turned the buffalo into a bear laying on its back, paws in the air."

Myra Kraemer first saw Huffman's work in his Swiss Village gallery a few months before she opened her own gallery in 1992. She was impressed with the "innate talent" of the "charming, handsome, shy, moody" young man.

"Jason is an absolutely fabulous artist who has never had a lesson in his life," she said.

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Jason Huffman composes his portraits of women from different photographs and his imagination. "I might decide to change the mouth or put in a nose I like," he said.

He showed up with his paintings at her Pine gallery opening one hour before the doors were to be unlocked.

They rearranged the art so his could be included.

Artistic flair and skills in business and marketing are at opposite ends of the talent spectrum for Huffman.

He drew and painted bighorn sheep, elk, mountain lions and other wildlife as an attempt to answer the call of the market.

He worked for a private collector in Cave Creek during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

About a year ago, making the proverbial ends meet became a priority. Huffman decided to stop painting full-time.

The trick was to find a job that fit his creative nature so when he saw an ad in the paper for a jeweler's assistant he thought, that's for me.

He had never tried to make jewelry professionally although he had made a few pieces with silver and "tinkered with coins."

Now, he is learning all he can as an assistant at Payson Jewelers from artisans with "100 years of combined experience."

"I still get to be creative. I still get to use my hands, so I don't feel I am missing out," Huffman said.

RESUME

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"Mountain Man with Gun" is a portrait of Huffman's uncle.

Name: Jason Huffman

Mediums: Oil, watercolor, acrylic, bronze sculpture, pen and ink.

Commissions accepted.

Advice to beginning artists: Be a doctor.

Hometown: Punkin Center

Upcoming projects: To do art not based on what the market dictates.

Points of contact: Online at www.jasonhuffmanart.com. Locally at: Myra's Gallery, 3824 N. Hwy. 87, Pine and The Wild Brush, 405 S. Beeline, Suite E, Payson.

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