Roberta Jarvis‘ art mediums and ideas have varied over the years. Nothing unusual there. Lately, however, her experiments are more radical with a few new and exciting works. In a recent Thanksgiving trip to New England, I got together with her and husband Bob Jarvis. She and Bob have been living Monson, Maine (shown), pop. 686, deep in the Moosehead Lakes Region for about 20 years. Bob is a Bible teacher and former pastor of Cape Ann Bible Church, Gloucester, Massachusetts. He is currently preaching at Greenville Church of the Open Bible, Greenville, Maine.
Roberta has served as pastor’s wife and music support at these churches, but is lately finding more time to experiment with her artwork which seems to have made a maturity leap over the past couple years. In particular, Roberta is using spatial techniques learned long ago from her art school days, specifically the use of fewer objects and incorporating more non-objective elements. This gives her art a greater sense of freedom and a bright, new color expression, breaking aways from darker views. Roberta is a BFA graduate of the Montserrat College of Art, Beverly, Massachusetts, and formally trained for six years in art history, drawing, painting, graphic design, illustration, realism, and non-objective art techniques.
Artimusi. How would you describe the artwork you do?
Roberta. If one needs a word—Expressionist Landscapes. Tree, branches and patterns, mainly because I live in the woods. Often familiar shapes—people, animals, food.
Artimusi. What tools do you use in your art from concept to finish?
Roberta. Paint brush, canvas or wood, Masonite, paper, wool, ink, watercolor, casein, oils, and all the different mediums that go with these products. I may draw an idea for a painting on anything from an index card to a piece of Strathmore.
A frame finishes the painting. I’ve learned to get any painting, that I’d hang in my own home, professionally framed. If I could afford a fancy frame, I’d get one. I’ve undersold many a painting because of cheap frames. It’s not worth it now. I’ve a lot of unfinished pieces and a lot on paper.
Artimusi. Who or what helped you the most to get to this point in your career?
Roberta. My son, Allan, daughter Rebecca, and husband, Bob. Their encouragement kept and still keeps me from giving up.
Artimusi. Where do you do your artwork?
Roberta. In my home studio. I typically use watercolors and inks in winter; in warmer weather, oils and/or acrylics.
Artimusi. On average, do you create art daily, weekly, monthly?
Roberta. In my senior years, I create art daily.
Artimusi. Do you sell your artwork?
Artimusi. How many pieces would you estimate have sold over the past five or ten years?
Roberta. I’ve sold hundreds of artworks and have had repeat customers/clients.
Artimusi. What is the highest-priced item sold?
Roberta. I sold a personal painting to renowned collector/author, Jerry Weist. The painting was mixed media on student-grade Strathmore paper, 22”x28,” framed for $1200.00.
Artimusi. Do you use a website to display your work, such as Zhibit, WordPress, or Facebook?
Roberta. Occasionally I will post a new work on Facebook.
Artimusi. Are you a member of any art associations?
Roberta. Not at this time.
Artimusi. Are you also a musician?
Roberta. I sing and play a 12-string guitar. If the mood and songs are right, I sometimes switch off to the harmonica.
Artimusi. How would you characterize your music?
Roberta. Most would say folk music. I like most any music if it’s simple, stirring, and singable, and have words that inspire me.
Artimusi. Do you play anywhere?
Roberta. Yes. My primary and favorite place to play is church since all my motivation for even learning the guitar or raising my voice in private or public was in my direct response to God in worship.
Outside of the church, I participate with small groups of acoustic musicians in jam sessions. Out of these sessions, small groups spin off to a fair, fundraiser, funeral.
Artimusi. What are your future, long-term plans?
Roberta. Survival. It stands to reason that God has given us life, allowing ways for us all to survive this life in countless measures.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to Roberta and Bob in 2021!
From now through February 2021, you can catch Bob Sunday mornings via Facebook Live. Just search and follow services at Church of the Open Bible, Greenville, Maine. You might hear Roberta singing, too. For art, music, and preaching inquiries, call (207) 997-3244.