Rodger Bechtold

Artist Statement

Like most people, I feel a sense of calm and tranquility in the presence of nature -- one that takes me away from a sometimes troubled and worrisome world. Painting is my journey in search of that feeling. It is a journey to find that something worth knowing more about that ultimately evokes a personal response -- something beyond the obvious and descriptive.

Based on direct observation, recollection and some invention, I seek to describe the grandeur in the commonplace. I create landscape paintings that have a feeling of spaciousness beyond the limits of the canvas dimensions, charged with color, expressed with energy and seemingly effortless brushwork. But most of all I’m interested in communicating what it feels like to be there.

The Midwest is close to my heart; after all, it's the place where I've lived all my life. The heartland of this country possesses such uncomplicated and straightforward beauty. This simplicity of these ever changing vistas resonates with me the way music does. Taking "cues" from nature, my color choices have become intuitive, a subconscious response to what I see – true too for my studio work, where there is more latitude for experimentation and invention. I want to layer the painting with interest so a viewer can relate to the time and place, color relationships, abstraction and brush work, and see this as the largest statement possible contributing to the ongoing discourse of contemporary painting. I paint with an orchestration of form and color that makes the separation between representation and abstraction nearly indistinct. 

Caught up in an ever-hyper-busy-world, we seem to be drifting away from something very precious: a bond with the land that's ages old. My hope is that my painting might somehow rekindle an interest in what wonder surrounds us every day and yet goes unnoticed.