Cleda Curtis: From Portraits to Still Life

Opens on July 1, 2016
Artist talk at 6 p.m. on July 1

cleda curtis painting

Cleda Curtis
Fort Apache
oil on canvas

The public is invited to view the exhibition beginning July 1. An opening reception with an artist’s talk will be held at 6 p.m. on July 1. Curtis has selected five of her students, Zenon Duda, Renee Gordon, Ellen Hahs, Lynn Lancaster and Ann Ritter, to display two pieces each as part of this exhibition.

Cleda Curtis is the first recipient of the Crisp Museum Southeast solo exhibition. The Southeast Solo Exhibition is given to a living artist in the Southeast Region who has produced a sufficient body of work, has not had a solo museum exhibition, and has made contributions of their time and artistic talent to their community.

“Before I start a portrait, my approach is to find a quality that is unique to that individual. 
I explore the personality of the subject and express it with paint. Capturing the spirit of the person is as important as painting a pictorial likeness. That is always a huge challenge. As an artist, I work hard to create portraits that speak both to me and to the viewer about the uniqueness of a specific individual,” Curtis states. “Drawing on the rich traditions of great painters such as Velazquez, Rembrandt, Cecilia Beaux and Bougeureau keep me growing as an artist. I believe that all I need to know of the principles of art are to be found in the works of the masters.”

Whether working in oils, pastels or watercolors, Curtis creates her portraits and still life in the realistic tradition. Through her studies in museums, universities and private workshops taught by the nation's leading artists, including John Howard Sanden and Daniel Greene, Curtis became a well-known and respected teacher. Her willingness to share her knowledge coupled with her sensitivity to the needs of her students has made her a very popular and successful teacher. She teaches the basic principles of painting and drawing that artists have used for hundreds of years. As did the Old Masters, she believes in learning and passing it on.

Curtis received her Bachelor of Arts degree in fine art from the University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas and attended graduate school at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon.

Since then she has lived and traveled extensively in the US, Canada, Europe, Africa and the Middle East, where she has executed many commissioned portraits. In addition to teaching nationwide workshops, Curtis has become a popular speaker and juror among art organizations. She published a book titled “Portrait Painting Simplified." Her portrait of US Congressman Bill Emerson hangs in the Page School in the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. She was accepted into the National Association of Oil and Acrylic Painters and received the Award of Merit in the 2007 Best of America National Art Exhibit.

The Crisp Museum is located in the Cultural Arts Center at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus, located at 518 S. Fountain St. in Cape Girardeau, Mo. For more information, call (573) 651-2260


River Campus, 175 Cultural Arts Center
Crisp Museum
One University Plaza, MS 7875
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701