Being born and raised in Henderson, NV., just outside Las Vegas, and from the time I was a small child, I wanted to become an artist, but I never dreamed it would turn out the way it has. As I love to hunt, fish and explore the out-of-doors, and include many experiences in the field as part of my fine art subject matter, I have come to appreciate what Mother Nature has so magnificently pieced together for us to enjoy on a daily basis.
I live in Waynesville, NC with my wife of eighteen years, Cherie, and our 13-year-old daughter Calli Alexis. I am a veteran graphic designer/illustrator with my own business, Craig Burgwardt Design, and I spend my spare time fishing, panning for gold, tinkering in the shop, watching NASCAR, doing photography and spending time with my family.
With camera constantly at my side, I'm always on the lookout for interesting subject matter to photograph. Often, what I photograph has a high probability of being painted. It's my way of always trying to be in the right place, at the right time. Some things never change ...
I began working in oils at the age of six during a local summer recreation department oil painting class in Henderson, NV. I struggled the first class or so, but soon, the instructor mentioned to my Mother that she would like to provide me private lessons to refine my abilities.
Many art shows, a college Senior Thesis, and a bachelor's degree in Art later, I have been painting and selling from my early days in Nevada, to Estes Park, Colorado from 1990 until 2007, and now here in the majestic Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina.
I currently work mostly in acrylic, but also dabble in oils and watercolor when the mood strikes me, and when I find the time I have also spent quality time woodcarving artistic decoys. I am also a signature member of the Nevada Watercolor Society. After over 48 years of painting, illustration and graphic design and creative direction, I am becoming very comfortable just where I am, in my life and my career.
In my artistic world, I paint what I experience. 'Just being there' is a phrase I've used to describe the time I spend in the outdoors all of the time. Whether it's in a goose pit at 5 degrees below zero, stalking a herd bull in a downpour, or belly boat fishing for bass in 100 degree heat ... 'just being there' seems to sum it up for me.
Those three words seem to also sum up the new direction my art is taking. Since moving to my new studio in Waynesville, and being accepted to hang in the prestigious the Mahogany House gallery in Lower Frog Level/Downtown, I've wanted to be more studied and prolific in my painting. A new desire to make up for the years spent doing things other than painting over the last thirty years has taken hold and won't let go.
I'm on a personal mission to share with others my abilities as a true artist. I now have direction AND desire. I'm beginning to do more painting on location so as to sharpen my abilities of putting brush to canvas quicker therefore capturing the moment I so wish to share with others. The main goal is to allow myself to paint more naturally and freely, while still allowing the viewer to become involved in ... 'just being there.'