Quiet, Gentle and an Awe Inspiring Artist
Nel Andrew Bernard was born and raised in the Lewiston/Auburn area and is a graduate of Edward Little High School. His fascination with stained glass began with his attendance as a youth at the Court Street Baptist Church in Auburn. “Watching the morning sunlight stream through the magnificent monumental window and studying the complex colored patterns was an awe inspiring experience that left a lasting impression”.
Nel was first exposed to stained glass as a craft at Lewiston’s Craftschool in 1974 as a student of Thom Labrie, and later with Michel Ellen Luisi, until assuming the position of instructor at Craftschool in 1978 through 1980. In that same year, he opened his first studio, Magnum Opus Studio Gallery at the head of Lisbon Street, Lewiston in partnership with renovators and photographers. The valuable experience gained at Magnum Opus enabled Mr. Bernard to open and operate Maine Art Glass Studio in Lewiston continuously from 1982 through March 2010. Through the years, Nel continued to learn new techniques and styles by associating with hundreds of local artists, reading, studying and experimenting and attending workshops at the Corning Studios in New York, the Portland School of Art and college courses through the University of Maine.
During his career as a commission artist and restoration expert, Nel Bernard has successfully completed hundreds of commissions for individuals, businesses, organizations, colleges, churches and synagogues. Nel has exhibited as many fine art and craft venues, including the Cumberland Craft Fair, the Great Falls Balloon Festival, the Kennebunk Craft Fair on the Green, recently at the Art & Ale Exhibition Window in association with LA Arts and continuously at his own Sanctuary Gallery in Lisbon Falls.
Nel Bernard continues to experiment and innovate to learn and share new techniques and approaches with his associates and students. A risk taker and a cancer survivor, Nel challenges himself and others to push the envelope and try new ways of expressing one’s self through art. His greatest ambition is to help create and participate in an active and healthy art and social community, in touch with the ideas of the new creative economy.
Nel encourages aspiring artists to keep an open mind as they develop and hone their tastes through observation and reflection, summon the will to reach out and share their vision, practice techniques and experiment with fresh ones in their chosen art medium, becoming involved in workshops at Maine Art Glass and other influences, and share their insights at the Sanctuary Gallery and other exhibitions around Maine and throughout the world.