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Picayune artist Ashley Mason brings personality to her paintings

Even when she’s painting pigs and chickens, Ashley Mason manages to imbue them with personality.

One painting that’s garnered positive attention online is an acrylic piece featuring a joyful pig and a chicken with attitude.

“I just did it because it felt good and I thought it would be cute to have a little smiling pig,” said Mason. “I didn’t expect so many people to like it, but when my heart is in it, it just kind of flows.”

Mason owns a small online business, Gallery32, where she sells her artwork. She makes digital art, like a Mississippi shaped portrait of Picayune businesses.

“I tried to look for the ones that we frequent and the ones that have been around since my childhood,” said Mason.

She also creates acrylic paintings, with subject matter ranging from a whimsical llama in a bathtub to a somber portrait of a nurse with the world on her cap.

Mason’s path as a professional artist began six years ago with the hardest job she’s taken: painting her sister’s barrel ceiling in July with no air conditioning.

“She asked me to paint it and I wasn’t sure I could,” said Mason.

But she took on the challenge and painted the ceiling freehand. Her sister loved the result and suggested she start an art business. Her entire family has been very supportive of her artwork and consistently push her to keep trying, especially her mother and her husband.

“This is a lot better than I was six years ago. In another six years, it’s going to be even better, so don’t quit.”

She is always dabbling in different mediums. While an acrylic painting might be complete within half an hour, digital pieces can take 27 hours to complete. However, digital pieces are easier to sell.

COVID-19 has impacted her business because money has become tighter for many households, but she’s still been able to find commission work.

“The most stressful thing about commission work is when you have a mother who places an order for a portrait of their deceased child. The pressure to be able to recreate someone’s face and it’s their baby, and nobody sees their baby like a mother sees their baby,” said Mason.

“When you pull it off, I guess that would be the most satisfying thing, and they cry but they cry happy tears and you feel like you’ve made a small difference.”

Mason’s work can be found on her Facebook business page Ashley Mason Gallery at facebook.com/ashleymasonart.