Private Spaces | Rod Bouc

Painter escapes in rockin' carriage house
Sunday,  December 7, 2008 3:36 AM
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
<p>Left: Rod Bouc parks his paintings, not his car, in his garage.</p>
Courtney Hergesheimer | Dispatch
Left: Rod Bouc parks his paintings, not his car, in his garage.
<p>Rod Bouc gets natural light and inspiration through large windows in his garage studio.</p>
Courtney Hergesheimer | Dispatch
Rod Bouc gets natural light and inspiration through large windows in his garage studio.
<p>Bouc keeps a laptop near his other painting tools.</p>

Bouc keeps a laptop near his other painting tools.

 

Once a month, Home & Garden visits a central Ohioan's home to peek at the room most readily associated with his or her line of work or play.

 

 The pastoral paintings that Rod Bouc creates seem to flow naturally from his studio -- a converted two-car garage tucked in a charming Bexley carriage house.

But the music that the Nebraska native amps up on his compact-disc player is quite a bit different from the quiet of the wooded property.

"No one realizes the pastoral images come from me listening to Eagles of Death Metal," said Bouc, who spends his days as deputy director at the Columbus Museum of Art.

He laughed heartily.

"I've never quite quit being 20 years old."

Bouc, 58, runs the day-to-day operations, making sure that the museum's collection is cared for and presented in the best possible way, but his passion is creating art.

Even as a child growing up on a farm near Wahoo, Neb., Bouc liked to draw. He studied art in college and, afterward, began putting together a body of work that has been exhibited in many area galleries during the past two decades.

When he and his wife, Kathy Lane, bought the home three years ago, there was never a doubt that the garage would have a purpose different from its original intent.

Q: Do you ever park your cars in here?

A: No, they're just fluff anyway. (The garage) is a nice studio for painting. Two houses ago, I had a studio on the third story, the top floor, and it had a 3-by-8(-foot) skylight. That was great. But this is a close second.

Q: This place is roomy -- and you have some big windows and a heater, too.

A: We had that put in within a month after moving in. What was really nice was the previous owners had a gas line to the garage already.

Q: Do you always paint with music playing?

A: Yes. Music's critical, and I'm usually pretty hard-core, although I'm not really into metal. I like Queens of the Stone Age, Eagles of Death Metal and Hendrix.

Q: It's pretty loud.

A: I usually have it much higher. . . . It helps me get lost. I can go with the mood.

It's never too good to be too aware of your surroundings when you're trying to work. I'm trying to create as many accidents as possible and go with it.

I change clothes because I get paint on everything. The other thing I do is I paint from my laptop, and I put a plastic bag over the keyboard because I slather down.

Q: Most of your stuff is landscape, peaceful rural fields. But I see you have a few paintings that look as if they could be promotional posters for the Discovery Channel's Storm Chasers .

A: Yeah, that one is a storm that hit Kearney, Neb. And this one, I did the tornado that wiped out a town. I like doing tornadoes -- I grew up cowering in corners when tornadoes came bearing down on the farm.

When a storm would come through, we'd take out the tornado cross. You'd take out some candles and put them out next to the crucifix -- and you'd pray.

Q: You have the easel in the corner, by a window, storage shelves on the side walls and big tables in the center of the garage. You do your monotypes on the tables, right?

A: Monotypes are hard. You don't know what you're getting. I paint on a piece of Plexiglas, then take a sheet of paper that's already been soaked and run it through a press. Whatever paint comes off on the paper is your print.

It takes me back to when I first started to throw paint -- I'd use rollers, brooms, belt sanders, anything I could find. . . . I was told in school to try new materials.

Q: That was back in Nebraska, the inspiration for many of your paintings.

A: That's right. There's always some relation to earth, to landscape, in my work.

Did I ever tell you that I went to a one-room schoolhouse for elementary school? I was the only kid in my class. You can't get more individualized attention than that. I was always listening to the class ahead of me and helping the class behind me. So it was like a private education for free.

But I never took an art class in high school. Even so, when it came time to make that horrible decision on what I was going to study in college, a friend said, "Art, right?"

So the first art class I ever had was in college. I was intimidated as hell. After that, I went to graduate school with some brilliant artists.

Q: What keeps you going?

A: Well, everything in life keeps you from making art, or pursuing your passion. But something inside me makes me express myself this way. Sometimes I feel like I'm in a really productive time right now. I'm in here most every Saturday and Sunday.

I used to be in here in the evenings, too, but not so much now that I'm deputy director. I think being from a farm is a big advantage. You have to be productive, and you don't even think about it.

But even so, this to me is relaxing.

tferan@dispatch.com

"It's never too good to be too aware of your surroundings when you're trying to work."

Rod Bouc

 





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