As a young girl growing up in Portland, Clover Rose remembers sketching flowers, fancy lettering, and other doodles on her grandmother’s chalkboard, carefully crafting dusty figures on the slate surface. The board hung on her grandmother’s wall for more than 50 years, Rose says, and it always served as a highlight of her visit
A nurse by profession, Rose never imagined that her artwork would grace the breweries of Eugene. It all started in 2013, when she began working a few shifts at Oakshire’s public house and was asked to update the chalkboard featuring their weekly tap list.
“Immediately, I just thought, ‘Oh my gosh—I love doing this,’” she says, describing how she quickly fell for the art form after that first experience.
From Oakshire and Viking Braggot to Claim 52 and ColdFire Brewing Company, Rose’s eye-catching chalk art lends a charming authenticity and continuity to brew houses and pubs all over town. Her use of bright colors and her stunning attention to detail bring each beer to life.
Rose looks like a work of art herself, with fresh flowers tucked into her red hair and purple eyeshadow masterfully painted across her lids. She has a modest attitude toward her craft. She’s never taken any art lessons outside of high school, and she chalks mostly for the fun of it, often working for barter.
“The thing I love about chalk is that I can use my fingers to smudge it, and it blends well,” she says. “It just feels really good to use it.”
When Rose first started chalking, she updated Oakshire’s board weekly, and soon others took notice. She began doing chalk art for weddings and other businesses. At Viking Braggot’s tasting room in west Eugene, a permanent chalk installment of hers features bold Viking ships sailing on rough seas, and in GloryBee’s factory store on Airport Road, Rose created charismatic chalk sketches of honeybees for GloryBee’s Save the Bee campaign.
While some of her work has been preserved for permanent viewing, many of her drawings get wiped clean and written over. It’s a feature of chalk that Rose finds inspiring.
“It’s kind of renewing, actually,” she says. “I say goodbye to it, and it’s a little bit sad, because I put my heart and soul into this and now I’m wiping it clean. But then I have a whole new canvas, and I can draw whatever I want.”
Rose also maintains a chalkboard at Cascade Manor, where she works as a nurse. The residents love it, she says, and she appreciates the opportunity to blend her artwork with her chosen profession.
She started out using Crayola chalk to make her drawings, but after a while, she says, she switched to chalk pastels for their “bold and bright colors.” For now, Rose plans to stick with chalkboards as her medium, although she loves sidewalk chalk shows and attends them every year.
“I enjoy going because I love to see everybody else’s art, and I would love to do it someday, but I’m fair-skinned, and the heat keeps me away,” she laughs.
Rose’ next big project will take place at ColdFire Brewing’s tasting room—on a giant board refurbished from Goodwill and painted over with chalkboard paint. She envisions the board featuring ColdFire’s name in big letters with artwork surrounding it, placed on the far side of the room to welcome visitors coming in through the back.
And in her personal life, her family’s legacy of chalking lives on. Shortly before her grandmother passed away, Rose says, “she presented me with the chalkboard that was in her house for more than 50 years. She said that I, out of all the grandkids, needed to have it.”
The board now hangs in Rose’s house, and her kids draw on it, just as she did when she was a girl.
“It’s pretty special,” she says with a smile.
Find Clovie Does Chalk on Facebook.