acrylic

Hot Pink Recap

Let me tell you the story of one amazing day. A lifetime ago (or a very short while, depending on your perspective), I had my very first solo art show.

I was half-assing my way through organizing the show till Tess McCann stepped in to offer her assistance. I would mark that as the most significant turning point in my art career to date (and of course, Tess is now my agent).

From there it’s been… I dunno, would it sound pretentious if I said it “a journey of self-discovery” ?

Anyway.

We’ve spent the last year and a half experimenting and learning about art shows and art marketing, and we’ve met some incredible people along the way. And all the things we’ve learned got applied to the latest extravaganza, Hot Pink .

Now, Hot Pink has its roots in two sources: a suggestion from Alex Stewart last summer that we do a pin-up girl show together, and a request from Tess the summer before for a hot pink painting of a dancer.

Everything just gelled from there. Putting this show together was almost effortless, apart from the labour in actually creating the art itself. Many people stepped in to help promote the show, offer suggestions and their encouragement, and lend a hand in many ways.

But wait . I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Let’s backtrack. Friday night, Feb. 22. Team Hot Pink gathered at imagemaker photographic studio to hang the show. I wore my toolbelt, because I’m told it makes me more popular with the ladies:

Alex brought along some stunning pieces. I’d been following their progress for months via social media, but it was my first time seeing most of them in the flesh.

(I brought along a few pieces of my own, of course.)

And in no time at all the entire show was hung, the pizza eaten, and beers drank. Waking up to sunshine the next morning was a nice omen.

And just like that, the Big Day was upon us:

You may have noticed the beautiful Hot Pink button in that last pic. It comes courtesy of Annie Friesen, the proprietor of Dottie’s Buttons . In addition to that button, Annie is now selling others that feature my artwork and Alex’s. We’re pretty pleased to have her on the team.

In addition we had a major contribution from Candice Roach’s Love Your Cake business. Another great local company run by a good friend. And her cakes are mindblowing to see (or to eat, for that matter).

My latest paintings were a hit. Several of them were sold before the show even happened. Here are the ones I’m particularly proud of:

Aside: Agent McCann and I also donated a painting to a fundraiser by our friends at the HiVE called An Evening of Debauchery . Full of inappropriate dirty jokes, politically-incorrect comedians, burlesque performers and an artist with a… unique approach to painting, the event was held to raise money for a non-profit business incubator. In the end the painting went to Nelu Oncel, who was patient enough to let us keep the painting for a few more days so it could still be in Hot Pink.

Alex and I also collaborated on two pieces, which is probably the creative highlight of my year so far. I started one piece that he finished, and vice versa. An incredible experience, and one I learned a lot from. Hopefully there’ll be more joint efforts from us in the future.

And from there, things just… rolled . Many excellent friends showed up, both old and new. These pics should give you an idea of how it went:

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At midnight we wrapped things up, exhausted. Took the party to several other locales, and in the AM we were back to tear everything down. By that afternoon you’d never know there’d even been a show.

So thanks to John Carter, Sarah Merris, Kimli Welsh, Steve Kinsey, Jeremy Ball, Amanda West, Jamie Presley and Meghan Low, Vicky Hames, Meghan Kilner, George Smeltzer and Lori Kittelberg, John Bell, John Watson, Alex Stewart, Jon Crewe, Jaime Lee Purgavie, Aimee Vuilleumier, Lyndsey McEwen, August Wiled, Chantal Michaud, everyone who wore pink to support the cause, and the incomparable Tess McCann, who once again deserves a huge round of applause for everything she’s done for me.

Photos courtesy of John Watson, Tess McCann, Alex Stewart, Heather Prost, Cathy Browne, Christy McNeil, Scott Graham, and Bret Taylor.


So it’s official now: the Christmas metalflake paintings are happening, and in a big way. I’ve been building the bases for the paintings and refining the designs over the past month.

Here you can see a few of the bases, nearly ready for the lineart that will turn them into Christmas paintings:

These are the prototypes to give you a solid idea of what the finished pieces will look like. First, the 6×6-inch paintings:

And here are the smaller, 3×4-inch paintings:

They’re coming together rather quickly now. These paintings are limited edition pieces, and we’ve already had a number of inquiries, so if you’re interested in one of these, you should probably act fast.

Here’s how it breaks down. There’ll be 16 of the 6×6-inch paintings: 5 red santas, 5 green trees, 3 blue snowflakes, and 3 blue snowmen. These will be $60 apiece (plus shipping if you’re outside the Vancouver area).

And there will be 10 of the 3×4-inch pieces: 4 blue snowflakes, 3 red santas, and 3 green trees. These are $30 each (again, plus shipping where applicable).

