Artist to the Royals: StFX Fine Art faculty member Bill Rogers chosen as Official Tour Artist for recent Royal Tour of Canada

Thursday, June 5, 2014 at 8:53 am
Bill Rogers is seen painting in Charlottetown as part of the Royal Tour of Canada

StFX Fine Art faculty member Bill Rogers kept some very Royal company recently when he was selected to serve as Official Tour Artist for the 2014 Royal Tour of Canada by HRH Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.

Mr. Rogers was selected by Prince Charles and travelled with the tour to Halifax, Pictou, Charlottetown, and Winnipeg from May 18-21, 2014.

“It was the experience of a lifetime,” he says.

“The job of the tour artist is to record the tour through the eyes of an artist, a practice Prince Charles started in the mid-1980s for many of his tours. He pays the expenses for the tour artist personally, making it even more special. Artwork developed from the experience will be completed over the coming weeks and presented to HRH for selections to his collection.”

Hiring a tour artist is a practice apparently started by Prince Charles’ great, great grandmother Queen Victoria, Mr. Rogers says.

“As an engaged Patron of the Arts and a keen amateur watercolourist himself, His Royal Highness likes to create a record of a tour that goes beyond the limitations of photography,” he says.

“On this recent tour of Canada, HRH decided to select his tour artist from the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour (CSPWC), of which he is an honorary member, and selected myself from a number of the elected members after reviewing their work.

“As tour artist, I became a part of the Royal staff with identification and this enabled me to travel with the Royal party, stay in the various hotels, and travel in motorcades and on flights throughout the tour. The whole experience was very special and enjoyable and I was extremely honoured to be chosen for this role. I now have to complete the artwork started on the tour, which was a fast-paced whirlwind type of event, and send the work to HRH for his perusal and selection of works for his collection.”

Mr. Rogers says there were no limitations or instructions on what to paint, but that Prince Charles did tell him to ‘paint what you like.’

“The only part of the tour that was challenging was the fast pace and short engagements. I did get out early on some occasions and stayed over in Winnipeg to complete some work as well. However, three days is short so I will spend a number of weeks working on these paintings as well as creating other work from my reference sketches and photographs.”