‘Craig Thomas: Painting from Life’ Opens July 6 in Crisp Museum


“Craig Thomas: Painting from Life” opens on Friday, July 6, in the Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus.

The public is invited to view the exhibition beginning July 6. An opening reception with an artist’s talk will be held at 6 p.m. that evening. The exhibit will remain on display through Aug. 12. Admission is free.

Thomas is the third artist selected for the Crisp Museum’s Southeast Solo Exhibition.

“Art can be a frustrating struggle, which I find is ultimately good for the soul, and working to keep my focus is often a challenge but one that fuels my artistic drive,” Thomas said. “With murals, street painting and plein air, I am constantly dealing with weather conditions, timelines, surface conditions and inquisitive onlookers, among other considerations. In contrast to this, I have the luxury of time when creating in the studio. Art is a process that keeps me in a positive state of mind.”

The exhibition is a retrospective of Thomas’ paintings from 2004-2017.

“He is a prolific artist who works with ease in multiple directions and surfaces,” said Jim Phillips, museum manager and senior curator. “Regardless of the surface he works on, his command of the materials and his craftsmanship are always on display. A distinguishable trait found in his work and subject matter are the loose brush work and use of pastel colors. He easily goes back and forth between loose brush work in his paintings and a more controlled application of pastels in his street paintings.”

In addition to his exhibition, the Crisp Museum is hosting a “Drawing Still Life and Figure” workshop taught by Thomas this month, a date to be determined. During this workshop, participants will explore the decision-making processes including comparison of shape, line, position and value, using both still life setups and from a figure model to make a likeness and/or capture a mood. A preregistration of $25 fee is due  for ages 15 and up. Supplies are required. For more information, visit semo.edu/museum/education.

Thomas earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in technical theatre from Southeast. The education he received in theatre has had a strong influence on his art today, working with large backdrops and set design has given him an advantage when he creates murals and street paintings.

Thomas has been the featured artist at Kansas City’s La Strada Del Arte and the St. Louis Art Fair. His street painting has lead him to competitions throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. As a freelance artist, Craig works in a variety of mediums, fine art, murals, figurative, plein air and street painting. Individuals, committees and organizations have commissioned him in a variety of works. He has worked on pieces as small as negative retouching to as large as murals on skyscrapers.

He is a board member of the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri and serves as president of its Visual Arts Co-operative. He is a board member of the Old Town Cape Mural Committee and coordinator of the Cape Girardeau Figure Drawing Group. In 2007, Thomas and his wife, Elizabeth, opened the BLack Door Gallery, which features individual and group art exhibits.

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, Missouri. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, 1-4 p.m. on weekends and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the first Friday of the month. For more information, call (573) 651-2260 or email museum@semo.edu.