Rod Willis was born in 1969. He grew up in the carpet town of Kidderminster, which borders some of the most stunning countryside in Britain. It was these areas of rural Worcestershire and Shropshire and across into Wales that triggered his passion for landscape.
Rod showed early promise as an artist but did not pursue this path with his education. He left Manchester University in 1992 with a degree in Social Science and Scientific History and paid off his student debt with a series of paintings he completed between his studies. He immediately set out on a career as an artist, spending these early years teaching himself whilst trying to earn a living from his work. Having lived in Nottingham and Devon (the south west was a constant draw) he eventually moved back to Worcestershire in 1995.
During this time, Rod exhibited in various galleries throughout Worcestershire, Shropshire, Gloucestershire, Devon and Cornwall before opening up his own studio gallery in the rural village of Mamble in 1999. This proved very successful; he sold all his own work and completed many private and corporate commissions, leading him to move on into studio and gallery premises in the World Heritage site of Ironbridge. Here his progress was checked somewhat by a series of debilitating back problems which forced him to close the gallery and virtually stop working altogether.
He has now recovered and, with a young family behind him, he has a renewed impetus for his work . He now works from his home studio in Broseley Wood.
The basis of Rod Willis' artwork has always been his intuitive feel for light, atmosphere and mood, coupled with a natural eye for composition. Whether at first light when low lying mists fill the hollows and valleys before being burnt away, or later in the day when the last embers disappear westward, these are the times which Rod has captured in many of his paintings.
Rod works in two mediums. his watercolours display a subtlety and assured lightness of touch which has proved ideal for capturing translucent light, where often the detail in the painting is conveyed by the merest hint or suggestion.
Rod uses the quality of oil paint to bring a different range of depth and colour into his paintings. His mastery of the medium allow him to capture ephemeral effects such as flickering sunlit reflections on water, or the fierce colours of a sunset and make them appear to burn out of the canvas.