Toledo retiree finds art inspiration in local landmarkWritten by Ashley McMahon | | email@example.com
Rudolph Schroeder is living proof that it’s never too late to pursue one’s passion.
The 84-year-old turned his lifelong passion for art into a second career. Schroeder has had artwork displayed in the White House and at Ellis Island. Now, he’s hoping his rendering of a well-known Northwest Ohio bridge will generate more attention for the region.
After the end of his career as a textile engineer, Schroeder entered retirement and began focusing on his art, which before retirement had simply been a hobby.
About 30 years ago, he started drawing with pen, often rendering the tall ships he recalled from the “swashbuckling” pirate films he loved watching as a child.
His most acclaimed moment as an artist occurred in 2000 when Schroeder created a piece using his favorite technique of starting with a base of acrylic paint and finishing with details using pen and ink. The patriotic piece, titled “History and Peace in the Millennium,” shows the Statue of Liberty alongside an American flag and a tall ship.
“It did very well because it was timely and people cared. They were really drawn to it,” Schroeder said.
It received attention from around the country and was displayed in the White House during President Bill Clinton’s time in office. The former president sent Schroeder a thank you letter after receiving a signed copy.
The piece was also displayed on Liberty Island, New York, for visitors of the Statue of Liberty to view. It later received Best in Show honors at the 2000 Marine City Art Fair in Michigan.
Schroeder found new inspiration recently in the Interurban Bridge, which spans the Maumee River beside the Roche de Bout landmark in Waterville. The spot was used as a meeting place by Native American tribes in the 1700s.
According to the Ohio Historical Society, the bridge was constructed in 1908 by the National Bridge Company of Indianapolis. It’s also referred to as the Ohio Electric Railroad Bridge and was designed with steel-reinforced concrete filled with dirt and mud.
He created a rendition of the bridge using his acrylic, pen and ink technique. Now he plans to sell prints of the painting, and hopes to bring more business to local frame companies and art studios.
“A lot of artists do a picture and they put it up with a price tag,” he said. “The difference with me is I make something that is historically significant and make prints. So I not only sell my work, but I also make more business for the picture framers and the matting companies. It makes me feel good.”
Schroeder is currently selling 11-by-14-inch prints of the bridge for $30. To purchase a print, call (419) 367-1332.