This month’s spotlight artist is one of the original five artists who started the gallery, pastel painter Don Nagel.
Nagel was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., studied art at the Rochester Institute of Technology, earning a Bachelor of Arts, and later received a Master of Arts degree in printmaking from Wayne State University in Detroit.
He worked in Pittsburgh and Detroit for 30 years in major advertising agencies as an art director and associate creative director, receiving numerous rewards, including the New York Director’s Club Gold Medal and Clio Awards.
Nagel and his wife, Joyce, also a pastel artist, moved to Hilton Head Island in 1986. He worked as a freelance graphic designer until 1998, when he retired. He now has devoted himself to painting and teaching the fine art of pastel.
“When I started in the agencies many years ago, layouts and designs were rendered in pastel gauche or watercolor. I was never very good at watercolor and gauche was slow,” he said. “Eventually magic markers became available, and finally the computer was invented. While working full time, I never had time or energy for fine art. Since I retired, I’ve come full circle and returned to the pastels.”
Nagel appreciates “the immediacy of the pastel medium,” he said. “I start my paintings with an underpainting of pastel and solvent on sandboard, using mostly complimentary color. Then I build up light and dark tones with hard pastel and finally add the bright highlights with softer pastel.”
Nagel Don is a member of Art League of Hilton Head, an associate member of the Pastel Society of America, and a Member of Excellence in the Southeastern Pastel Society. His paintings hang in private and corporate collections and have received awards from regional and national pastel societies.
Nagel’s original pastels can be seen at La Petite Gallerie, where prints of his work are also available.
La Petite Gallerie is located at 56 Calhoun St. in Bluffton, where Nagels spends a little time welcoming visitors. For more information visit lapetitegallerie.com.