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Paintings by Craig Pursley

Coming in April- A Portrait Workshop in VT!

More information to come soon!

More from the Celebration of Fine Art

I'm really enjoying the 10 week stay at the Celebration of Fine Art in Scottsdale, AZ! So many terrific artists here and tons of people coming through to see and purchase artwork. It is a wonderful community of supportive and encouraging artists and I am proud to be here! About once a week I change up my display adding and subtracting paintings from the walls. Here's what it looks like at the moment.

When not talking to prospective clients, I'm painting all day, seven days a week. Some have asked if this isn't exhausting. I think if it was any other kind of work, I'd say yes, but chatting with nice folks and painting is hardly a tough job.

By the way, after seeing this photo, I got a bigger chair. This looks ridiculous!


I wasn't counting on using other artists as models before getting here but so far I have painted three of them. Jessica Wachter shown here with her Retro Cowgirl painting. See more in the "What's New" section.

Of course the best part of the event is when someone loves a piece enough that they want it to hang in their home. This couple took home "Winchester" recently. Before coming to the show, the lady said, "No more cowboys! We're getting a cowgirl today." And fortunately, I had some. It is always such an honor to be included in someone's collection. Also, this photo shows why people usually count before taking a photo. Otherwise, you may have a blank look as do I when the shutter clicked here.


Please see the "What's New" section for the best of February's paintings.

News from Arizona!

The Celebration of Fine Art is an annual event in Scottsdale, Arizona where 100 artists work for seven days a week for 10 weeks. The public is invited to come watch the processes and make purchases of their favorite pieces. If it wasn't for the fact that I'm sitting and painting, this might be a grueling schedule but I'm doing what I love and meeting interesting people every day while talking about what I do, so it is not like real work. I have met so many terrific artists who are now inspirational friends and I and proud to have been accepted into this group. Thousands of folks will come through during the course of the event and one of them, shown below, grew up across the street from me in Nebraska. Hadn't seen Annie Jane in 45 years!

I hope you'll check the "What's New" button to see the new paintings that I have done since I got to Scottsdale. And if you would like to see a nearly daily update of the paintings done here check my Facebook page regualrly where I post them as I finish them.

The Great Opportunity to Watch Scott Burdick Paint a Demo.

I have wanted to watch Scott Burdick paint since I became aware of his work several years ago so I was very happy to hear that he was doing a demo through the Scottsdale Artists School while I am here. No one alove has more exciting brushwork than Scott in my opinion and I was absolutely amazed. He paints with such bold confidense and SO much paint right from the start. He had the whole canvas covered in 30 minutes with agreat beginning and ended in less than three hours with an astonishing painting. Please check out his website which he shares with his wife, Sue Lyon (another terrific artist) at http://www.susanlyon.com/painting-archive


Good News from the Portrait Society of America

I recently heard that "Rebel" (below) was chosen as a finalist in the Members Only Competition (Outside the Box Category). The whole contest had around 2,000 entries and I am very honored to have recieved this recognition.

and Good News from BoldBrush

I also recently found out that "The Glow at the End of the Day" was chosen as a Finalist in the monthly BoldBrush Compeition.

And Good News From 6 Squared

Finally, I was notified that I was chosen as a favorite by the participating artist in this year's 6 Sqaured Competition. This is a huge show in CA where every painting (about 700 of them) is six by six inches. I am deeply honored at this as well

Please check the  "What's New" section above for the latest examples of what I've been doing along with some details on technique and inspiration.

Workshop at Landgrove Inn

This year we were fortunate to work from two live models. Here I'm painting a demo from Hannah whom you may have seen in earlier months. As a model, she is unequaled in my experience.

Early in November a group of painters met in Vermont to take part in a portrait workshop at the fabulous Landgrove Inn in Landgrove, Vermont. Tremendous facilities here and a very comfortable place to stay and eat. We had an excellent group this year and it they enjoyed it half as much as I did, it was very sucessful! A big thank you to the folks at the inn AND those who attended.

One of the attendees painting from model Hannah.

And another painting from model Ben.

Preparing for the Celebration of Fine Art

In early 2017 I will be attending the Celebration of Fine Art in Scottsdale, Arizona; an event that hosts 100 artists painting, sculpting, weaving and generally making art for nearly three months. I am honored to be chosen to be among them and have been painting some Southwestern themes to be able to hang on the walls there. Future posts will show that event as it happens. Below are a couple examples for the CFA.

The Value of Mentoring

As a former art teacher, I have long seen the value of instructing others. Besides the improvement and edification of the student, it also has great benefits for the one doing the instruction as well. In order to not be embarassed as a teacher one must know what one is talking about and that requires much learning and thought. It helps focus on what you're doing rather than just continuing in a rut without consideration. It helps one consistently improve I believe. I ahve always enjoyed the interaction with students, some of whom remain friends 40 years later. I have certainly benefitted from the other side of this as well and continue to do so.

