Narrative Resume, Education, Public Presentations, Selected Awards & Honors, Selected Bibliography
Born in Champagne, Illinois, my education began in a family that valued art. Visiting great museums in Europe and being mesmerized by paintings by the Old Masters set my course. I was persuaded to study medicine but eventually returned to art. I learned the basic techniques of painting at university but taught myself the skills of traditional portraiture in order to capture the elegance and mystery of human emotion. I learned advanced techniques from leaders in the field such as master watercolorist Professor Edward Betts, classical portrait artist Ralph Wolfe Cowan, and Italian Renaissance technical master instructor Frank Covino, all of whom encouraged me and allowed me to learn directly from them.
Before becoming a full time artist I worked in several professions including hospitality, construction, retail, and finally, law enforcement. Each offered insights into the human condition which are invaluable to me now as a portrait artist. They also taught me self-confidence, self-reliance, the value of sustained hard work, and the grace to appreciate fine art.
I have built my art business for 25 years, first in central Illinois, with a period in Mombasa, Kenya, and since 2004, in Naples, Florida. Though family and personal health challenges intervened, I built a reputation as a portrait artist, from drawings to full color life size oils.
Family drew me to Naples. Soon after, I met and married Connie Bransilver, an established international conservation photographer. We worked independently from 2005 while I was commissioned by luminaries such as Dr. Jane Goodall, Her Honor, Mrs. Ade Balogun of Nigeria, Father Michael Basden of Trinity by the Cove Episcopal Church, International Yogi Kiersten Mooney and recently, local Amgen executive, Cindy Myers. I also painted models -- La Femme en Bleu 1 and 2, Dama Madonna, The Merchant, The Patriot -- as well as other pieces such as Mombasa and a full size horse charging toward the viewer titled "Il Tuono/Thundering" often credited as a self-portrait.
During that time I was awarded top prize in each show I entered including 1998, First Prize, Professional Art Show of the Illinois Art League, Peoria, IL; 1998, First Prize and Peoples’ Choice, Fulton County Art Show, Canton, IL; 2007, Highest Honors, 9th Annual Judeo-Christian International Exhibition, Upstream People Gallery; 2008, The Richeson 75, Artist’s Choice Competition, Kimberly, WI.
I was most pleased with First Prize Environmental Message for Dr. Jane Goodall’s portrait at the International Art Expo, NYC in 2009, and then with being a featured live auction item in the 2009 Naples Winter Wine Festival, the event that raises more money for charity in one weekend than any other in the world. My donation of a head and shoulders portrait was auctioned at $130,000.
My work has been accepted in each show it was offered including 2009, Oil Painters of America Juried Show, Jacksonville, FL; 2010 International Guild of Realism Fifth Annual Juried Exhibition, Palm Springs, CA; and in 2012, at the ASTA Show and Sale, Scottsdale, AZ, where Dama Madonna was voted People’s Choice.
I have been privileged to be featured in numerous local, national and even international magazine articles as well as television and radio shows and interviews, among them the six page feature article in the 2011 Life in Naples Magazine entitled "Master of the Canvas," a feature in 2011 American Art Collector on my series La Femme en Bleu, 1 & 2. My work has been spotlighted in Artam Global Art, Istanbul, Turkey (March 2011), the Huffington Post January 2011 viewing my studio and talents, and others including Naples Illustrated, Art Business News, an American Art Collector article on me, personally, as an artist. Even the New York Times included a brief interview in 2011 focusing on my style of work. Television has included interviews on Lee Pitts Live, WLRN-TV Miami, and others. The production team of Ed Clay and Hank Sorrick is producing a half hour television show of my style of work and my passion for classical painting by interviewing my collectors and those who have or are working with me.
My wife and I merged our artistic efforts in 2011 to produce Guardians of the Everglades®, a multimedia exhibition, documentary and book based on art, conservation and activism with the goal of educating, inspiring, honoring leadership and presenting evocative portraits and tactile encounters with the emotional draw of the Everglades. Together we selected eleven living leaders of Everglades conservation, the Guardians, who are dedicated to restoring its vitality.
