Wilson Hurley was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but grew up also in New Mexico and Virginia. He
attended West Point and graduated in time to serve in the Pacific until the end of World War
II. Upon returning to the United States he obtained a law degree from George Washington
University and practiced law in Albuquerque while being a Sunday painter.
While finding his true path as an artist, he co-founded the Citizen's Bank and worked as an
engineer at Sandia National Laboratories. At the age of 41 he started painting full-time.
His early painting career was interrupted by the Viet Nam War, in which he served as an air
Hurley was largely a self-taught painter, though his training in geometry and engineering
honed his eye. His years as a pilot made his landscapes unique, giving them an elevated
viewpoint, a pilot's perspective. As one critic said, "The sky is a very important part
of his paintings. His knowledge of weather conditions makes his clouds seem real."
Hurley's paintings are dramatic. They capture a moment of heightened emotional contact with
nature in which one element has a spectacular impact. Most often the drama is that of light
hitting cloud or cliff: a luminous, fleeting last moment pause before twilight.
"I try to take my feelings – my perceptions - about the world and let you feel them, MAKE
you feel them. If I can take the joy that I feel and impart it to you, then I have enriched
your life and mine." Wilson Hurley, Southwest Art, August 1985