If you want to reserve one, please contact my agent at this address: [email protected]

I’ll also be releasing Christmas t-shirts on Thursday. And while we’re on the topic of our metalflake Christmas, I’ve still got room in my schedule if you’d like to commission a custom piece as a present for someone you love. The window of availability is narrowing rapidly, though, so if you want one in time for Christmas, please let us know ASAP.

Ho ho ho.


Thoughts on the Dino Show, and a Question.

All sorts of fun things going on here in preparation for the next art show in October. You may have already seen the t-shirts and the new calendar , but there are also 18 new metalflake paintings in the works. Right now they’re scattered all around my studio, in various states of completion.

Here’s a sneak peek:

We’ve got paintings as small as 3×4 inches, and as large as 20×20. Some will have designs based on the illustrations in my calendar, and some will have designs that are just rough concepts at the moment (hey, there’s still plenty of time). Just the other day, for example, the Agent and I were talking and she suggested doing paintings based on dinosaur fossils.

Clearly she’s a genius, because this opened up whole new areas of creativity for me. This T-Rex skull design is already on a t-shirt , but on a metalflake painting I think it’ll blow people’s minds:

I’ve also got an idea in mind that involves revamping the whole metalflake technique so it’s even more three-dimensional. But that may have to wait for another show.

There may also be some other dinosaur-related merchandise available, but that’s still top-secret for now. Mum’s the word.

While I’ve got your attention, what’s your favourite dinosaur?


Well. As I write this it’s late Monday night. It’s been a pretty mellow day – slept in late, couldn’t really get focused on anything, though I did still get a lot done. Yesterday was a hangover day, though more in the spiritual/mental sense than the physical sense.

But Saturday? Ah, Saturday. That was a fine, fine day.

As you obviously know from previous posts, Saturday was the night of my latest show, Metal Flake Remix. We had a great turnout, and I met lots of new people, which is definitely one of the best perks of being an artist. And I sold lots of art, drank some delicious bourbon, and created six new paintings:

After the show, I sat up with a handful of close friends all night talking (okay, and occasionally drinking). By Sunday afternoon it felt like the day after the prom – I was tired and burned out, but very happy. And it felt like I’d taken a huge step in my life.

I definitely want to try live art again. What an amazing experience – I was nervous as hell about trying it, but once I got started I couldn’t have stopped if I tried. The music, the momentum, the amazing people watching, all combined to give me one hell of a kick in the ass. I know I have a lot to learn about this, of course – how to draw the audience in more, how to control the pace a little better, how not to blaze through all the work in just 20 minutes. But I’ll get there, with practice.

Some of my favourite moments – Kelly winning the painting we drew for, finally meeting some longtime Twitter friends face-to-face, putting the big blue handprint everywhere, tequila shots, having friends from the bad old days in Charlottetown on hand…

Plans are already afoot for upcoming shows, too. The Dino Show is tentatively scheduled for September, and I wouldn’t mind incorporating some live art into that as well. Closing Time is still a going concern, too (I’d really like to take my time and think that one through, though). And then there’s For a Dancer – those six paintings could conceivably be finished by early August. Not sure yet what will happen there, but it’d be nice to have a one-night mini-exhibit in a restaurant.

I certainly don’t want to oversaturate the market, so to speak. Fortunately my agent/marketing manager is passing on a ton of great advice in that regard, and in others as well.

So without further ado, some people I really need to thank: my family, John Watson and Imagemaker Photographic Studio, Kate MacDonald, Alex Stewart, Cosca Restaurant, the Après-midi Teahouse, Bailey Hunter, Lindsay Bayne, Derek Bolen and Karm from VanCity Buzz, Abbey Jackson, Kelle Belle, Dale Deruiter, Karina Halle and Team EiT, Corinna and Adam Carlson, Lola Frost, Lori Kittelberg, George Smeltzer, Samantha K, Matty Sadorf, Ned Tobin, Jonny Warkentin, Scott Graham, Oddball Workshop, Annie Friesen and Dottie’s Buttons, Jamie Lee Purgavie, Nicola Proctor, Cynthia Griffiths, John Lee, Ceci Graber, Andrea Waters, Geoff Gauthier, Steve Goodman, Mike Watson, Johnny B, Novo Pizzeria, MCNG Marketing, Felice Lam, Cathy Browne, Anthony Wittrock, David Dreger, Amanda West…

… and of course, in the Without-Whom Department: Tess McCann .

(Photo by Lindsay Bayne. All other photos courtesy of Cynthia Griffiths .)


Greetings and salutations. The big day approaches, all too rapidly. I’m slowly getting things together, but the usual pre-show stress (and accompanying insomnia) have already started.

Fortunately, painting takes the edge off, so it’s good I still have new metalflake pieces in the works. Just finished this one today:

I may do a dragon on a blue background next.

I’m aiming for 24 paintings (and 3 prints) for sale, plus another 4 on display.