I am painting each on a 6x4 foot panel in oil. I have chosen a minimalist approach to strengthen their character, while applying Old Masters’ techniques to enhance their individuality. My approach is to use contemporary themes as they apply to each Guardian’s vocation -- conservation, sustainable use of resources, the power of leadership, education, activism etc. Each of these works is being finished with a newly developed approach to varnishing that gives these life size portraits a three dimensional effect. It is as if each one is about to step out of the painting. It has to be seen to comprehend its visual impact.
My research concludes that I am the first, and so far, the only, portrait artist producing a series of portraits for a single cause. I am collaborating with my wife, a photographer and videographer, to expand our reach and impact. In addition to its importance to conservation of a vital ecosystem, I believe this collaboration will help people have a richer appreciation of this unique ecosystem and become the activists needed to restore and save the American Everglades.
Classical art can speak for the Guardians more than any other form of art.
Already our efforts have been rewarded. We have mounted preview exhibitions at Museum of Florida Art and Culture, SFCC, Avon Park, FL, December 2011 - January 2012; Museum of the Everglades, February 2012; Everglades National Park Coe Visitors’ Center, March 2012; Deering Estate at Cutler, Miami, FL, November 2012 - January 2013; SW Florida Audubon’s Feathers and Friends Gala February 7, 2013, with portraits, endangered species panels, video and live presentations by several of the Guardians; National Audubon Society’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, February - May 2012. Now, the eight completed portraits along with other works are on display at the Guardians of the Everglades® studio and showroom in Naples, FL. I am working on the remaining three portraits while my wife and I are packaging the exhibition with a cohesive narrative with panels and video for museums throughout the country and beyond, and also raising money for and awareness of the project locally and nationally.
Our collaborative efforts seem to have resonance with print and visual media as Guardians of the Everglades® has been featured in several dozen local and national publications as well as in blogs and broadcasts even though we have not yet completed the project.
The Puffin Foundation rewarded my artistic efforts with a $1,000 unrestricted grant in 2013. Lighthawk.org has teamed with Guardians of the Everglades® to provide airplanes and pilots for extensive aerial video and photography of the entire Everglades ecosystem. It is open ended. Less than half has been filmed so far. Footage and stills will be used to enhance the narrative for the exhibition and be a part of the documentary film, while the stills will help to illustrate the book as well as illustrate the vastness of the ecosystem in the exhibition narrative.
Our target for the exhibition to be complete is March 2016, though the accompanying documentary and the book will come as funds are raised. In the meantime, I have accepted one commission in India with the possibility of several others there as well. That in itself may lead to another large project as the industrialist who is arranging for the portrait/s is also a leading conservationist with estates in Assam. When he visited us he voiced a similar interest in featuring a conservation project there.
As the Guardians of the Everglades® portraits are completed I will move back to my first love, portraiture, and will be accepting commissions effective immediately.
Makarere University, Kampala, Uganda - Non-degree Art, 1965
University of Illinois, Urbana - Pre-med and Art, 1965 - 1967
Northern Colorado University at Greeley - Pre-med and Art - 1967 - 1968
CBS Acting School, Hollywood, CA - 1968-1969
Western Illinois University, Macomb Campus - BA - Art, 1994
2014 Trinity Episcopal Women’s Club, Guardians of theEverglades lecture, February 18
2013 Cypress Trust Company, Guardians of the Everglades, three evening lectures, in Naples, Palm Beach and Vero Beach, Florida, February-March
2013 Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary Theater, Guardians of the Everglades Exhibit, February-May
2013 Audubon Gala, Guardians of the Everglades - Seven Portraits, 22 Banners, Live Guardians & Video Interviews, February 7
2013 Miromar Design Center, La Femme en Bleu 1 & 2, Estero, FL - Florida Natural, January
2012-3Deering Estate at Cutler, Seven Guardians Portraits with a Photo Documentary, Nov. 2012 - Jan. 2013
2012Everglades National Park Coe Visitors’ Center, Homestead, FL. Seven Guardians portraits, 8 banners. March
2012 Museum of the Everglades, Everglades City, FL, Seven Guardians portraits, 8 banners, February
2012 Philharmonic Center for the Arts, Artists’ Studio Tour, February
2012 ASTA Annual Show & Sale, Scottsdale, AZ, “Dama Madonna,” October-November
2011-2 Museum of Florida Art and Culture, Avon Park, FL, Six Guardians portraits. December 2011 - January 2012
2011-2012 New River Fine Arts Galleries, Ft. Lauderdale and Naples
2011 Art Naples International Contemporary (Juried) Arts Fair, International Pavilion, Mar. 17 - 21
2010 International Guild of Realism, Annual Juried Exhibition, Willott Gallery, Palm Desert, CA. February
2009 Oil Painters of America Eastern Regional Exhibition, Corse Gallery, Jacksonville, FL. “Her Honor” November-December
2009 Trinity-by-the-Cove, Ten Years’ Service, Unveiling portrait of Father Michael Basden, Naples, FL. October 14
2009 Big Cypress Gallery, 6x4 foot Oil on Board portrait of Everglades Photographer Clyde Butcher, Ochopee, FL. September 2009 - April 2010
2008 Naples Winter Wine Festival auction package #72, $120,000. Naples, FL, January. 25 – 27
2006-07 Cerulean Gallery, Six paintings, Watercolor, Florida
2006 'Style and Elegance,' Robb & Stucky Designs, Christmas Showing, Bonita Springs, and Naples, FL
