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Local artist Peter Rogers remembered as brilliant, humble


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Peter Rogers had his own path to tread, and he took it with integrity according to his long-time friend Brian Leo.

Leo, a friend of Rogers since 1967, said he met his friend when he came to build a lithograph shop in Roswell for Donald Anderson. He was to print some of Rogers’ works.

“I was immediately impressed with Peter’s integrity,” he said. “By integrity, I mean the groundedness of his aesthetic in thinking.”

Rogers, who died May 28, kept a low profile, so many who know his illustrious family have never heard of him or his work. Long before he married Carol Hurd, Rogers was a member of the Royal Society of British Artists London, England.

In a 2014 speech he gave during a 50th-anniversary celebration of his mural on Texas history, Rogers said that when he fell in love with his future wife, and she told him she came from a family of artists, he hoped they weren’t a bunch of hacks. He was as relieved to learn he was becoming a member of the Wyeth-Hurd family as they were to learn that he had studied at St. Martin’s School of Art, in London and of his membership in the Royal Society of British Artists. From the start, Rogers was a welcome addition to the Hurd family.

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Carol brought her new beau home from Spain in 1963.

“I met Peter in Porto Molina Spain,” she said. “We were introduced by friends of Peter’s, a Colombian pianist and his wife, a ballet dancer, Enrique and Lillian Arias. Peter and I fell madly in love. I went back to America with the children, and Peter eventually followed me.”

They raised Gabriela, Peter and David in the valley of San Patricio, and for a time in Santa Fe. Peter built his much-loved studio in San Patricio.

“Peter came in 1963,” Carol said. “He built the studio in San Patricio. It was based on my father’s studio with the north-facing window and the loft. We moved to Santa Fe in 1975 and returned to San Patricio in 1983. We’ve been here ever since.”

His passion was spiritual exploration, and much of his art reflects that. Known in metaphysical circles for his 12 part series The Quest, he recreated it many times over the years. But his representative works such as the aforementioned mural, or the mural of a Hondo River dam and gate valve at Texas Tech University, show that the artist was truly a master of his craft.

William Goodman, a sculptor in Tinnie, New Mexico, has known Rogers for about 50 years, and while their styles are as unique to each other as they are to the world, Goodman easily recognized his friend’s talent.

“When I first encountered his paintings of the Hondo Valley,” Goodman said, “I was blown away by them. They’re just fantastic. They’re full of detail and they’re accurate.

“He was commissioned by Robert O. Anderson, whose company had discovered oil in Prudhoe Bay Alaska, to do a summary of pieces about conditions in the Arctic and about the work being done. He didn’t use a camera. He’d set his easel up and draw pictures of the machinery in the extreme cold. He came back with the drawings and developed some large paintings.” Those works ended up in the offices of Atlantic Richfield Oil.

Rogers’ brother-in-law, Michael Hurd remembered him as a man who put his values to work.

“I enjoyed Peter,” Hurd said. “He was an interesting combination of all kinds of opposites that really made for a dynamic person. He was a cerebral painter who dwelt a lot in his mystical and spiritual references. I remember him coming out of his studio recently to go to a meeting about pollution of our streams. Not long after that he and Carol came to a meeting at the senior center to address drug problems in the valley. I thought that was a wonderful thing about Peter, to step out of the ethereal realm and into the hard knocks of life.”

Rogers once told his friend Mary Riseley that it was Carol who taught him to take joy in life.

“He told me he had been uptight and repressed before meeting Carol,” she said. “It was through his relationship with Carol and the Hurd family that he found his joie de vivre. When he met Carol she opened his heart.”

Michael told of a madcap side of his brother-in-law.

“He insisted that the faster he drove over the dirt roads and the ruts,” Hurd said, “the fewer bumps he would hit. He insisted it made for a smoother ride for the passenger and less wear on the vehicle. He drove like a four-wheeled rocket.”

While Peter Rogers was undoubtedly a genius and likely knew it, he understood that we are all in this life together and we all deserve dignity and hope.

His friends and his family remember him as a brilliant, humble, gentle, and passionate man, and they will miss him.

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