Roberta Rogers Paints Happiness
Classically trained, third generation watercolorist and one of the nicest people in the world, Roberta Rogers struggles with the delicate balance of tightness and looseness. A child of the California school of watercolor painting, Robbie revels in the ‘loose and juicy’ application of bright overlapping colors, impressionism if you will, transparent watercolor. Her works literally dance with vivid hues, a seamlessly blended myriad of colors.
But commissions for painting architecture, and a love for painting vintage vehicles, led Rogers down the path of precise detail and structure, of duplicating every last detail of the subject. Realism in every way. Perhaps too tight, according to her peers and instructors, but undeniably Rogers in style.
Whatever the degree of tight or loose, all of her paintings are a celebration of happiness, brightness and optimism, sheer joy for the viewer. “My paintings are not of a subject, they are about the subject’ says Rogers. “A painting is a vehicle to project a feeling, not an end in itself, a metaphor of the image being painted.” And the feelings and the metaphors are wonderful.
On a recent visit to her studio, I discovered Rogers cutting out dress shapes from heavy paper, paper dolls if you will! It was the first step in creating a mixed media piece combining watercolors and patterned rice paper, as she is always experimenting with new techniques and tools. The technology of tainting has come a long way since she began painting, according to Rogers, with better paper, better brushes and better paint all contributing to the enjoyment of her art.
Teaching art has been a lifelong passion of Rogers, having taught watercolor classes at Coconino Community College in Flagstaff for 25 years. She uses phrases like ‘taking terrified adults and achieving success’ and ‘permission to play’ in describing her approach to teaching painting. The Tubac Center of the Arts does offer occasional classes with her throughout the year.
Another lifelong passion of Roberta’s is the culture of Southern Arizona and neighboring Mexico. She is in integral part of a growing community of friends who have ‘adopted’ the school in Sasabe, Sonora, just across the line from Sasabe, Arizona. Isolated is a charitable term when used to describe either Sasabe. And the Mexican village is very poor. Dubbed ‘Sasabe Avanzando’, the group donates school supplies, books and other needed items to the kids there. And next year there will be an exhibit of art work produced by these same kids, and from the Rio Rico school district here in Arizona, at the Tubac Center of the Arts.
“Living here in Tubac has added years to our lives,” says Rogers, speaking about herself and her husband Gary. “It is the art, the air, the darkness of night and the brightness of day, the quiet and the people”.