Paint Studio at the Denver Art Museum

Paint Studio Demo Artist Nathan Abels

Nathan Abels will be in the Paint Studio on March 26 & 27.

Originally from Indiana, Abels came to Colorado in 2007 and has been an active member of the Denver art scene ever since. The Denver Post named him the Emerging Artist of the Year for 2009 and one of the 12 Best Colorado Artists 35 and Under in 2011. Although his style has developed greatly over time, Abels has become best known in recent years for his landscape-based imagery, which provide a great sense of place and, even more notably, a sense of atmosphere.

Abels currently resides in Evergreen, Colorado with his dogs and teaches drawing and painting at Arapahoe Community College in Littleton. His work can be found in the Telfair Art Museum, Savannah, GA; Fort Wayne Art Museum, Ft Wayne, IN; Martin Sanders Investments. New York, NY; First Western Trust Bank, Denver, CO; and at the Savannah College of Art and Design among others.

Hilary Gibson: What makes the way you approach painting unique?

Nathan Abels: Well, I suppose the fact that I use acrylic could be seen as unique – many, many artists paint in oils instead. The application of the paint is also unusual – I use an airbrush fairly often, which gives the works that atmospheric look.

HG: What are you working on currently?

NA: Right now I’m working on a series called Dust in conjunction with the Wonderbound Dance company for their show in the spring. They’re mostly monochromatic works. A lot of them deal with the Dust Bowl era, but several are unrelated and deal with the idea of dust in a different way.

Static by Nathan Abels
Static. Acrylic on canvas. 24 x 36 inches. Courtesy and copyright Nathan Abels.

HG: What does your typical day as an artist look like?

NA: Well, four to five days a week I’m very busy with work at the college. But on days when I’m home—usually Fridays and the weekend—I try to get going on my art by late morning or around lunch time. I tend to work better in the afternoon and evening. I jump around a lot to different projects as I work. Sometimes I’m getting work done on big pieces, but other times I’m just preparing the painting surfaces. I like trying out different kinds of surfaces—right now I’m working with using ash and dust—and mixing and coordinating different materials. I often put on a few podcasts or music as I go.

HG: What podcasts do you like to listen to?

NA: Oh man this is embarrassing. There is one called Mysterious Universe. It explores the supernatural and the unexplained and it’s really entertaining to listen to while I work, especially for the “busy” work. Sometimes I go for things that are a little less goofy, but why not go for the things that entertain you?

Hilary Gibson is an intern with the studio and artists programs in the department of learning and engagement. Her favorite section of the DAM to wander around in is the exhibition of western American art in the Hamilton Building. When not at the museum, Hilary spends an inordinate amount of time eating green chili and driving between Denver and her home in Pueblo, Colorado.

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