1999 Delayne Spain Gallery, Peoria, Illinois.
SELECTED AWARDS AND HONORS
2013 Puffin Foundation Artist Grant - $1,000.
2009 First Prize Best Environmental Message - Dr. Jane Goodall, 6x4 foot Oil on Board and Clyde Butcher 6x4 foot Oil on Board. International ArtExpo NYC, March. 500+ artists.
2010 International Guild of Realism, Fifth Annual Juried Exhibition, January
2009 Oil Painters of America Eastern Regional Juried Exhibition, Jacksonville, FL, November
2008 The Richeson 75: Artist’s Choice Competition Finalist, Kimberly, Wisconsin January
2007 Highest Honor, 9th Annual Judeo-Christian International Exhibition, Upstream People Gallery
1998 First Prize and Peoples’ Choice, Fulton County Town and Country Art Show, Canton, Illinois
1998 First Prize, Professional Art Show, Illinois Art League, Peoria, Illinois
2015 Naples Daily News, “Everglades Heroes depicted in gallery exhibit,” Neapolitan lead article, Oct. 25
2015 CreativInn “Interview with Nicholas Petrucci,” CreativInn.com Oct. 7
2015 “Meet the Guardians of the Everglades,” Naples Herald naplesherald.com/2015/07/05/meet-the-guardians-of-the-everglades/ July 5
2014 “Nicholas Petrucci Brings Back the Jeweled Portraiture of the Masters,” artistcareertraining.com/nicholas-petrucci/
2013 WLRN-TV, NPR Miami, “Slice of Life,” Meredith Porte, May - present.
2013 WGCU-Radio, NPR Naples, Arts Beat, Guardians of the Everglades, February
2013 Everglades Area Magazine, Florida’s Nature, “Gestation of Guardians of the Everglades,” 3 pages
2013 Gulf Shore Life Magazine, February “Everglades Forever.” 6 pages
2013 Portfolio Magazine, February, “Guardians of the Everglades,” 6 pages
2011 Portfolio Magazine, April, “Nicholas Petrucci, Artist,” 7 page interview
2012 Naples Daily News, Sunday Perspective, “Guardians of the Everglades,” July 22
2011 Life in Naples, “Master of the Canvas,” 6 page interview
2011 American Art Collector, “Buffalo Tiger & Artist Focus,” August
2011 Best of Worldwide PortraitBook. June
2011 Artam, Global Art, Istanbul, Turkey, “La Femme en Bleu.” March
2011 Huffington Post, “Artists’ Studios” by Prof. John Seed, Nicholas, “La Femme en Bleu 2,” January 27
2010 Lee Pitts Live, Fox TV, May
2009 Naples Illustrated, September, “The A-List: An Everglades Institution”
2009 Art Business News, March, “International Artexpo NY Post-show Report”
2009 Art Business News, June, “Emerging Artists: Nicholas Petrucci.
2009 Art Business News, July, “Unveiling of Clyde Butcher of the Everglades”
2008 American Art Collector, May, “Nicholas Petrucci” 2 pages
2008 Book - Richeson 75 International Artist’s Choice