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TODAY’S PHOTOGRAPH: Roger Smith’s portrait of Jerry Brown, California’s recent governor.

February 20, 2020

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Roger Smith’s portrait of Jerry Brown, California’s recent governor.

Roget would like to bring it to Jerry’s attention. If anyone has any idea how he can do this, please let me know.

Roger also is the artist who produced the painting behind the bar in Oakland’s Jack London Square’s “ Fat Lady Restaurant.” The Restaurant’s brochure explains the genesis of the name and the painting:

“Why the Fat Lady? People always ask, “How did the Fat Lady get its name?” Well, there are two stories. Fact and legend. Fact has it that when Louis Shaterian owned the original Overland House, a superior court judge told him about a nude painting his son had painted of a pleasingly plump lady.
This aroused Lou’s curiosity. He was taken to view the painting and upon seeing it, he decided it was definitely unique but he wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. The judge suggested it should hang in the new restaurant Lou and his wife, Patricia, were about to open and thus became the namesake of the Fat Lady Bar and Restaurant. Now maybe this story is too mundane so we’ve created a legend. Factual history has it that the Fat Lady building (built in 1884) was once a house of ill repute and who could have been its madame? Our very own Fat Lady, of course! Rumors also say that Jack London slept here. Considering he lived within walking distance, maybe . . . just maybe he did know the infamous Fat Lady. We’ll let you decide.”

Roger also painted the portrait of the Yeti that hangs in The Yeti restaurant in Davis.

Roger is an accomplished artist, set designer, and opera singer. Now, because he suffers from macular degeneration, he can no longer paint. Recently I visited him at his home in Lakeport.  He showed me a number of paintings that he had previously done. They ranged in style from photorealism to modern impressionism. Of the latter, he favored Cezanne-like muted hues with a strong dash of red or another vibrant color.

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His set design pieces were quite dramatic and fascinating. Here is one that he painted for the opera Aida performed in Sacramento.

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