Elizabeth Nagle’s passion lies in painting and the process of creating on a blank canvas. Concerned with value, color, gesture and composition her process is mostly intuitive, unplanned and free flowing. Her medium is primarily acrylic paint although she does use others and often combines collage elements into her pieces. She works on multiple pieces at a time, adding, subtracting, doing and undoing, layering, covering and uncovering until eventually a dialogue develops with the work and a story unfolds.
From small drawings and collages to large canvases the artworks are like windows to another place and time where one encounters images both personal and universal. Through different methods she is exploring ways to create a magical atmosphere. Using marks, drips, collage, printmaking and drawings each piece becomes a journey with its own life and language. Her works are often grounded in narrative. She strives to be playful, inventive, mischievous, witty, pleasantly offbeat and her canvases are often populated with weird and wonderful characters.
Intrigued by the psychological phenomenon called Pareidolia – the human tendency to visually make sense of patterns and random information. Nagle explains that Leonardo da Vinci describes this in his notebooks: “If you look at walls that are stained or made of different kinds of stones you can think you see in them certain picturesque views of mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, plains, broad valleys, and hills of different shapes. You can also find in them battles and rapidly moving figures, strange faces and costumes, as well as an infinite number of things.”
Nagle states: “We see images in clouds, rock formations, floors, ceilings, wood grain and a myriad of other places. When I paint, I often start to see images evolving, at which point I make a decision as to whether to make them clear to the viewer or let them linger mysteriously.” If she feels inclined to let the viewer in on what she sees she will most likely do that through the painting’s title.
Born in Massachusetts, Elizabeth Nagle’s family was always on the move. Her father’s business took her and her 4 siblings from Newton MA to Scarsdale NY, Baltimore MD and eventually London, England. Nagle remembers her childhood as one full of play and imaginary games. Drawing, painting and creating were always a passion. After finishing the equivalent of high school in London she studied painting at Bard College. After a couple of years, she felt drawn to the west coast where she attended the San Francisco Art Institute, graduating with a BFA in painting. Seeking a warmer climate, she spent many years in the Los Angeles area. She feels that much of her sensibility and color sense comes from that time.
Elizabeth’s journey brought her back east to the metropolitan New York area. She continued to seek out fellow artists and places to study including The Art Students League in NY and Silvermine Art Guild and Westport Art Center both in CT. During this period, she participated in many group and solo shows in the area including being selected for SOLOS 2013 at the Westport Art Center, juried by Susan Cross of MASS MoCA. In 2015 she received an award to attend The Vermont Studio Center and in 2019 she was recognized by the Vermont Arts Council and the Vermont Art Guide as a 2019 Vermont Artist to Watch.
Elizabeth Nagle is also an accomplished needlepoint designer, a skill she acquired as a teenager in London England. She has worked for and learned from some of the best in the industry. Her and her husband’s move to VT in 2015 coincided with the launch of her own wholesale needlepoint line, Doolittle Stitchery, which she runs out of her Dorset Studio.