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Finding the artist within

Dody Rogers, of Canyon Country, returns to her roots

Posted: May 19, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: May 19, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Dody Rogers with her artwork. Dody Rogers with her artwork.
Dody Rogers with her artwork.

Packed with wall-to-wall photos and paintings, Tom Rogers says his house "is a museum."

That’s because the former Sheriff’s Department lieutenant has been married to an artist for the past 48 years.

Fine art, both photographic and oils cover every wall. And that is just the beginning.

His wife, Dody, will be adding even more. For Dody Rogers has embarked on a fourth career — fine art.

When you meet Dody Rogers’ you swear you have seen the woman before.

That is because you most likely have.

A huge advertisement with her picture stood for years on Sand Canyon Road where she "…sold most of the homes in McMillan Ranch."

But, for the past year, Rogers has "re-entered" the art world, her first love. "I started oil painting at the beginning of 2012.

"To date I have painted 25 paintings," she said.

That in addition to "photography as art" four years ago. "I have taken hundreds of photographs. I feature about 180 on my website," says Rogers.

While she started her adult professional life as an elementary school teacher, she could never quite leave her origins alone.

Her father was one of the first Disney artists, animator Don Griffith. He started with Disney at the age of 19 and spent 52 years with the company working his way up from layout to background and finishing up his career at the studio as an art director.

Dody Rogers grew up close to the Disney Studios in Burbank in a home filled with art and visited frequently by Disney artists.

She taught for a number of years when she opened her own art gallery and gift shop in Sherman Oaks for 10 years.

Tiring of the demands of shipping art and handling inventory she got a real estate license and began a career where the only inventory is unsold houses — of which she sold plenty.

Now she takes the organizational and promotional skills learned in those careers and applies them to her new business in the fine arts.

"I have entered and displayed my art in shows with Santa Clarita Artists Association gallery, La Galleria Gitana in San Fernando, With Westlake Artists Association and Thousand Oaks Art Association," says Rogers on her website.

She also uses those skills to promote artists through the Santa Clarita Artist Association. She teaches struggling artists methods for promoting their art.

Recently she organized the largest art show in the history of La Chene French Cuisine Restaurant, held at the restaurant.

Now she is excited about a new gallery provided to the art association at the Town Center Mall where local artists show and promote their artwork.

Her work will be presented weekly along with other artists at the Town Center Gallery. That show will be changed out every six weeks.

Rogers will also be in the thick of "The Art Classic" competition to be held this fall.

The development of her fine art skills is paramount in Rogers’ mind. That is evident on the walls of her home in Canyon Country not far from McMillian Ranch.

It is a mingling of her photographs and oils.

"Autumn Apples" — shot in Quebec — is an award winning photograph from 2011 Art Classic at Hart Hall in Newhall. The photograph received a first place blue ribbon.

Pictured are flawed red apples, ready to go bad in contrast with overlapping yellowing grasses, also ready to turn. In the background are rotted, brown apples, their skins deathly gray- brown and wrinkled.

Light reflecting off the red and yellowish apples is muted, reflecting autumn and the diminishing quality of those red apples, ready to join the rotted apples behind them.

Calling oil paints "a more flexible medium", Rogers says one can repaint with oils more easily than with acrylics.

"You can even go back years later" to repaint, she says. According to Rogers, oils are a little richer in their color.

"Oils blend" in such a way that makes more interesting colors, she adds.

At least four or five layers of paint go into all her paintings with increasing detail, and starting with the background first.

"I pay attention to the light," says Rogers.

This is evident in "Home Sweet Home", a work of art taken from an historical photograph and her imagination. This painting was rendered from a turn of the century sepia tone photograph by Edward S. Curtis.

Curtis took thousands of pictures of the dying Native American culture in the west.

In "Home Sweet Home" Rogers renders the technical realism of an authentic teepee, but adds her interpretation in the color of the teepee. The foreground and background are completely Rogers’ invention.

Rogers divides the teepee into five triangles. Using yellows, tannish browns and blue greens, she increases their hues from left (the light source) to right.

Blue-green historic abstract human figures from Curtis’ work become less and less clear under increased shadowing until the last figure is almost invisible in the most rightward triangle of the teepee.

A striking sky above the teepee is really two skies: an upper sky that is dark and threatening and a lower pacific sky, with white feathery clouds and azure sky.

That sky is as fascinating as the teepee. The dark and threatening sky seems to push down the white feathery clouds and blue skies.

The rugged brown landscape with distant riders and a brown foreground suggest threat.

Is Rogers symbolizing the end of a way of life?

She is definitely complimenting Curtis’ lifelong effort to record for all time the Indian way of life in the 19th Century.

"Peek-a-Boo" is one of her quickest paintings, finished in two days. There are stark, contrasting browns and greens. A bear cub looks out from a field of light and dark greens and blues, darker to lighter around the face.

There are contrasts in shapes; the squiggly grass that seems to shimmer and move and the round face nose and eyes of the little bear cub. The face pops in the contrasts.

"Duded Up" is a good example of Rogers’ use of light. This is an oil painting of Rogers’ husband Tom, an expert horseman.

In this rendering, Tom is dressed in full cowboy regalia, hat, vest and chaps. The light is pouring over his shoulder and right arm.

Using the sleeve of Tom’s yellow shirt, Rogers creates a sharp contrast between the sleeve and the dark barn door behind him.

The use of white and yellow and the purples and dark browns of the barn door create a seeming flood of light over Tom’s right shoulder.

Her use of pinks and muted gray shadowing give shape to Tom’s face; the effect is a hot, bright southern California day and Tom’s face is ruddy and tired from the sun.

The viewer’s eye travels from the face, left to the sleeve, across the interesting, decorated vest and to a wagon on which the subject leans with his left arm.

The face has an impressionistic, soft, weary look.

Tom Rogers is also an artist — a woodworking artist. Dody’s collection is complimented with handmade distressed pine wood trim and doors. The pine doors have large, decorative clavos (nails) in them.

The Rogers hired an artist to paint Indian signs and symbols on the woodwork. The effect is reminiscent of the woodwork in the William S. Hart Museum in Newhall, which the Rogers studied in detail.

The Rogers art makes their home brings a personal touch to their home as it continues to evolve as their personal "museum of art."


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