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Norine Spurling

Norine Spurling

(b. 1930)

Norine Spurling is part of the Living Legacy Project at the Burchfield Penney Art Center. Click here to listen to her artist interview. 



Norine Spurling has employed a wide variety of media throughout her career to express her fascination with human relationships, everyday occurrences and, most prominently, memory and personal history. While watercolor is her primary focus, Spurling also experimented with charcoal, printmaking and photographic collage.

Spurling grew up in Bermuda, but when a local watercolorist recognized her artistic talent her parents sent her to study at Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, PA. She continued to the Pennsylvania Academy of Art and Design and then to the University at Buffalo where she received her B.A. in 1969 and her M.F.A. in 1975. She taught drawing at UB for several years afterward.

In her drawings and paintings, Spurling focuses on capturing the essence of a subject at a single moment in time, regardless of whether the subject is a person or a carefully arranged still life. Inspired by female impressionists Mary Cassatt and Alice Neal, Spurling paints mainly women and children. She keeps a collection of old photographs, striving to emulate their transitory emotion in her work. Spurling’s figures often have a smudgy, ethereal appearance that emphasizes the impermanence of memory. Most recently, Spurling painted a series of watercolors of children swimming, reflecting upon her childhood in Bermuda.

“In my work I try to create a dream-like half remembered aura of the past, a suggestion of the hopes and dreams of these, the people of a bygone era,” she said.

Spurling has exhibited throughout Western New York and the United States. Her work is in the collections of the Burchfield Penney Art Center, the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Blue Cross of Western New York, among others. Her paintings were also on display at the Art Dialogue Gallery and the new Meridian Western Gallery in Buffalo, NY. A past president of Buffalo Society of Artists, she has also served on the executive board of Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society, and has been an active member of several regional and local arts groups. Her work has been included in many national and local juried exhibitions. Awards include the Gold, Silver and Bronze from BSA, and Purchase Awards from the Erie Art Museum (Erie, PA) and the Minnesota Museum of Art (St. Paul, MN) [2]

[1] Buffalo Society of Artists: Norine Spurling

[2] Artists: Norine Spurling