Rodger Bechtold Artist Biography

Rodger Bechtold was born in 1945 in Michigan was raised in central Illinois and has lived in and around Chicago since age eighteen. He nurtured his interests in the visual arts at the American Academy of Art, Chicago and the School Of The Art institute of Chicago. Involved in commercial art illustration for many years he abandoned that pursuit some thirty years ago in favor of painting landscapes full time.

What really ignited this passion for painting was his exposure to mentor Wolf Kahn through the Santa Fe Institute Of Fine Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico as part of the Masters Art Program.

Over time Bechtold has built a solid reputation for being a major contributor to the on going dialog in contemporary landscape painting in the mid west and beyond. His work is expressed with energy, painted with seemingly effortless brushwork and charged with color. All connected by place and moment.

His paintings, some monumental in size, have been seen in solo and featured exhibitions in museums and prominent galleries as well as public and private collections across the United States. Also they have been included in periodicals and books:

  • The Artist and the American Landscape: Two Centuries of American Landscape Painting, by John Driscoll, Director of the Babcock Gallery, New York, NY
  • Landscape Painting: Essential Concepts and Techniques for Plein Air and Studio Practice, by Mitchell Albala
  • 100 Artists of the Midwest by E. Ashley Rooney

Rodger Bechtold and his wife, botanical illustrator Glory Bechtold, live and work near Chicago and in Door County Wisconsin.

Some thoughts on painting by Rodger Bechtold

The Midwest is close to my heart; after all, it's the place where I've lived all my life. The heartland possesses such uncomplicated and straightforward beauty. The simplicity of these ever changing vistas resonates with me the way music does.

Beginning a painting from the initial inspiration is one thing, but to carry that inspiration through an evolution of risk and change is quite another. The painting process continues until the painting stands alone and I feel it has something to say.

Taking "cues" from nature, my color choices have become intuitive, a subconscious response to what I see. This is true too for my studio work, where there is more latitude for experimentation and invention. The intention is to 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 awareness of form and color that blurs the distinction between representation and abstraction.

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.


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