Welcome to PursleyArt.com

Paintings by Craig Pursley

The Miracle Finish of Fall, 2015

It was a very strange end to our season at the gallery this year. After so many great months of business, things suddenly dried up just when it should have been gaining ground. I was resigned to the notion that we'd have the worst October since 2008. But then in the course of just two or three days (when normally business trails off dramatically) things exploded. Many paintings sold and layaways were paid off. So when it was all said and done we had our best October ever and the best year ever!


I want to say a big thank you to all who came in and purchased paintings, all those who encouraged me and all who just appreciated what they saw when they came in. It is always a shot in the arm.


We'll reopen the gallery next May but if anyone needs an appointment or has questions of any kind, please email me at craigpursley@roadrunner.com


Thank you!


Check out "What's New"

I update the website on the first Monday of each month and will always have the best of what I have recently done in the "What's New" area. Please check in to see and read about the process and inspiration of the newest projects.

Portrait Workshop Announced

On November 6, 7 and 8 I will be having a portrait workshop hosted by the Landgrove Inn in Landgrove, Vermont. It is a beautiful spot that regularly hosts artists workshops. I'm excited about the weekend and the venue. If you are interested in taking this please check with me and I can give you all the details. Contact me at craigpursley@roadrunner.com

August - One Busy Month

I can't remember having this much to do in the last 25 years. I like staying busy but I wouldn't mind if the world slowed down just a touch for a bit. It started when I was asked to be the MC for an event at our local hisotical society. I was certainly honored to sit between NH Gov. Maggie Hassan and Sen. Kelly Ayotte. Also presidential candidate, Carly Fiorina came later in the day and I got to spend a little time with her.

Gov. Hassan speaks, Sen. Kelly Ayotte at right
With Carly Fiorina

Then came a call from an ad agency in souther NH who was looking for an "older" artist to do a self-portrait for a commercial for a hospital. It had to be done quickly and then taken to New York City to film the first part of it. We spent the morning filming just adding the catch light in the eye. I painted and rubbed off that white dot around 30 times before we were done. Then we went to Portsmouth, NH to the hospital for the filming of the second part where I am talking with the doctor. It was a great experience and lots of fun.

Self-Portrait (minus the highlight in the eye)

Next in the whirlwind of August came the Oct/Nov issue of International Artist Magazine. I had submitted a story on a chain of mentors going back to John Singer Sargent of which I am so fortunate to be a link. I have been mentored by Micahel Shane Neal who was and is mentored by Everett Raymond Kinstler who was taught by Gordon Stevenson who learned directly from Sargent. I was so pleased that they ran the story with lots of photos on six pages.

l to r- Kinstler, Neal, me and Nicole Vargas-Santiago who I am now mentoring) at this year's Portrait Society of America Conference.

Okay, this one wasn't actually in August but falls into the time since the last monthly update. I was given a one-man-show at Alumni Hall in Haverhill, NH which consisted of 30 portraits (mostly local people). The show was called "Every Painting Tells a Story" and at the reception I told those stories from a girl beating cancer to the loss of a loved one to dealing with the Great Depression and Dust Bowl and many more. The show will remain up until Oct. 16.

Telling the stories of each painting.

One of those stories was about a 14-year-old Alexa Boutin. While I was painting in the gallery and listening to some music, she came in and watched for a while. I could barely hear her singing along. I asked her to sing louder and when she did, I was amazed at what a beautiful voice she has.  I soon asked her mom if she could sing at the show. I photographed her one night and painted her the next day, less than a week before the show opened. As I told her story, I added that I wanted them to hear the song I did. The music started and behind them, Alexa began singing so sweetly that they were spellbound. One woman thought she was just listening to a recording until she realized everyone else was turned around. She did a wonderful job!

One Great Day!!

We seem to be gaining momentumas the year rolls along and that notion was best exemplified by one day recently. I was contacted by a major collector and at the end of the conversation we had made a deal for nine paintings! Later that day, I found out one had sold at the Vanessa Rothe Gallery in Laguna Beach, CA. In the evening two more sold online and the following morning, three paintings were taken. That's 15 in one 24 hour period! My previous best was 6. Needless to say, that felt pretty good.


A BIG thank you to all who have supported what I do and have invested in my work!!

Nine paintings getting ready to go to a collector in Arizona!

"Every Painting Tells a Story"

"Winged Victory" 15x30

Starting with a reception on September 5th, I will have a one-man-show at the Alumni Hall in Haverhill, NH. It will consist entirely of portraits and figural pieces; mostly of local people I have painted in the last couple years. "It will be called "Every Painting Tells a Story" and I'll be telling those stories at the reception. Some are about what inspired the pose, something about the subject and/or the technique of the painting itself. I think even if one doesn;t know the subject, these stories will prove of interest. For example, every detail in the pictures behind the couple below are there for a reason and commect to friends and family, past and present. Or why does the young lady above have wings and what is the significance of her tattoo? I hope you'll be able to make it if you're in the area. And hopefulyy, many (all?) of the models will be there too!

