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Crystal Despain
Bios + CV


The Casual Bio

I love to be warm and well fed.

I love people, and I love my solitude.

I like old books, old movies, old friends and new shoes.

I made 5 beautiful people, It’s been the joy of my life to watch them grow.  

My favorite human is my husband Mark. I also have a dog who believes she is everyone’s favorite human. I’ve told her she’s a dog, she doesn’t agree.

I believe in magical adventures and curious characters.

I feel deeply that weather has no business being cold after Christmas. 

I prefer paths that wander.

I heard birds wings flapping over the desert recently and it was my favorite thing.

The Professional

“I'm seeking to find that place where whimsy and life connect. I believe that is where an artist is both child and master, where art is both a celebration and a silence. 

This is where the artist has lost nothing in the life of a thing, but has instead given the subject new significance.”


In the years since earning her BA in Visual Arts from the University of Northern Colorado, Crystal has remained dedicated to her education and credits much of her progress to her studies with several renown artists including Tina Garrett, Casey Childs, Keith Bond, and Joseph Lorusso. She is heavily influenced by historical masters of the late 1800’s Naturalist movement.


Crystal lives in Colorado with her husband, 5 sons, and sole female companion, a mischievous whippet named Indie.


She is the current Colorado State ambassador for the Portrait Society of America.


B. 1981



PSOA “Art of the Portrait” convention, Reston, VA



Drawing Workshop, Robert Liberace, PSOA



PSOA “Art of the Portrait” convention, Atlanta, GA



Mentorship, Tina Garrett, Cecilia Beaux Foundation, Portrait Society of America (PSOA)



Workshop, Dan Wilson



PSOA “Art of the Portrait” convention, Atlanta, GA



Workshop, Casey Child



Workshop, Joseph Loruso, Scottsdale School of Fine Art



Workshop, Casey Child



Mentorship, Keith Bond



BA, University of Northern Colorado


2024 "Certificate of Excellence"

Portrait Society of America, The International

2023 “4th Place- Non Commissioned Portrait”

Portrait Society of America


2023 “Honorable Mention”

Oil Painters of America Fall Showcase


2023 “Award of Excellence” 

Oil Painters of America, Western Regional Show


2023 “Eleanor B Coble Award of Figurative Excellence”

 Women Artists of the West, National Show


2023 “Artist’s Choice”, Colorado Governor’s Show


2023  “Award of Merit”, Colorado Governor’s Show


2023  “Best New Associate”, Women Artists of the West, Spring Show 


2022  “2nd Place - Associate”, Oil Painters of America, Summer Showcase


2022  “Select 50”, International Art of the Portrait


2021  “2nd Place - Associate“, Oil Painters of America, Fall Showcase


2018  “3rd Place”, National Greeley Art Exhibition 

Curriculum Vitae


(upcoming: 2024 Colorado Governor’s Show)


2023 NOAPS 2023 Fall International Show



2023 Portrait Society of America Members Only Competition



2023 American Impressionist Society 4th Annual All Member 

Online Exhibition


2023 Oil Painters of America, Western Regional Exhibition

Brushworks Gallery, Salt Lake CIty UT


2023 American Impressionist Society National Exhibition 

Somerville Manning Gallery, Greenville DE


2023 WOAW National Exhibition 

The Carriage Factory Art Gallery, Newton, KS


2023 “Oil Painters of America National Exhibition”

Reinert Fine Art, Charleston SC


2023 “Colorado Governor’s Show”

Loveland Museum, Loveland CO


2023 “The Love Show” 

JKR Gallery, Provo UT


2023 Vision of the Arts Auction


2022 “People are my Favorite”

Anthony’s Fine Art and Antique, Salt Lake City UT


2022 “Summer Showcase”, Oil Painters of America



2022 “Colorado Governor’s Show” 

Loveland Museum, Loveland CO


2022 “The Love Show” 

JKR Gallery, Provo UT


2021 “Fall Showcase”, Oil Painters of America



2021 “Colorado Governor’s Show”

Loveland Museum, Loveland CO


2020 American Impressionist Society Online Salon


2020 Vision of the Arts Auction


2019 “Meditations on Belief”, LDS International Art Show, 

Church History Museum, Salt Lake City UT


2019 (Solo)  “Overture”

1123 Santa Fe Drive, Denver (pop up gallery)


2018 Vision of the Arts Auction


2010 (solo) “52 weeks of Free Art”

Greeley, CO (college coffee shop)

Notable Projects

2022 Co-curator, “People are my Favorite”, 

A joint show featuring Colorado and Utah members of PSOA 

Anthony’s Antiques and Fine Art Gallery, Salt Lake City Ut


2020 Judge, Louisville Art Association’s “National Fine Art Show”, 


2010 “52 weeks of Free Art”

A year long personal project producing 52 paintings, inspired by stories, photographs and requests submitted by people following my project. Each was given to the participants following an exhibition of the collective works and stories.

Greeley, CO

Professional Organizations

Portrait Society of America (Colorado Ambassador)

Women Artists of the West

American Impressionist Society

Oil Painters of America


9 News, Colorado & Co Television interview May 2023

Discussing awards received at the Colorado Governor’s Show


Malafronte, Allison,  “Colorado Governor’s Show Preview”, 

Southwest Artist Magazine May 2023 pg 33 


“Artist’s Guide to Plein Air Painting in Colorado”, Plein Air Magazine 

 April/May 2023 Pg 4


Ldspma podcast, interview by Connie Sokol, March 2023


Weston, Tyler, “Women in the Arts” City Lifestyle Magazine, May 2022


“Meet Crystal Despain” Voyager Denver, June 2020


“Check out Crystal Despain’s Artwork”, Voyager Phoenix, June 2019

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