Arcadio F. Rodaniche (1937-2016)
Arcadio F. Rodaniche made a life of juggling his love of art with his career as a marine biologist for the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, his country of origin. His still life paintings, landscapes, and illustrations can be found in private collections, scientific publications, foreign embassies, and corporate offices across Latin America and the US.
Rodaniche’s career with STRI in Panama spanned more than twenty years and included extended research in Australia, (Lizard Island in the Great Barrier Reef), the western Pacific (Guam, Palau, Papua, New Guinea, Truk, Pohnpei), Hawaii, the Philippines, and India. He taught himself the technique of stippling necessary to render illustrations for his own manuscripts on cephalopods (octopus, squid, cuttlefish), as well as the work of other scientists. In August of 2015, a scientific publication was released about the Larger Pacific Striped Octopus. Based on work he began in Panama in the late 1970’s, this co- authored paper describes octopus behavior so unique that it was originally dismissed in most scientific circles until finally being validated by a team of colleagues at the University of CA (Berkeley), the CA Academy of Sciences, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. The complete peer-reviewed publication is available at PLOS ONE online. Rodaniche is also featured in several BBCII and PBS science documentaries, a National Geographic article (April 2016), and many online science magazine articles.
Rodaniche was a self-taught painter, although he received some formal instruction at the University of Panama, as well as with Albert Handell in Woodstock, NY. Andrew Wyeth was an important influence, as was San Francisco painter and personal friend Max FitzPatrick. He originally began painting in oils and acrylics as a hobby in his early 20’s, but began to take himself more seriously as an artist upon winning first prize at the Xerox Concurso de Arte in Panama in 1975. Over the years he participated in numerous exhibits and juried competitions.
In 1999 Rodaniche moved with his family to central Pennsylvania, the childhood home of his wife. He found an artistic home with the local Art In Common community and served as an Artist In Residence at a local high school for a semester. He enjoyed photographing seasonal landscapes, created a lovely Japanese garden at his residence (a source for many compositions, especially his passion flower vines), and loved exploring museums and botanical gardens around the US. He never lost his passion for the ocean and continued to scuba dive at every possible opportunity.
Arcadio Rodaniche was truly a unique artist who viewed whatever his current environment happened to be through the lens of a true naturalist. He has left a legacy of beautiful marine life drawings and stunning trompe l’oeil still life compositions of everyday objects, pre-Colombian pottery, hummingbirds, and his beloved orchids. For examples of his work, visit his artist Facebook page and arcadio.rodaniche.com.