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Muriel Rogers - Local Artist
03/28/2005 - By by Kristen Weston
Colts Neck’s Rural Surroundings:
Colts Neck is surrounded with almost surreal rural attractions that often go unnoticed due to the constant on-the-go lifestyle that we all seem to have these days. However, that gorgeous perennial garden hidden away in the back of someone’s property or that rare woodsy landscape on the many secluded roads in the area has not yet been forgotten. One fascinating artist, who has based her artwork solely on the Colts Neck area, has been able to capture the enigmatic and colorful beauty of nature that resides in Monmouth County. Muriel Rogers, long-time resident and artist, has instilled a deep love for the gifts nature has to offer by creating an array of oil and watercolor artistry that are distinctive in the matter of the mix of colors she uses.
Upon meeting Rogers, I was able to see that she is passionate about her calling. Her studio is bright and open, adorned with a number of landscape and seascape scenes that release an enchanting feeling. She said that the sky and water are her most beloved views. This was immediately apparent in the decorated and vibrantly colored scenes that she has produced. Rogers has devoted her life to two things: art and family. She explained that both her family- who also exhibit artistic backgrounds- and her work motivate and inspire her [in} every waking day. “My life is filled with color. It is definitely not humdrum by any means. I live a wonderful life that enables me to consistently think about the next scene I will portray,” she said, adding, “There is just so much that I can paint in my day-to-day life that I can never see it getting stale. My love of art has definitely passed on to my daughters, who are creating from morning to night.”
Rogers is originally from Scotch Plains, NJ, but has lived in Colts Neck since 1970. “My husband Ken and I took our four children and moved from Scotch Plains to Colts Neck, or what I would like to call the ‘country.’ The area was just so different and beautiful. It’s filled with such great people. Everyone around here knows everyone else and I think that is great.” Since moving from Scotch Plains, she has been painting rural scenes with oil and watercolors, basing her artwork in Colts Neck. She commented that it is easy to imagine a painting just by looking outside of her studio into her backyard, which overlooks a reservoir and undisturbed woodland. “I really study nature and try to see the warmth that exists in a tree trunk, which I do not see as a brown color, but instead I view it in blue, red, and violet pigments. You can see the violet in almost every painting that I have done. Blues and violets can be seen in the shadows of any landscape. It is a great neutral,” she explained. “For instance, a sky has so many different colors in it and it changes so fast, that it is a real challenge to paint,” Rogers said. She commented that it usually takes her only about 10 minutes to paint a sky in watercolor, having to finish it before the paper dries. But developing the subject may take weeks to complete.
Her career has expanded over a 35-year period and continues to grow. She commented that her inspiration for art is endless and that it would be “impossible to run out of ideas and subject matter” for her paintings. She and Ken are not great travelers, but like to go up to Vermont and to the ocean to retrieve additional inspiration. “I have the best of both worlds really,” she said.
According to Rogers, the number one objective she would like to exhibit is to preserve the beautiful, rural scenery in her paintings before it disappears. “I like a painting to be realistic, I would call it realism meets impressionism. You really have to take the scene in because at a blink of an eye, the light and the seasons change,” She explained. Rogers reminisced about her childhood and how it influenced her: “I was always encouraged by my parents to do what I loved. And, I have always liked art and wanted to do it, but in those days your career options weren’t anywhere near what they are today. You could be a teacher, secretary, or a nurse. So, I went to college and majored in elementary education.”
Rogers graduated from Georgian Court College with a degree in elementary education. In the early 1960’s, she began her teaching career. “I taught fifth grade for a few years before our first child was born. I then became a full time mother raising, with Ken, our four children,” she explained. Although she has never made a teaching career out of art, she has explored the idea. She gave oil painting lessons to children, while her family was young. And much later she taught watercolor to adults in her home studio for several years. She now participates in selective art shows and demonstrations several times a year.
Rogers was unable to pinpoint a single major influence on her artistry, due to the many people that she has met in her life and the experiences she has had with them. However, she regards her Husband Ken, who is her chief photographer and finder of possible painting subjects, and fellow artists Lucile Geiser and Anthony (Tony) Ventura, as being very important to her in her growth as an artist. She explored the admiration she has for these artists: “I took lessons with Lucile for about 20 years…Her work is absolutely inspiring. She is very good at teaching it and being critical of someone’s work,” Rogers said. “Tony [Ventura] is another great artist and a great critic. I admire his oils. He is a very educated and traditional painter who uses strong values and is very good at fine-tuning a piece,” she explained.
Her pieces exhibit a distinctive artistic form relating to the offerings of nature. Her paintings often portray Flock Farm; the Old Phalanx House, which burned down in the early 1970’s; Bucks Mill; and a flower farm owned by Veronica and Helen Cicalese, which she describes as her “favorite.” She said: “The same beautiful subjects are always changing with the light and the seasons, keeping them interesting to paint. I know that I will never completely master fine art painting - there is always more to learn. My life is a balance between love of family and love of painting.”
Her artwork may be seen at her studio, located at 33 Beaver Dam Road, Colts Neck; the Anchor and Palette Gallery, Bay Head; and The Guild of Creative Art, Shrewsbury. Over the years, she has accumulated a number of artistic excellence awards. Her artistry is also available in publications, which include: American Artist; Watercolor: An American Artist Publication; To the Shore Once More, Vol. I & II; Jersey Shore Home & Garden; and Jersey Shore Magazine. For more information on Muriel Rogers’ studio and artwork, you may contact her through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org .
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