Only the second owners of their 1923 house - the original owner lived to be 100 and stayed in this small Sylvan Park cottage for 70 of those years - Roger, his wife and daughter, are super efficient with their space. Homes from that era were not long on storage, so the prolific artist’s paintings, drawings, and sketchbooks are stored in plain sight - on walls, in stacks, in files, or leaned up against something. With vintage furniture and wall colors, the effect is one of warmth, coziness, lived-in-ness. This is a pleasant place.
When it came time to descend into the basement - Roger’s main painting lair - he directed me to go first, grab the rail on the right and carefully make my way down without the lights on. Only the light from a small, ground level transom window broke into the darkness and revealed the reason he paints here. In his words, “it’s so neat down here, all that dirt and stone around you”. And, of course, that earthy aroma that a below ground, unfinished basement emits. Not everyone’s ideal, but I love it, having grown up with one just like it. I was the first person Roger has ever let into this space. He just didn’t think others would understand. I think I get it - he doesn’t have to be real careful here; no one bothers him down here; and there’s plenty of room to change his mind and his direction, as is his custom. Roger doesn’t spend too much time planning what he’s going to do in the studio. He just starts painting, and lets the work tell him what it wants. All those hours he spends sketching, pouring through images on line, in magazines, at the mall as he people-watches, offer up influences at just the right moments. He may paint the same subject over and over, or tweak a single work over and over, sometimes for a year or longer. Vibrant work from an intriguing place.
From the Artist: “I paint quickly, but I don’t finish quickly.”