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Asphalt Roofing Shingles
by Dr. Oneida Cramer

Prestique gallery collection by artist/illustrator, Bart Forbes is a new line of laminated roofing shingles that ushers Elk Corporation of America into the realm of namedropping trendsetters?? la haute home couture.

Forbes is renown for his sports paintings, especially with the Professional Golf Association and Senior?s tournaments. He?s also designed more than 20 commemorative postage stamps for the U.S. Postal Service. The Korean Olympic committee selected Forbes as the Official Artist for the Seoul Olympics in 1988, and his paintings from that event now hang in the Olympic Museum in Seoul. Since then, Forbes has painted the official posters for the Boston Marathon, The Americas Cup, Indianapolis 500 and the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated and TIME, and he has painted for Exxon, Pepsi-Cola, ABC-TV, Eastman Kodak, General Electric, Lockhead, American Airlines, and the National Football League. Right now, he?s working for Arnold Palmer?quite an accomplishment for this long-time Dallas resident since graduating from art school in the mid 1960?s.

?About two years ago, I finally reached the point where I wanted to take some time and do paintings that were really not commissioned paintings, but were just myself,? Forbes said. ?I started doing landscapes and still life scenes. I?ve done two shows of them, and they were very well received and successful?sold almost everything I did. So, now I?m at a crossroads.?

One day last spring, Forbes received a phone call from Jim Russell, representing Elk Premium Roofing and their new line of shingles. The idea was to take a little different than the normal marketing direction that tends to be overall quality of the product durability. The new focus, in this case, was to be on the aesthetics.

?They showed me their prototypes of shingles and asked if I would help them narrow down the color range and talk about how we might translate that with art,? Forbes said. ?That was an interesting idea and something I was fascinated with and I could do it.?

Prestique Plus is Elk Roofing?s top of the line laminated fiberglass roof shingle, according to Elk Roofing Marketing Manager, Mike McLintock. This line has the longest warranty, the thickest shingles with the most weight, and the highest wind warranty. Prestique shingles also have a ?High Definition Look,? which comes about because of the way of applying the color granules to the shingle to give them gradation in color intensity from dark to light on the back part of the surface. In addition, the top layer of the shingle forms a tab, also varying in color intensity, which sets on top of an adjacent shingle. So, when sunlight hits the roofing, the natural throw of shadows creates a ?High Definition Look? over the tiles, (By the way, because adjacent tiles actually form two layers, they are said to be laminated together.)

Since Prestique shingles first came on the market more than 15 years ago, Elk Roofing has developed seven colors. Weatherwood, a gray/brown, is the most popular?it?s even required by the covenants of some neighborhoods. Sablewood is a dark gray mixture of black and gray, and Shakewood creates a new wood look in tan/yellow. Antique slate is a green/gray slate color; Barkwood has a reddish/brown reminiscence of partially aged wood. Hickory is a mix of brown, orange, and black. And Forest Green is a basic dark green developed about five years ago.

?It?s a pretty good pallet to work from if you?re a home owner,? McLintock said. ?Much of it is the earth tone range.? So, Elk Roofing decided that it was natural to take the next step?for someone in the roofing industry to tie in with a designer label on the product. And they felt that an artist the caliber of Forbes was the best opinion.

?We showed him a whole variety of colors that we had worked on with our color expert (Pat Verlodt),? McLintock said. ?So, we asked him his opinion on all the colors that we had. And we narrowed it down to three, based on his feel for color, aesthetics involved and so forth.?

?I?d suggested to them, although I?d done a wide variety of subject matter over the years, I thought that landscape, somewhat abstract in nature, but certainly readable as landscape might fit in very well,? Forbes said. ?So what we ended up doing were four paintings?one that represented the whole Prestique line and three paintings that represented single color. And we collaborated on the names for the three colors.?

The original oils on textured board now hang in the Dallas corporate offices. But their likeness can be obtained in the promotional packet?each tile represented by an illustration, and all the information encased in the landscape designed cover folder. The colors include Weathered sage, a warm khaki gray reminiscent of the sun-blistered mud that lies in the dry lakebed of Laguna Diablo on the Baja peninsula. Sienna sunset blends in the look of terra cotta tile with the orange and brown glow of a setting sunset. The third color, balsam forest, comes from the geographical shadows that a rugged landscape casts over the trees in the evening.

?There are two audiences, here?the builder, who has his own feel for colors, and homeowners,? McLintock said. ?One of the reasons why roofing has become so much more important in the last 15-20 years is because of the pitch in the scale?roofs have become so much more visible. We went through periods in the 60?s and even in the 70?s, when homes had less roof showing.? Today, roofing is a major part of the exterior design with all kinds of angles and nooks.

?I?m a painter, and I look at color,? Forbes said. ?When I drive around the streets, I see an awful lot of houses that could be really attractive with the right color combination. Many people just simply don?t trust their own tastes or are just timid about it. So, they tend to paint their houses and select shingles in a monochromatic way. That?s always bothered me.

I think it becomes fairly sophisticated to work with color that?s going to be a lasting color. It?s not just what the materials are?but how they look?what?s the color range they take on? It can hurt a house. But it can enhance it, as well.?

-by Dr. Oneida Cramer
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