Brendon Darby makes rain while the sun shines for Sunshower exhibition

Brendon Darby. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d446957
Brendon Darby. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d446957

A DESIRE to paint landscapes under a sunshower in Perth�s climate led North Perth artist Brendon Darby to think outside the square.

�Trying to get rain and sun performing in the right time and place is almost impossible,� he said.

�So I decided to work a way around this and build a rain machine.

�I take with me a sheet of glass in a frame to a particular landscape I want to paint, and set it up on easels and spray it, creating a wet window wherever I need it to be.

�I can vary the strength or weight of the rain to whatever is appropriate; some may think that it�s cheating but I can see very little alternative to finding sunshowers wherever you want.�

The rain machine is a simplified version of one the artist previously made on his van that involved pumps and reticulation pipes to view urban cityscapes through his window.

Darby has taken his streamlined rain machine to Hyde Park, Kings Park and South West locations including Blackwood River and Ferguson Valley to create 10 large-scale oils on canvas works for exhibition, Sunshower at Linton and Kay Galleries Perth until December 18.

�I happened to be driving by Hyde Park one day and thought it was a fantastic location with the lakes, variety of trees and flowers and with the light on those magnificent Moreton Bay figs,� he said.

�And I thought wildflowers through a sunshower at Kings Park would be nice.�

Once at a suitable location, he takes a photo through the glass and works from it in his studio.

�I do get some very strange looks when I have my gear set up in parks,� Darby said.

�So to sit there and do the painting, which would take a few days, would be almost impossible on location.�

Darby said he was inspired while observing landscapes through window condensation on a trip to the Hawkesbury River in New South Wales one winter many years ago.

He then realised water on the outside of a window was even more interesting, distorting the landscape image through little prisms into an abstract-looking painting.

�I�m a big fan of abstraction but I battle to get to abstraction without taking a journey to explain it, which is really a contradiction in terms,� Darby said.

�Pure abstraction should have no reference but I may be a little bit slow and need a journey to get to abstraction; this helps.