"Duane and Reta" 28x22

Please check the "What's New" section for more.

This 12x12 book is now available to order. It was my portfolio of portraits which was chosen among the top 5 at the Portrait Society's Annual Conference this year. It is $100 plus shipping.

The theme of this year's Portrait Society of America Conference was John Singer Sargent and I was happy to meet the keynote speaker, Richard Ormond who is recognized as THE world's authority on him. He is working on his ninth book on Sargent and also is a grand nephew to the master painter.

Meeting Richard Ormond

A couple years ago I began mentoring a young lady named Nicole Vargas-Santiago who attended her first conferece this year. She and I are shown below with Everett Raymond Kinstler and Michael Shane Neal. Shane has mentored me through his workshop and beyond and he was mentored by Mr. Kinstler. Mr. Kinstler learned from (among others) Gordon Stevenson who himself was taught by John Singer Sargent. So this photo represents four members out of five that are a direct chain of teachers/mentors back to my favorite all-time artist. I am very proud to be a part of that and I am sure Nicole will continue that on someday.

Ray Kinstler, Shane Neal, me and Nicole Vargas-Santiago at the PSoA conference.

Another Goal Met

Part of a four-page article in the June issue of American Art Collector

For more than a decade, I have set an anuual goal of being recognized with an article in a national art magazine. This month I recieved my copy of American Art Collector and saw that goal recognized. I was over the moon. Then a few days later, I was in International Artist Magazine as their Grand Prize Winner in the Seascapes, Rivers and Lakes contest they sponser. Honestly, I was shocked by this as usually they have over 2,000 entries from around the world!

International Artist Magazine's Seascapes, Rivers and Lakes winner.

Please check "What's New"

I will be updating my website on the first Monday of each month from now on and will be putting the most recent paintings in the "What's New" area. If you check that each month you'll see a note on each detailing what inspired the painting or something about the subject or technique. I hope you'll find this interesting.


"Circle of Inspiration" show in Pasadena

Last February I shared a two-man art show with composer, Mark McKenzie in the Tirage Gallery in Pasadena. There were 37 paintings all inspired by Mark's beautiful film scores. Though the show is now gone, interest remains so I thought I'd keep a reference to it here for a while. Mark was nice enough to make some short suites of his music that I could pair with images of my work for this show. To get a little of the flavor of this project you might enjoy clicking on these links










I feel like many of the paintings for this show are among the very best I have ever done and so I am very happy to show them and grateful to the Tirage Art Gallery for hosting this event. In the American Art Collector June Issue, they chose six of the seven images for the article to be paintings that happened to be done fo this show. And I am extremely proud to have it associated with the composer I consider to be the best ever at his trade. Thank you, Mark McKenzie!!





The Good Life

I am so fortunate to be able to do what I love in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Who would have thought that even in the midst of a long, nasty winter there would be so much opportunity for inspiration?


Recently while snowshoeing with my wife Julie and some friends, we came upon a spot with almost a mystical beauty. Unfortunately, the ideal angle from which to shoot a reference photo was out standing on the ledge of a very short waterfall. But nothing else would do, so I scooted out and crouched down so the offending tree trunk would not be covering what might be the center of interest.

Finding just the right spot can be challenging sometimes but often it is worth it!

Though I teetered on the edge a bit, I was able to get what I needed and head back to the shore where I fell through the ice and went into the river (only up to mid-calf). But walking back the rest of the way with ice water in both boots was a bit chilly. Still getting this shot and the excitement over getting to paint it was well worth it. Thanks to Nancy Lusby for taking the first photo above.

Here's a link to the Mission Gallery


Continuing Education

"The Wounded Heart"

The more you learn, the more you realize you have to learn. Certainly true in the case of portraits and I feel I have been learning about the subtleties of painting flesh. Such was the case with this one where blues, greens and violets play heavily in the mix while trying to set a melancholy mood. The photo from which I worked in this case came from someone whom I taught in middle school art about 35 years ago. She posted a photo of her daughter wearing a Christmas ornament as an earring. Her careful pose looked so subdued to me; as if she had just gotten in trouble.

It's Always Good Hearing from Customers

Gina and Rodney with "Ben and Jazz"

Often I will hear from a client after they get their painting home and sometimes they'll even send a photo of how it looks on their wall. I love seeing where my work ends up and even more, I love that these people took the time to send these. I really means a lot. Very recently I got a couple great notes from Gina who commissioned a portrait of two of her horses. It sure feels good making people happy doing what I love to do.




We are overwhelmed with what you have done.  With each phase we have watched as our boys have come to life.  All along my hope for this portrait has been to capture Ben and Jazz and not just be any two horses.


To be able to look into their eyes and see them looking back at me has filled my eyes with tears. 


This portrait shows their souls and having them together again means everything.

Rodney and I can’t put words to how much this portrait means. 


You have been very patient with us (me) through this process and are clearly a very gifted artist.  Jazz would have been 33 on February 14th and thanks to you we will be able to see a painting that truly captures his beauty and soul. 



