Rod has been a professional artist since 1991. Born in 1969, he grew up in the carpet town of Kidderminster, and it was the surrounding rural areas of 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 1991 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. Encouraged by this, he immediately set out on a career as an artist.
Over the years, Rod has exhibited in various galleries throughout Worcestershire, Shropshire, Gloucestershire, Devon and Cornwall. In recent years he has made repeated visits to the Lake District, and now exhibits his Lakeland paintings alongside some of the finest contemporary artists working today, at Beckstones Gallery near Penrith. Rod is now based in his studio gallery at Maws in Jackfield in the World Heritage site of the Ironbridge Gorge.
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.