Visual Artist: Painting; Writer; Storyteller
“Barns represent the heart of America, and the old ones are bleeding. So many barns, so little time.” – RF Kroeger, artist and writer
Robert (RF) Kroeger is a second generation artist, though, unlike his father Francis (FA), his professional art career blossomed later in life. A hint of what was to come began at the age of four when young Robert, fascinated by his dad’s oils, mischievously opened the tubes one day and started painting on his palette while dad was away at work. After finishing the masterpiece, Robert neatly placed the tubes, still opened, and the beautiful sable-haired brushes wet with oil paint, together with the palette, back into his father’s treasured wooden art box, shut tight. A few days later, Francis, who earned his BFA from the University of Notre Dame in 1938, discovered his son’s “work.” What a bad little boy.
Though he did not immediately follow in his father’s footsteps, Robert’s career as a dentist allowed him to study color values and facial esthetic principles in smile design. Then, in the early 2000s while staying in a rural bed and breakfast in Licking County, Ohio, a lonely deteriorating barn, “Granville Gray,” called out to him. With roof sagging, boards missing, corners slightly tilted, and in obvious disrepair it captivated his eye. Suddenly a voice whispered, “Paint it and write about it.” The message was like a lightning bolt that hit him between the eyes. Almost immediately, it ignited his Ohio Barn Project.