Rod, have you always wanted to be an artist?
Always! My earliest memories are sitting on the floor with Mum who was drawing and cutting out shapes for me.
You describe your work as “perspective impressionism”; can you tell us how did you develop your style?
As a child, I used to experiment; when I found by accident that Indian Ink reacted violently with water, I created pictures by dropping Indian ink onto damp paper. Unfortunately, the stuff you buy now has no reaction. (health & safety I expect?) On early retirement 2004 ( using oil paints 50 years old and only used very occasionally), I found I had lost this sense of experimentation and painted very photographically. See my first painting enclosed of Faversham Creek. Although I had some luck selling paintings like this, I forced myself to paint in a more relaxed free-er style which has evolved to the way I paint today. Not truly impressionism, because even though I paint very quickly (2 to 3 hours per painting) I still subconsciously add more detail, thus the addition of “perspective” to my description.
In 2020 you were chosen as 1 of 3 runners up in a National Art Competition results published in the Daily Mail Weekend Magazine on 14th Nov 2020. Can you tell us more about this?
I had never entered a competition before so it was pure luck. I had recently finished ‘Scent of Peace’ when I read about the Spring competition, and, as the painting was based around Bluebells, on impulse, I “scent” this in. Excuse the pun.
How would you describe your creative process?
Instant! As soon as I put a brush to canvas I’m away. I’ve spent most of my life with this pent- up urge to create pictures. Although on reflection my working life has been mostly spent on creativity. Because of my artistic yen, I couldn’t settle down and by meeting various people I managed to have 12 entirely different jobs over a span of 23 years. In that time, I learnt every trade needed to build a house and also carried out display work in retail premises and film/photographic studios over the South of England, ending up having my own retail business, designing & fitting kitchens, bedrooms & bathrooms.
Where do you seek inspiration?
Mostly from my memories of outdoor working like farming & milk deliveries. I used to start sometimes at 3 am and very often into the evening where I experienced all the wonders of the changing light throughout the day and its effect on one’s surroundings. I still do today, I carry a small pocket camera and take shots of anything that catches my attention. I think most people miss the beauty and wonder of nature around them, I often am aware of strange looks from passers-by when photographing a certain light or reflection.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I am up anytime between 5 & 6 am and if I am not doing anything else I am painting. I am also a very keen gardener and have just created my 14th garden in my present house of 2 years.
Which artists, living or deceased most inspire/influence your work?
Early on Constable but later the impressionists, particularly Monet and Turner.
Do you like to listen to music when you create, if so what sort of music do you listen to?
I always paint to music I have no favourites and like all types from classical to Jazz and sometimes, I am so moved, there are tears running down the canvas.
If you had one piece of advice for someone seeking a career in art what would it be?
Go to college! I never look back and I have had a wonderful, varied life but I regret not being able to study art.
If you had a dinner party and could invite 3 guests, living or deceased who would they be and why?
Constable, Monet and Turner to learn how they ticked.
What does the future look like for you?
Learning to paint.