Painting Iceland

Icelandic View by Judy DarleyIf you know me, or if you’re a regular visit to SkyLightRain.com, you’re probably aware that my obsession with art is growing increasingly consuming. I’ve even begun creating artworks of my own, attempting to capture my responses to the views around me.

My trip to Iceland earlier this month was particularly rich in visual fuel – snow, skies, rocks and unfamiliar textures abounded. I came home with a headful of impressions, and rather than simply translate these into words, as I usually do, I have made efforts to churn some of it out in the form of art.

After carrying out a few sketches, and watching a wonderful ‘wet-on-wet’ Windsor & Newton watercolour masterclass, this is what I came up with.

It’s not quite what I see in my head, but it’s far closer than I expected to get, which makes me very happy.

Capturing moods with Rod Craig

Here Comes The Sun cr Rod Craig

Here Comes The Sun © Rod Craig

Rod Craig’s landscapes are imbued with atmosphere so that even the most tranquil scene has a sense of brooding energy about it. Dawn light slants through winter trees, clouds and rain streak the sky, figures stride, intent on their destination. Rod’s artwork offers an examination both of the world and our place in it, and I find it really beautiful.

The End of Love cr Rod Craig

The End of Love © Rod Craig

Rod can’t recall a time when art wasn’t his main preoccupation. “I was always drawing as a child, right through my school days until I attended Bristol College of Art and Design. From that point on art and design has been my life and at no stage have I considered any alternative career!”

Following more than 30 years running a successful graphic design company, Rod has been painting full time for the last five year.

Connemara Bucks cr Rod Craig

Connemara Bucks © Rod Craig

“Most of my work is landscape based and produced from memories,” he says. “Some places I’ve visited have left me with such strong visual images in my head that I will revisit the subject many times. This was the case with the many paintings I’ve done inspired by a visit to Connemara on the west coast of Ireland, and the urban landscapes produced after an extended stay in New York.”

Madrid Blue cr Rod Craig

Madrid Blue © Rod Craig

Rod occasionally use a photographic reference as the starting point for the painting “but the final image will usually change dramatically as it develops.”

Rod explains that rather than aiming to produce a ‘likeness’, he’s interested in “capturing the emotions triggered by a place. I love the drama of a storm or the suggestion of birds across the night sky. Watercolour is a fantastic medium for this style of painting with its fluidity and spontaneity. It’s a very exciting way of exploring visual techniques and feelings.”

Chris Island Paradise cr Rod Craig

Chris Island Paradise © Rod Craig

Rod recognises how lucky he is to be able to spend his days doing what he loves. “It’s a real privilege. I believe that if I paint what moves me, I will produce better, more honest work. I can’t imagine a more fulfilling way of spending my time than travelling to beautiful places, allowing them to fire my imagination and exhibiting the finished results!”

Obscured by Clouds cr Rod Craig

Obscured by Clouds © Rod Craig

You can see more of Rod’s work at The Paragon Gallery in Cheltenham, and at two group exhibitions coming up in November 2015: ‘A Celebration of Trees’ at Real Wood Gallery, Woodstock, and ‘Winter Landcapes’ at O3 Gallery, Oxford.

Visit Rod’s website at www.rodcraig.com and follow him on Twitter @rodcraigartist.

Know an artist you’d like to see showcased on SkyLightRain.com? Give me a shout at judy(at)socketcreative.com.