Professional Biography

Formal education:

  • University of Connecticut, liberal arts BS

  • Art Institute of Chicago, fine arts

  • Hartford Art School, BFA

I have continued my studies to the present, drawing at Cooper Union, Spring Street Studios NYC, and The Society of Illustrators, focused on life drawing.


  • Hartford Art School, top painting prize

  • All Island Art Show, Martha's Vineyard, Best in Show


  • Spectrum, Miami

  • Gracie Art Show, New York

  • Tavern on Jane, New York

  • Granary Gallery, Martha's Vineyard

  • Dragonfly Gallery, Martha's Vineyard

  • Center for the Arts, Martha's Vineyard

  • Featherstone, Martha's Vineyard

  • All Island Art Show, Martha's Vineyard


  • Standard and Poors

  • Citibank

  • Bankers Trust

  • Towers Perrin

  • Panel Publishing

  • Barret Smith Shapiro Simon & Armstrong

  • Private Collections in Munich, Amsterdam, Paris, Martha's Vineyard, South Carolina, Florida, Connecticut, New York City, Georgia, New Jersey, Chicago, Milwaukee, Washington, DC

TV interviews:

Art Exhibit Reviews:


  • "And I Love You So", art and poetry by Nancy Purnell

  • "A Magical Place," art by Nancy Purnell

  • "Off Season," art by Nancy Purnell

  • "Sea Bound," art by Nancy Purnell


I have spent many years teaching painting, drawing, sculpture, art history, and a variety of non-traditional approaches to art, in the inner city schools of Chicago, Hartford and New York City. Currently, I teach painting, drawing and art appreciation/history at two senior centers in New York City.

I continue to paint, draw, exhibit and study art. I live a life of creating art and sharing it through teaching art techniques and art appreciation.


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Nancy Purnell talking about her approach to painting

I studied Alber’s color theories with some of his MFA students, and this forever changed the way I see everything. Color is my strong influence and inspiration.

I choose to work with oil paint to maximize color and brush strokes, using thick and thin paint. I do paint on a rough surfaced paper, but I prefer canvas with a medium textured surface.

I have painted many different subjects: nudes, as I draw from the models, nature outside, painting what I see; but simplifying the inner and outer forms, and I paint shapes and colors trying to give a seemingly visual movement, in a relationship that makes each element come alive.

I am influenced by Cezanne, Van Gogh, Matisse and Albers; but I work mainly on my own, and with drawing groups, and with a variety of contemporary artists over the years.
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