And before I know it, it’ll be Friday and I’ll be painting live in front of a crowd. No pressure…


Way, way back, I blogged about a project I called Top Seekrit . The project took awhile, due to the vagaries of winter weather and life just getting in the way, as it often does.

The painting was more-or-less finished in early January, and presented to the birthday girl who inspired it on the day of her party. Unfortunately there wasn’t time to get it properly photographed. Plus, the clearcoat was still milky in a couple spots, which I have to admit made me more than a little nervous. What if it never cleared completely? You really don’t wanna be the guy who ruins a pretty girl’s birthday present.

Fortunately it dried nicely, and a couple days ago I finally had it photographed by my good friend John Watson .

But wait – I’m getting ahead of myself here.

It all started this way: she told me about a seahorse tattoo she had, and how she’d love a painting based on Charles (the aforementioned seahorse, of course). She’d already seen several of my first-generation metalflake paintings, and liked the look of those. So really, it was all just a matter of sorting out details after that.

First I did a tracing of her tattoo, which hopefully didn’t tickle too much:

Then I refined that a bit, and defined the lineart better:

Next came the final ink lineart, ready to be transferred onto the painted surface:

(It was during this stage that I decided to add the little circular bits to Charles’s crest.)

And how did all this turn out, you ask? Well, a lot like this:

Oh, and here’s a little macro detail to give you more of an idea of how the metalflake paintings look in the real world:

What can I say? When I’m inspired the whole process is just… easier.

Bret Taylor
Vancouver, BC
March 31, 2012

P.S. As always, thanks, Tess.


Sometimes a painting almost seems to come out of nowhere and touch all kinds of people. Other times, the process can be a lengthy, involved one. In this particular case, it’s a bit of both.

One night last summer I was chatting with a new friend and she happened to mention that she wanted a painting in hot pink . Further to that, she told me that she used to dance, and that she wanted art along that theme – feet and legs in pointe shoes. Time went by and we became much closer. But this idea stayed in my head. In November I drew a rough sketch of her legs and feet in the pointe shoes she’d had since she was a teenager. That original sketch has since been framed and now hangs on her living room wall:

By this point I could see the finished painting in my head pretty clearly. I started creating another of my metalflake paintings with the intention of giving it to her as a Christmas present. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the metalflake pieces take a lot longer to dry in mid-winter, because the shorter days and crappy weather mean a vastly-reduced amount of UV radiation (which speeds the drying process along).

In the end I bought her a Leonard Cohen book for Christmas, and the hot pink painting proceeded oh-so-slowly. A couple days ago I was inspecting the painting and noted that the thick, thick clearcoat was finally dry.

The end of this journey was finally in sight.

On Friday night I found myself at loose ends. I wanted to go do something social with friends, but any and all attempts to make that happen simply failed. So I mixed myself a strong Sailor Jerry’s & Coke, and started masking the painting. The whole process came together pretty quickly, and with the encouragement of my Muse, the painting was soon finished:

Feels very weird to have the painting finished now, considering it’s been in my subconscious since August, and it’s March as I write this. And of course, my world is a vastly different place than it was during that late-night conversation waaay back in August – I couldn’t even begin to chart the changes. I’m a whole new human being, really.

So there you have it – the painting was a labour of love, and it’s actually done.

Interestingly enough, I posted updates live on Twitter and then Facebook as the night progressed, and the response was stunning . So much support, so much praise, so many questions, so many people sharing the final image with friends and followers. So, I’d like to thank the people who made this so much easier: Meghan Low, Donna Jaggard, Kelly St-Laurent, Natalie Smith, Mandy Fisher, Nick Voikos, Mark Kretzschmar, Chris Hobrecker, Bruce Ng, Adé Win, Brandy Trudeau, Heather Prost, Liam Rines, Elaine Shiel, Leanne Corrigan, Tony Dunphy, Fiona Flowers, Nicole Crosby, Sean Parrack, Elizabeth Whalen, Jaime Purgavie, Melissa Hartfiel, Ceci Graber, Dale Deruiter, Vince Ng, Melissa Berg, John Lee, Dilara Litonjua, Cathy Browne, Risto Paalanen, Emily Brandt, Jackie McCaughan, Nick Routley, Amanda West, Christine Warner, Kathleen Ralph, Gary Hayden, Donna Jay-Crowe, Tina Power, Tom Van Hoose, Jackie Teel, Geoff Seymour, Winnie Huang, James Dickson, Marion Vincent, Sarah Merris, Katherine Bowes Pieters, Jewel Staite, Paulette Brown, John Bell …

… and Tess McCann, without whom this would never have even been conceivable.


Finished:

12×24 inches, acrylic on canvas.


… and counting. My brain is practically exploding with ideas lately. Something like twenty paintings are currently in the works, and ideas for more come every day. Having your brain on fire is kind of a weird, surreal thing sometimes. But I’ve learned to just roll with it.

