September 20-October 27
This story was featured in the September 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art September 2013 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
For Colorado artist Ralph Nagel, it’s not enough to reproduce what he sees. Whether he is portraying an arid southwestern landscape or a bright yellow sunflower, Nagel says it’s always necessary “to give the painting what it needs.” In other words, his creative process must include spontaneity, and the resulting work must convey a certain freshness and originality. “It’s always about that day, that moment,” Nagel says. “And, as in life, painting is about having the courage to take risks toward an outcome that is unknown.”
This month the Littleton Museum presents about 60 paintings by Nagel with a focus on recent watercolors, including several large-scale works depicting the Ghost Ranch area in the rocky, high-desert country of northern New Mexico. Nagel explores the many moods of the ever-changing light on this rugged, dramatic terrain with his signature expressive brush strokes and bold use of color. The show also features an array of landscapes that the well-traveled artist created in France, Spain, Thailand, and Ireland, as well as a selection of still-life paintings.
Nagel, a successful businessman and self-described multitasker, says he took up painting less than a decade ago as a way “to live in the moment.” Nagel firmly believes that if he comes to each new work with too many preconceived ideas, he is not painting but illustrating. “There is an originality involved in painting that is quite different,” he says. “It’s really quite joyful for me to paint, and it uses a whole different aspect of me.”
In 2012 one of the artist’s watercolors won the top award at the museum’s 47th annual Own an Original show. The prize included a one-person show at the museum. For the past year Nagel has been hard at work creating and assembling the paintings for his presentation at the museum, which opens on September 20. The artist’s works have been exhibited in many other regional and national juried exhibitions, including shows at the State Capitol Building in Denver, the Loveland Museum/Gallery, and The Wildlife Experience in Parker. —Bonnie Gangelhoff
Featured in the September 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art September 2013 print issue or digital download
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