Willie Rodger studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1948-52, and was a school art teacher until 1987 when he resigned to concentrate on his career as an artist.
Rodger worked in a variety of media in a career which saw him design 11 stained glass windows (working collaboratively with John K Clark), a Scottish Post Office Aerogramme, a set of postage stamps for Scottish Devolution, the award-winning Scottish Historical Playing Cards (for the late Angus Ogilvy of The Stirling Gallery), book jackets and record sleeves, letterheads, logos and alphabets.
A gifted draughtsman, his drawing ability was already recognised whilst a student, and he always had a small sketchbook and a pen to hand. Having been dissuaded from painting whilst at Art School, he took it up several decades later after the late Angus McAuley of the Stenton Gallery prompted him to try his hand, and offered him a solo exhibition by way of encouragement.
It was as a relief printmaker, working most usually in lino and wood, that Rodger established himself. His status as one of Scotland’s pre-eminent printmakers was recognised by his peers in 1989 when he became the first person elected an Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy in the category of Printmaker.
During his long life he built a small collection of works by fellow artists. These included artists whom he knew personally; others, like Bawden, whom he regarded as personal heroes, and others for whom he was the source of inspiration. His acquisitions reflected places he knew, or addressed gardening and music, pastimes which filled his time away from family and art. Above all he knew what he liked, and acquired to reflect this, either by gift or exchange, or from exhibitions, dealers, or auction sales.