Curiosity—it’s what Anderson Artists Guild member Wendy Rogers loved about her students. It’s also what drives her as an artist.
Born in Shaker Heights, Ohio, Rogers graduated from Ashland University with degrees in elementary education, early education, and special education. She taught both regular and special education for 20 years and also helped guide entry-level teachers.
Her students’ curiosity inspired her to incorporate lots of fun activities, such as acting out a soap opera with emperors from ancient history, creating commercials about olive oil, and using a six-foot replica of an Egyptian mummy from a museum.
Art has always been a driving force in her life. Her mother loved art history, so they visited museums often. There, said, Rogers, “The Dutch and Renaissance paintings had the greatest influence on me, the vivid, rich colors, the depth that could be achieved on a flat surface.”
Oils entered her life at about age eight, and she remembers painting a huge canvas of mountains and valleys with a small town in the center highlighted with sun rays. When she ran out of green, she used a tube her mom had picked up. “It was a new thing called acrylics, and it was a fast and sad lesson that they didn’t play well with oil,” she said. “Talk about channeling Hockney!”
Rogers paints mostly still lifes as well as portraits of animals and people, including commission work. A few years ago, she was part of a show of three artists at the Anderson Arts Center, where she sold all but three of her 20 pieces. “The three that didn’t go were botanicals,” she said. “People thought they were prints, not realizing they were originals.”
She works small, in canvases ranging from 8 x 8 to 16 x16 inches. “For still life, it’s more intimate to me,” she said. “And I like the square shape for the balance of composition.”
She also creates rescued book sculptures. She finds books in the public domain—over 100 years old—usually from book shops in England. The key aspect she seeks is illustrations, which she cuts out to build a sculpture.
But oil remains her primary passion. “I love the depth of color,” she said. “There’s something so pure about it.”