A native Washingtonian, Rodgers Naylor was born near Georgetown and spent his childhood on a farm near the Pautuxent River in Maryland. He pursued painting and drawing at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, The Atelier in Minneapolis, and the Art Students’ League of Denver after attending the University of Chicago and Carleton College for academics.
Adhering to a realistic yet painterly style, Naylor paints in an “alla prima” manner, which allows great flexibility in mixing colors and attaining soft edges, fostering a fresh, spontaneous approach to painting. For his exhibition at Susan Calloway Fine Arts, Naylor delves into modern day “café society”. In Parisian life in the late 18th and early 19th century, cafés were places of companionship as well as intellectual discourse, and often enough, just frivolous enjoyment. Though we don’t hear the term “café society” often now, the concept and its lifestyle are very much alive today. This exhibition explores the café as a gathering place for people of all ages and walks of life to break bread peacefully together, to enjoy the camaraderie, as well as that extra cup of coffee.
I work “alla prima,” usually beginning with a warm-tone underpainting and completing a painting in one session. Others are done as a part of a group of paintings done together over a period of weeks. I am interested in the effects of light and shadow as well as warm and cool colors. I am also intrigued by the interplay between the landscape and its human inhabitants. I paint expressively and decisively, both in the studio and en plein air. I am especially drawn to scenes of human activity, so many of my paintings involve figures in the context of a landscape.