Lorwen C. Nagle
Contemporary Impressionist – Symbolist Paintings

Lorwen C. Nagle - Contemporary Impressionist ~ Symbolist Paintings

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Currently, I am a full-time visual artist. My first art teacher and mentor was my grandmother, Era Gem Merriman. She attended the Cornell School of Art in Chicago, Illinois in the early 1900s. When I was 5 and 6 years old I expressed a strong desire to paint. I remember my grandmother setting up a still life on her kitchen table and teaching me to draw it. I learned perspective taking, color mixing and the effects of light and shadow with oil paints. This began my love of art.


I grew up in Texas on the Gulf of Mexico. Today, I live in Maine and regularly, paint outdoors - landscapes and seascapes - of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.


My first year in college, I was a fine arts major, but I felt I wasn’t receiving a skillful education. I left, and the next year began pursuing a science degree. I received my Ph.D. in Clinical/Community Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1986. Much of my time was spent teaching and doing research with extensive writing and publishing on refugees and immigrants in the United States.


In 1990, I moved to Boston to work on the Tibetan U.S. Resettlement Project. After living and working in India for the Tibetans, I settled in Kittery, Maine with my husband, Peter Nagle. My art studio is also in Kittery, Maine.


The transition from an academic career to painting was relatively seamless. Painting is my great love and all of my psychological work (and my extensive travels) are incorporated in my artistic activities today.


I am a member of the New Hampshire Art Association, Rockport Art Association, and the Kittery Art Association.


Artist Statement 

Frieda Kahlo was the last great female symbolist artist in the western hemisphere. My aim today is to become the current leading female impressionist symbolist artist — bringing back the awareness of symbolism in nature and art. 


Similarly to Kahlo, I grew up steeped in the Mexican ethos – in a South Texas town close to the border of Mexico where rattlesnakes were prevalent and, at the age of 5, I knew the difference between a King and a Coral snake. Our backyard was filled with dangerous insects and crawling reptiles, and I built a hut in the mesquite trees out of view of the main house.


The land was tropical and lush. At the same time, it was broad, flat, uncut and dangerous – hot and dry. There were farmlands that my grandfather would take me to every Sunday … and endless cattle ranches. Frieda expressed her surroundings in a colorful, exotic, raw, throbbing manner that also included her. In fact, she was integral to her paintings, and her experiences were expressed in connection with them.


Similarly, my paintings are integral to me. The symbols of death and destruction, love and desire are all present in the way I paint nature.


I admire the early French symbolists such as Marc Chagall, Gustav Klimt and Edward Munch. Their paintings all have a strong style and psychological force. I aim for the same strong, psychological potency in my paintings. My background as a psychologist and my work with Tibetans has led me to appreciate archetypal symbols. Moreover, the process of outdoor painting provides me with the holographic experience needed to transmit emotion and meaning into my work.


I paint big and broad, and I feel nature fully. I trust the brush strokes and markings I produce on site are expressions of this ever-present awareness in which I am living. How my emotions, biological states, and personality come into play is not something I can clearly define. But, I know they are there, filling each painting with a living presence.