As with every commission, I sent regular updates explaining what I was doing and why with accompanying photos of the process. I feel it helps the client to be involved and promotes a better understanding of the piece and hopefully, a greater appreciation of it.


 Thank you, Gina for that terrific note and for the opportunity to work with you. I really enjoyed it.

Continuing More Portrait and Figural Work

The End of a Quiet Winter

There is so much to learn with any form of painting but lately I have really enjoyed working on the subtleties of skin tones. There are so many colors within from greens to violets and blues. I don't think there is anything I've found more satfying than getting that right (or at least close). I hope to expand and grow in that regard druing the upcoming year.

A Portrait for the NH Statehouse

Three years ago I painted a portrait of Executive Councilor, Raymon Burton. Ray served his constituents for nearly 40 years and did so as the greatest example of a public servant I have ever known. Unfortunately, Ray passed away recently after battling cancer. Last week I found that he had willed this portrait to the state and after a legislative vote, it was confirmed that it would be displayed permanently in the Governor's Council Chambers in the State House right behind the chair he occupied for so long. I am very honored to have this displayed there and sincerely wish it could have been many more years before this would have happened. In a memorial service in mid-December at Plymouth State University it will be my pleasure to present this portrait Governor Maggie Hassan. It will be the second portrait I will have hanging in the Capitol Building, joining one of former Gov. Henry W. Keyes on the second floor.

In June 2010, I presented Ray's portrait to him at his annual gathering at his home in Bath, NH.

Portrait Demo at the Athenaeum

Between those who attended and the artists whose work surrounded me, I was in very good company.

On September 12th I was very honored to execute a portrait sketch in oil at the Saint Johnsbury Athenaeum. For a little over two hours I painted and talked to a nice crowd who came out to brave the rainstorm. All the while, behind my canvas loomed a giant painting by Albert Bierstadt (10x15 feet!!) and at the same time on my left, a small Bouguereau painting. I really enjoyed the evening and am thankful to those who attended as well as the Athenaeum staff for organizing it and hosting my one-man show which was on the second floor.

Here's how the final turned out.

A New Gallery in New Hampshire

I was recently been given representation in Art3 Gallery in Manchester, NH. They have been in business for 28 years and I am very happy to join them there. If you're in Manchester, I hope you'll look them up. They have a wide variety of styles and artists whom they represent there and are good people too!

In Other News

If you are interested in having a portrait done or commissioning a landscape, please don't hesitate to call or email me. It may surprise you how affordable it is. And with all commissions I send email updates with photos describing the entire process and usually include a CD with a time lapse movie of your painting. Past clients have been very happy with these and they will greatly increase your understanding and appreciation of the process. And they are free!


Here's what one client had to say about it.

"......and every time you correspond I learn something new.....Julie and I have talked quite a bit about the processes you used in painting our "Carney Barn" and we have come to the conclusion that there is so much more to painting that we had ever imagined......thanks for sharing what amounts to only a very small part of your knowledge... even though it is not much to you it is enormous to us....very very interesting and always send me anything about the process you want because I know it will be interesting and informative..." - Mike Carney

The Good Life in Bath, New Hampshire

For anyone who has not visited our little village of Bath, New Hampshire, I sure recommend it. It is quintessentially New England and yet very unique at the same time. Though it is so small it has a lot to offer someone looking to relax a while in a place that is a slice out of another time. In just the space of 100 yards you will find America's oldest general store, chock full of goodies (wonderful smoked meats and cheeses and the best home-made fudge you've ever tasted), a nearly 400-foot-long covered bridge built in 1832 and waterfall right beneath it, a church (1873) that was the location of the nation's first Sunday School, an ice cream shop (1844) that is also a virtual rock and roll museum, and our art gallery (1833) with more than 125 paintings displaying the beauty of our area. The painting above shows Bath from just upstream. I hope to see you here someday. If you like rural America, you will love it here. My wife and I found it on a fall foliage bus tour in 1993 and she said that day "I want to live here!" We are so fortunate to have made a home here since 2002. If you are able to visit, please keep in mind the gallery (and the ice cream shop) are only open from May to October each year.

And I feel so blessed to be able to sit in the gallery and paint for a living. I work in a very comfortable old buggy without wheels into which I built an easel. I recall my dad having to get up at 5:30 a.m. and go to a job he hated in order to provide for his family and it just doesn't seem fair. Then to put the icing on the cake, I have the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people who come through the shop and chat about art or Bath or New England or life in general.

Painting Update List

I have a list of people to whom I send out regular updates on new paintings. These are generally a couple of times a month and include descriptions and/or inspiration for doing it. These are not to pressure anyone into a sale but at the same time they are offered here before going to any other galleries so anyone interested may have first crack at them. If you would like to be included on this list, please let me know at craigpursley@roadrunner.com and I will add you right away. Your email address will not be given or sold to anyone else.

Thanks for visiting!

Print Print | Sitemap
© Craig Pursley, Artist