09 April 2011

Mark Rodda, Brunswick, Melbourne

Jake Walker -  You are no longer working in the garden studio and I'll come and visit the new one but I thought these pictures would be a great way to start this blog. How long did you work in the Weston St garden?

Mark Rodda - I was in the garden maybe for a year or a year and a half. It was at a time when I didn't paint as much as I usually do. Video works were my main focus around those couple of years. 

JW - That's a fair while, you must have been at the mercy of the elements. What were the pros/cons of working outdoors?

MR -
Great light (when the suns up),
well ventilated,
bird sounds,
free and easy vibe when the going's good

rain or strong wind means no painting
cold in winter,
a bit of packing and unpacking before and after,
very hard to work at night, I think i did it once,
dust and insects on wet paint esp when windy,
often the garden was more interesting than my paintings

JW - Sounds like you experienced the trials and joy of plein air painting without actually working from life. Did you use the plants in the garden as references for what are essentially fantasy landscapes?

MR - That's right, I think I would have much rather been doing the classic plein air schtick. I was just trying to save money really, not wanting to pay more rent. An obvious solution really, build a structurally unsound bivouac.  The garden was and always is a reference for me but usually in the planning stages, my brain needs to be in a tunnel vision mode when I paint so I tried not to think of my surrounding when I actually had a brush in my hand.

JW - Well for whatever reason you were working there, I think the garden has crept into your work in a very good way. I am looking forward to catching up with your new work in your current weather sealed space.

MR -  Yes I'm in some sort of palace now, I''ve gotten pretty soft, you know my current studio even has a door!