BY NICK PEARCE
Rodger McPhail is a world-famous British painter, best known for his detailed wildlife paintings of sporting fowl, fish, and dogs. After studying at both Liverpool and Coventry Art Colleges, he achieved the rare distinction of having a painting published on the front cover of The Shooting Times at the age of just 19. With numerous exhibitions at The Rountree Tryon Gallery and many illustrated books to his name, Rodger is recognised by many of his peers and many collectors as the finest wildlife artist in Britain. Rodger is also known for producing the iconic label image for Famous Grouse Scotch whisky.
Rodger’s versatility is truly remarkable – equally at home in watercolours and oils, he is a master of detail without being a slave to it, as his remarkably fluid and evocative sketches and caricatures demonstrate. A keen naturalist, Rodger has spent countless hours tracking and observing his subjects, and this first-hand knowledge is immediately evident in his work – work that has pride of place in some of the most significant private and public collections around the world.
This book ‘An Artist by Nature’ is Rodger McPhail’s retrospective collection of his most accomplished paintings and portraits of the last 20 years. As a keen naturalist who has spent countless hours tracking and observing his wildlife subjects, Rodger has selected these works on the basis that they truly capture his fondness and enthusiasm for the natural world.
If like me you need reading glasses, you’ll be surprised on opening this book without them that the images are not photographs. The detail is stunning. With an extraordinary versatility, Rodger is equally at home in watercolours as he is in oils — a master of the finest detail, his remarkably fluid and evocative paintings pay homage to his impressive and multifaceted career.
Split into various sections – the largest ‘Hunting, Shooting, Fishing’ and ‘Garden Birds’ – the book contains the beauty of nature for everyone’s tastes. There are even paintings of a Wessex helicopter, one of Buckingham Palace and a few cartoons included.
This sumptuous, hardbound coffee table book seeks to shed a light on how his genius works, and Rodger has concluded the book with a chapter that addresses the questions he’s most frequently asked, such as how long it takes him to paint an average picture, or whether he can only paint when the mood strikes — featured alongside plenty of other stories about his life and his art.
Why is Rodger appreciated and sought after from all corners of the globe? This book highlights why.
Rodger McPhail’s ‘An Artist by Nature’ is published by Quiller and is available here.