Salem, IL, USA
Chris Roberts lives, works, and plays out of the southern Illinois town of Salem. His journey to watercolor painting was inspired by the popular PBS watercolor shows and workshops of Bob Fagan in the mid-90s. By the year 2000 Chris had his first website up and running, and is now gaining national recognition for his own work.
Preferring to work in plein air, Chris completes his field paintings in 2-3 hour sessions. Before beginning a painting he’ll take time to explore, look, and document the subject, getting a feel for the place he is about to translate in paint. The photos, videos, and sketches made before and during painting trips serve as reminders for future paintings as well as a chronicle of his process.
When painting, he has trained himself to focus on the story and not on creating fine art. He considers himself “an outsider and his own worse critic,” but his paintings are some mighty fine art.
Chris’ landscapes document the wonderful places hidden in plain sight, places you may walk or drive by without a second thought. Beautiful vignettes of everyday Americana are brought to life in his own playful and exuberantly skilled manner to tell their stories. His paintings can absorb him as he gives voice to the scenes that grab his attention, and he often gets lost in the process until that final stroke is made.
“…painting a picture, at least for me because I paint places, is about discovery. I think as adults, we get so hurried trying to go from point A to point B, we don’t notice things that we’re passing every day. We stop discovering places, we stop noticing places. In order to paint a place you have to go there, you have to visit the place, you have to get to know the place, you have to understand how it’s put together. So, painting a picture invites you to, I guess, come back to the childhood joy of discovery.”
—Chris Roberts, from his “Why Paint a Picture?” DVD