Here's a case in point. This photo taken two years ago at the Portrait Society of America Annual Conference shows l to r, Everett Raymond Kinstler, Michael Shane Neal, myself and Nicole Vargas Santiago. This is a significant chain of mentors of which I am very proud to be a link. While I have mentored Nicole, I was and am mentored by Shane, who was and is mentored by Ray Kinstler. Among Kinstler's teachers was Gordon Stevenson who was taught by John Singer Sargent! Sargent is the #1 hero for most people who paint portraits realistically so you can imagine how proud I am to be linked. And everyone I teach in my workshops become more links in that chain.

Portrait Workshop in Vermont

I am very happy and proud to annoucnce a workshop for the portrait sketch in oils scheduled for the first Weekend in November at the beautiful Landgrove Inn nestled in Landgrove, VT. The inn itself is a spectacular venue in an old 1810 farmhouse with a large modern barn as a studio. Lots of windows and space for all. The hosts are wonderful and the food is incredible!


We will be painting from live models, one of whom is Hannah, shown above. She is a great model and a wonderful young lady. I hope you'll be able to join us there for a great weekend. For details please check the link below.





A Strange Fall

With the closure of the Brick Store (Oldest General Store In America) and the ice cream shop next door to us, our business this autumn has diminished greatly. Fall Foliage buses that used to stop by the hundreds now are down to about a dozen so far and most of those only stop long enough to take a photo of the covered bridge so the passengers rarely get a chance to come in. They can't stop longer as there is now only one bathroom in town for them (mine). However, we have had enough people in cars who have purchased paintings that we are still keeping out heads above water. AND with the purchase of the general store in August and the new owners' willingness to work hard on it, we will be open again next season when we hope all those buses come back. By a strange coincidence, one bus that stopped on October 3rd had on board my old basketball coach from high school! I hadn't seen him since graduation 44 years ago.

Please check out the "What's New" area of the website to see the latest off the easel ( like "Rebel" below) with descriptions and details about what inspired the work. Thanks for looking!

Portrait Demo in Laguna Beach

On Wednesday, Sept. 7th, I will be doing a three-hour portrait demo at the Vanessa Rothe Gallery at 418 Ocean Ave. in Laguna Beach. If you are able to attend, please call Vanessa and reserve a spot at (949) 280-1555. There is no charge for this event. Hope to see you there!


New Workshop scheduled in VT

The Landgrove Inn in Landgrove, Vermont will be hosting a portrait workshop for me the first weekend of  November, 2016. This is the second such workshop they have hosted for me and the former was really terrific. The inn is an 1810 farmhouse with great accomodations and incredible food. I highly reccomend this one! It will start with a meet and greet at dinner Thursday night and go through intil midday Sunday. They host many artists workshops here and have a tremendous studio with plenty of space and great light. And did I mention the food is incredible?!?! Please contact them at http://www.landgroveinn.com/

to check out all their workshops and facilities. We will be working from two live models, one of whom is pictured above.

Good News from Arizona

A few days ago I was informed that I have been accepted into the 2017 Celebration of Fine Art in Scottsdale. I visited the 2016 version in January and was so impressed that I wanted to try to get in myself. There are 100 artists painting every day for about three months so I am very excited to be joining them next year. It is a great opportunity to meet other artist and collectors in a great art town. It will be intensivc to say the least!


Also in the inspiration area- Model Hannah continues to be a great source. She just knows how to pose. I had this idea of using an antique clock case as a frame a few months ago but I didn't know who to use until I met Hannah. She is holding a clock's pendulum here and the idea is the stoppage of time and a judgement as well. Because of that, it will always be hung above eye level so she will always be looking down at the viewer. I intend to insert a light at the top inside of the clock so her face is well lit.

Please check out the "What's New" section for the best of the work from this past month.

And finally this month, I have to tell you about Xetah who absolutely fell in love with "Portrait of Miss Emma Foley" and purchased it. I don't believe I have ever had anyone so taken by a painting before. With that in mind, I asked her to come back a couple days later to see it varnished and with a good light on it. She had no idea when she came in she would meet the real Emma Foley. She was speechless and nearly cried. She thanked us both over and over. I have to thank Emma for coming in and wearing the same outfit and posing the same way for the event. She really made Xetah's day!

A Great Time in DC

The annual Portrait Society of America Conference was in Washington D.D. this year and as usual it was a fun and inspiring weekend meeting some of the best portrait and figural artists in the country. Their demos were informative and inspirational and all were so giving with their knowledge it continues to amaze me. I got to introduce myself to a couple I had never met. And they signed small portraits I had done of each of them.


With james Gurney, author and illustrator of the Donotopia books as well as one of the best books on painting ever written, "Light and Color"

Please check the "What's New" Category          for details on some new peices

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
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.

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

A fewyears ago I painted a portrait of Executive Councilor, Raymond 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.

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.

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!

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