Lorwen C. Nagle
Contemporary Impressionist – Symbolist Paintings

Why I Love Painting Plein Air

American Contemporary Impressionism is the classification for my work. However, I feel a strong connection with the Symbolist Artist, who emerged in the 1880’s.



Tied Up, oil on canvas, by Lorwen


My studio is located in Kittery, Maine and open to the public by appointment. Before or after you purchase a painting, you are welcome to connect with me via Skype. I am always available.



Why I Love Plein Air Painting


En plein air is a phrase borrowed from the French, whose equivalent meaning is 'open (in full) air.'


In plein air painting, the artist attempts to replicate the actual visual conditions, which is why I gravitate to this style of painting. I love my relationships with the sky and land, clouds and trees, high tides and low tides.


The sky is never still — always seems to be doing something different — and my aim as a painter is to capture these moments on canvas with brush and oil paints. It is clear that this visual expression I perceive in front of me is an interaction of my body and mind, a complex holographic set of geometric shapes and sizes, color and tone. I am dancing with this, grand visual display of reality of manifest consciousness and my paintings are syntheses of this process.


The conditions of light from day to day are fascinating, and I am obsessed with representing these conditions as truthfully as I can. En plein air paintings suits my appreciation of natural beauty and about 90% of my work is done outdoors. The intensity of light in the New England region is perfect for my work. Notable is the early spring light on the seacoast and the late afternoon light in Gloucester.


A notable mentor of mine is a celebrated Cape Ann American Impressionist teacher, David P. Curtis. He paints in a way that gives the viewer the experience of light throughout the composition. He represents different qualities of light at different times of the day.


Personally in my work, I have responded to painting information by focusing my vision on the light and negative space more than the subject matter.


I love high contrast light and find it very stimulating. The contrast that is most intriguing to me is the contrast that involves both value and temperature. Light is a universal subject. It is truthful and real. Broken and transparent layers of color give complexity to my paintings. I rarely paint a scene in one layer unless it is a sketch that I would later refine and explore in more depth.


I paint on site because I feel the image I’m painting — I don’t just see something in front of me — I experience the air around me and the ground below my feet. I can bring a painting into my studio and finish it, however, I have found that I must have a connection with the natural site I am painting — a photo won’t cut it. Thus, painting to me is a three-fold activity — physical, emotional, transcendent.