Alan's Rose of Corn

by Careen Stoll

I’ll let Alan Rose tell you about his youngest years of school:

Alan Rose remembers his Tin School
Alan Rose remembers his Tin School

Then as now, he describes his sense of time as slower than that of others; he was chided as a boy for dilly-dallying, but I venture to say that perhaps it is this slow contemplation that yields the quirky humor inherent to his paintings. He says that he wants to create “complicated pieces that reveal themselves over time”, such as “So Much in Common”, below.

So Much In Common by Alan Rose ; Acrylic on canvas,  30" x 20"
So Much In Common by Alan Rose ; Acrylic on canvas, 30" x 20"

Rose joined the Navy after high school as a way of finding adventure and “wisdom” about the logistics of life that he didn’t necessarily have opportunity to learn at home.   He spent three years as a radar-man off the coast of Vietnam and then used funds provided by the GI Bill to enroll at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts with a major in cartooning.  His mother had been artistic, and he had always enjoyed drawing.  After two years, he transferred to the Art Institute within the fine arts department, as it was more in line with his interests.  Following his degree, he took various desk jobs managing inventory in Denver and Tucson where he met his wife Kathy.  They moved to Eugene and then Kirkland, WA where Rose tried to get into freelance illustration or art therapy.  Instead, he ended up doing graphic design at a company in Portland for more than 17 years.  Four years ago he retired and took up painting full time.

Midlife Contrail by Alan Rose ; Acrylic on canvas,  20" x 24"
Midlife Contrail by Alan Rose ; Acrylic on canvas, 20" x 24"

Using his skill with graphic layout on the computer, Rose transfers his sketches there and develops them into a final composition complete with color selections before moving onto the canvas.  He paints in several thin layers of acrylic, so he finds that working out all the details on the computer saves him plenty of time should he change his mind about something mid-way.  As it is, it takes him about a month to complete a painting.

Billie, an animation, is an example of how Rose’ “oddball” humor.  And here is another longer piece from his archives on Three Warnings by Alan Rose.

When I asked Kathy what her favorite painting is, she gestured to the one near their dining room table.  It is about ten years old, and struck me in how it contained the building blocks of his subsequent work as one might assume, but had a completely different feel.

Confluence by Alan Rose, his wife's favorite.
Confluence by Alan Rose, his wife's favorite.

Alan Rose’s studio is number 66 on the Portland Open Studios Tour this year.  Check out for a greater sampling of his work.  His work is on exhibit at the 12×16 Gallery in Sellwood through September.  Click the link for location and info.