Jason Bouldin, the youngest of four sons of portrait artist Marshall Bouldin III and physician Mary Ellen Stribling Bouldin, grew up on a cotton farm near Clarksdale. The family home sits in a pecan grove, which also shelters the studio where Marshall Bouldin III worked for more than half a century. “Since I was a boy, my brothers and I all painted little projects in the studio,” Jason said. “Dad encouraged us to be around the studio; he never barred us from coming in. It was always a creative place to be. I learned as much by osmosis—just being around my father and in this space—as I did from my more formal instruction.”
Bouldin attended the University of Mississippi, where he studied science, and received a bachelor of fine arts degree from Harvard University in 1989. After a two-year apprenticeship with his father, he began his professional career as a portrait painter in 1991. Since then, he has painted more than two hundred commissioned portraits, among them public works hanging in such varied locations as the US Department of Agriculture, the Judiciary Committee Room of the US House of Representatives, Harvard University, Tulane University Law School, the Mississippi State Capitol, Willcox House (London, England), and more than a dozen US federal courthouses. He has also painted portraits of former governor William Winter for the lobby of the William F. Winter Archives and History Building; Elise Winter, for the First Ladies Gallery of the Old Capitol Museum; and Medgar Evers and Myrlie Evers-Williams, for the Mississippi Museum of Art. The Evers paintings were unveiled in 2013 on the fiftieth anniversary of the civil rights leader’s assassination in Jackson.
Bouldin has attained national and international recognition for his portraits. He received first place for portraiture in Artist’s Magazine’s annual art competition in 1999 and won the Portrait Society of America’s Grand Prize in 2002; his portraits have been selected nine times for the Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition in London, England.
Although he works primarily as a portrait artist, Bouldin also enjoys painting landscape and still life studies and has garnered prizes for works in those genres as well. He is also popular as a teacher of plein air classes, which he has presented at sites ranging from Atlanta’s Piedmont Park to a cow pasture in Madison County.
Bouldin lives in Oxford with his wife, Alicia, and son, William. He remodeled the house next door to theirs and, with the help of two master craftsmen, turned it into his ideal studio, complete with a kitchen and a bedroom for guests, clients, and friends.
ArtistsNetwork website, http://www.artistsnetwork.com; Patti Carr Black, The Mississippi Story, ed. Robin C. Dietrick (2007); Jerry Mitchell, in Journey to Justice (11 June 2013).