"When I am in the woods or at the water's edge, away from crowds and enveloped by nature, I feel connected to my own "naturalness." I feel quiet, like a tree. I feel like air, as the wind blows through me, cleansing and renewing my spirit. I become one with nature, and nature becomes one with me. My heart is nourished and I can more clearly understand who I am. All I have to do is get there."
Charla Puryear's paintings honor nature by partnering with it, documenting it, amplifying its voice, and sharing it with others.
Working outdoors, Puryear wraps canvas around a rock, tree, or other natural object. She applies acrylic paint to the canvas and then, by rubbing, she transfers the image of the surface texture onto the canvas. This image provides the sketch for her painting, which is completed at the site or in her studio, with oil paint and oil pastels.
Being out in nature was the first training ground for Puryear's work. Mother Nature became an early role model. She received her bachelor's degree in art from Brown University and a master's degree in communications design from Pratt Institute. She studied in Italy, through Temple University's program, and it was in Italy that she found specific rock imagery to incorporate into her work.
Selected Exhibitions & Awards
Pollock-Krasner Award, New York, NY, USA, New York, NY, 2003
First Place Award, Poughkeepsie, NY, USA, Barrett House Galleries, 1996
Speaking Engagement, Brooklyn, NY, USA, Brooklyn Museum of Art, 2005
Shared Thread Exhibition, Los Angeles, CA, California African American Museum, 2012