Arts & Culture

Returning to his lifelong passion

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  • Nathaniel Glover with a few of his favorite black-and-white sketches.
    Nathaniel Glover with a few of his favorite black-and-white sketches. Bob Sofaly/The Beaufort Gazette

    Nathaniel Glover started cashing in on his artistic talents at a young age.

    When he and his fellow schoolmates were told to draw maps of South Carolina in the sixth grade, the other children came to him. He charged them 25 cents each to help with the projects.

    The St. Helena Island native continued to draw on those skills throughout his childhood, but he drifted away from his hobby as he entered the adult world. Glover took a job as a truck driver at age 21 and kept driving trucks until 2005, when the company he worked for went out of business.

    All of a sudden the hardworking trucker was retired with not much to do other than daily household chores. He started getting depressed and restless.

    "It wasn't easy, because I was just sitting around all day bored," Glover said.

    Then his wife, Edna, encouraged him to start drawing again. He started drawing a little every day. Friends and family members, who had never seen this side of Nathaniel, were impressed and encouraged him to show off his work. He entered pieces into art shows in the area.

    Word quickly spread around town, and people started asking Glover to draw for them. Deacon of the Shepherd's House in Sheldon, Glover said his pastor asked him to create some artwork for the church's day care center. Glover was happy to oblige and did all the work for free. Colorful fruits, vegetables and numbers now line the ceiling of the Little Shepherd Learning Center. Glover said he will give a portion of portrait sales to the center.

    The Shepherd's House Pastor Bernard Middleton said everyone who visits the center comments on the art's beauty.

    "It definitely brought life to the center," Middleton said.

    Now 61, Nathaniel has returned to what he started all those years ago in school. He might not be drawing maps, but he is making money doing what he loves.

    Nathaniel most enjoys drawing portraits, wildlife scenes and religious pieces, using charcoal and colored pencils. He spends about six hours a day drawing -- something he finds both relaxing and fun.

    The former truck driver has added one more job title to his resume over the past few months. He now volunteers his time teaching art classes at the St. Helena Senior Center, one of three senior centers run by the nonprofit Senior Services of Beaufort County. Glover works with a group of about 20 people for an hour every other Wednesday at the center.

    Senior Services of Beaufort County executive director Jannette Williams said Glover has helped his students realize their hidden talents.

    "I've seen some of the artwork that they have posted on the bulletin board, and it's really nice stuff," Williams said. "They would not have done it without him. ... I think it gives them a very good feeling of self-confidence."