Oil painting by Jerry Rose
When he was barely 5 or 6 years old, Jerry Rose’s mother bought him a paint-by-numbers kit. From such small gifts are lifelong passions nourished. “It was a horse, I think,” says the 67-year-old artist. “I found out halfway through that I didn’t need the numbers, and I certainly didn’t need the lines.”
He was off, with a passion for painting that has sustained him through six decades. Known for his “dynamic brushwork and luscious textures,” Rose has appeared in many galleries, taught at such venues as The WoodenBoat School and can be seen on YouTube.
Along the way he has combined his love of art with a love of all things “boat.” Living in Gloucester, Massachusetts, for a time, he got involved with boatbuilding, and “painting took a back seat,” Rose says from his Sedgwick, Maine, studio. “I found that boatbuilding, designing boats, playing with them had a creative side to it that really excited my imagination.”
Eventually he built himself a boat and sailed it from Maine to the Bahamas. That’s where his artist’s eye took over again. “It was my proving ground for a new way of painting,” Rose says. “I saw the colors, the boats, the wonderful people, and I got excited. I wanted to document it. It was an abstract idea that needed realism to express it.”
And so Rose, who studied fine arts at Ohio University and “came out as an abstract artist,” as he puts it, tempered the abstract with his own expression of realism. Loading Traps (12 by 16 inches, oil on linen) shows the distinctive style that emerged, combining bold strokes and colors with a simple, focused subject. “I want to express an idea but keep it simple,” Rose says.
With no numbers or lines needed.
This article originally appeared in the October 2015 issue.