Ever since Mark Waller was a kid, he’s been intrigued and uplifted by simple, natural experiences. He would lose himself for hours in the bush behind his house looking at nature, and this inevitably spilled over into class. Mark used to sit and draw pictures of waves instead of doing schoolwork – it was inevitable that he started painting.
Still to this day, some 45 years later, he is utterly mesmerised and curious about our planet and its magic. For him, the experience of painting it, while being challenging at times, has also been a philosophy that has got him through some of the tougher times that life has thrown at him.
Mark truly believes that if more of us took more time to sit in nature, and observe what at first seems to be so simple, we would discover that it is actually incredibly nuanced, layered and connected.
We are not separate from this planet.
Ultimately, that’s what Mark’s paintings are about. A whole painting can emerge because he likes the way the light bounces back off the sand onto the underside of a branch – or that gold film of light across the top of a cloud – often everything else around it is just context.
It’s those simple, glorious, transformative opportunities to just be.
It seems to him, paradoxically, that really focussing on some of these simple moments, and of the miraculousness of our natural world, is actually incredibly expansive. It can give us an altered perspective, a chance to step outside of problems that can seem insurmountable.
When Mark was faced with a potentially terminal prognosis a few years ago, being able to sit in nature and enjoy the “small things”, was a strategy which softened the trauma of the experience, and in some ways made it actually beautiful.
His illness reconnected him to his paintings and his painting processes in a way he couldn’t have imagined. He discovered the truth about connection and now his pictures are almost reverent celebrations of life.
Mark Waller primarily paints with acrylics, loving the immediacy and vibrancy of this medium. Despite the realism and detail in his paintings, he’s actually quite vigorous with the application. He’s quite spontaneous and impulsive, often throwing all carefully laid plans out the window. As in the real world, there is so much light bouncing around, often unexpectedly, and he uses that as a tool to create as much depth and luminosity as he possibly can.
Most of Mark’s paintings have impasto gel brushed over each important layer, and then glazes and added colours are used over these layers. He likes to let light into the painting to bounce back through layers of thin colour to the viewer’s eye. Often for Mark, the surface is almost as important as the original image, and looking back into the depths of the painting through all those layers is exciting.
Another thing Mark is incredibly passionate about, is sharing his worldly (and painting (discoveries) with others. Whether you like it or not :D
To this end he has built a tutorial website focussing solely on tips, techniques and tutorials to help improve your painting processes. You can find many hundreds of pages of free info here.
He also has a popular a Youtube channel right here where you can see techniques first hand, and as an added bonus get to experience his dress sense, scruffy head, and wonderful sense of humour.
Watch Mark Waller’s tutorial here:
You can contact Mark Waller about his art tips or art techniques directly via his website at markwaller.com.au
To watch Mark’s original episode on Colour In Your Life, click here.