Badcock captivated by back country beauty
Seldom-seen scenes of back-country Marlborough fill the private gallery of Blenheim artist Brian Badcock for his new exhibition, Keeping it Local.
It opens on Friday and the 50 oil paintings crammed on to the Leitrim St gallery walls are nearly all hill-country scenes in the Waihopai Valley. After gaining permission from farmer Geoff Evans, Badcock made numerous painting trips to Stronvar and Glazebrook stations with his easel and paints. He kept a wary look-out for the "wild cows" the farmer warned him about, though.
As it happens, no angry bovines were seen, but Badcock did reunite a lost kid goat with its family, and each day he wore a yellow fluorescent jacket so he wouldn't be mistaken for wild game by any roaming hunters.
Fear, awe and happiness are among the emotions that emerge in the back country and Badcock tries to express them when he paints.
"I just think it's amazing. I [know] I am really blessed to be in that place and if I can capture the beauty of something, I'm really happy. I always think you can get more in a painting than you can in a photograph."
Portraying moods with paint on canvas takes a little practice, Badcock notes, and he compares the act with playing a guitar.
"At first you're thinking about where you put your fingers; then you just concentrate on what you're playing. And then the instrument just becomes a part of you; it ensnares you.
"My spirit is totally free in those [mountain] spaces; I'm there in that place and that [painting] space is where things are happening."
He hopes people viewing the works will get a sense of being in it, too. "People will hopefully appreciate how beautiful the country is, how amazing Marlborough is."
Badcock's back-country scenes are all oils, a medium he says lends a texture suiting the rugged outdoor scenes, but he intends to expand his painting repertoire with watercolour paints. "I want to up the stakes - and go bigger, go bolder."
Bigger paintings will have more impact, he says, helping viewers feel they are in the scene themselves. "If I can get the essence of what the country is really like and capture it I will be really happy."
- The Marlborough Express