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Artist Helen Nagel


An example of fine art by Helen Nagel

Photo of Helen Nagel



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Biography


 
Helen Nagel is an oil painter holding a Masters with distinction Art History and a Fine Art Diploma.  Her subjects are landscape (mostly plein air), portraits and still life.  She began fine art in the United States and while living in London continued in art history, fine art and Chinese calligraphy. After repatriating to Washington DC she studied further at the Corcoran, the Art League and became a copyist at the National Gallery of Art.  Now Helen and her husband mostly divide their time between Vermont and New York City.
 
What I Paint and Why
I always dreamed of painting Vermont. Having lived in many places, including Egypt, and traveled extensively, I appreciate the beauty of the American landscape even more than before I left.  The forceful seasonal changes of Vermont’s countryside are a continual inspiration to me offering endless thematic possibilities for expressing the inevitability of change and passing of time.
 
There is a beauty in aging buildings which are constantly being un-built by nature.  When the harsh power of Vermont weather will not let them remain, their degeneration is often most inspiring to me.  They seem poignant rather than just picturesque. Passing of time, change, and even destruction have their beauty.
 
In portraiture I paint what I feel about humanity. What I once took for granted about American freedoms, I have grown to appreciate more deeply.  Equality and dignity are central to my deepest feelings about all people and I strive to express this in my portraits.
 
Gardens and wildflowers of fleeting Vermont summers are a joy to paint and still life allows me a less hurried process.
 
Copyists at the National Gallery of Art in Washington have the privilege to work very close to paintings of important artists for an extended time.  This is a traditional way to study and is a bit like a writer examining great poetry [...]

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