In particular, ideas for the show/book of pinup girls in bars just keep popping up. I’ve tweaked the idea from the other day, and sketched out another. I’ve got concepts in mind for almost ten more.

Here’s where things stand right now:

I’ve also just complete two 6×6-inch metalflake paintings that I’m pretty happy with. Been thinking for awhile of doing some with just a simple border and no other linework, and lo and behold, the concept works:

On top of that there are Christmas gifts and five commissions in the works. Busy, busy.

And that’s my story.


Working, as I may have previously mentioned, on another series of metalflake paintings. Today there was big progress on 15 of them.

A few highlights of the day:

What’d you do today?


So here we are at another milestone in the epic journey towards my one-thousand-day goal. Six hundred days. Puttered around with three small pieces to get up to speed today. A little drybrushing, a coat of clear…

After that the goal was to finish one of the big metalflake paintings. This particular one is titled “Power Trio” – think Rush, Cream, or the Jimi Hendrix Experience. First I did a couple hours of masking (my back and shoulders are still thanking me for that):

Once that was nailed down, it was time to slap on a bit of titanium white:

Eventually all the white areas were done, and the tape came off. Then I took the painting out on the balcony to take advantage of the early-evening light:

And that one’s a wrap. I’m exhausted – done painting for the night.

600.


Well, things are proceeding nicely. Out of the twelve 8×8-inch paintings, eleven are now done. Just finished this one late last night (or was that early this morning?):

And I designed the lineart for another of the 8×24 pieces this afternoon:

The biggest hurdle to get past now is building up the layers of clearcoat on the remaining paintings. Love to get these finished by the end of August, so I can book the space for the show in September.

Oh, and I’ll be spinning another painting off from this series – a friend has commissioned a big, expensive abstract piece. So essentially I’ll be eliminating the white lineart that graces all the others and just going with a similar colour/texture combo. I may do a keyline in gold leaf, though. Just to show the depth of the clearcoat.

Good times.


Finished these two today:



Hello Daddy, hello Mom:

Just finished a few minutes ago.


Howdy. Another numerical post title tonight – eighteen being the number of paintings that’ll be in my next show.

Past few days have been extremely productive. Creativity is bursting at the seams again. Lots of painting, a bit of drawing, lots of design. All of the metalflake paintings are well underway now – the final four are in the glazing process. That should be finished soon, and then it’ll be clearcoat time again.

The glazing process is probably my favourite part of the whole sequence now. So much fun playing with vibrant colour, and it’s probably the least labour-intensive step, too. It’s funny – my first attempt at glazing was only four years ago, and at the time I thought I did a bang-up job. Other painters who saw the piece were generous with their praise, too. And the painting was garbage . Just horrible. I didn’t even know how to hold a brush properly for glazing at that point. Plus I kinda skimped on the drawing part of the process ’cause I was so geared up to start painting.

Anyhow, glazing and I are old friends now. I think it was reading about how and why glazing was done in the Renaissance era that made it all come together for me – essentially, the pigments they had were so primitive, they’d do a yellow glaze and then a blue glaze on top to create green (for example). In some ways that seems needlessly complicated in the modern era, but similar practices do add a lot more vibrancy and chroma to colour.

Meanwhile, I thrashed out the designs for seven more of these paintings today:

And last night I whipped up a list of what design will go on which painting:

Everything’s coming along nicely, now. I should soon be able to predict a completion date.

Good times, good times…


As you may or may not have noticed, Liquitex makes a few products that really float my boat. I’d be lost without their Pouring Medium (I’ve probably gone through three gallons of it so far this year), and they make the best palette knives I’ve ever had the pleasure to use.

But recently they’re stepped up their game in a couple areas. For one, they’ve got a new line of brushes aimed (primarily) at street artists called Liquitex Freestyle . As you can see from the link these are divided into two groups, the large-scale brushes and the more traditionally-sized ones. The first group is particularly innovative, and obviously the result of listening to what painters actually want. The paddle brush and the splatter brush are my faves so far.

The other product shown in the photo is Acrylic Inks. I’m doing a lot of glazing these days, and the inks are amazing in this capacity. Beyond that, they behave a lot like watercolours, but have the permanence and lightfastness of acrylics. That’s a winning combo in my book.

Now I just need to paint something huge…


So. Another month almost over, and all kinds of art going on.

My main focus, understandably, is the Metal Flake series. At the moment there are 11 of them in various stages of completion:

The four along the top are done; three of them sold. All kinds of big plans in store for the ones on the bottom. Hints: the red one will be titled “Cherry Bomb”, the middle one “Power Trio”.

And of course, “Bubblegum Rock” is finished:

And that’s where it all stands at the moment. Should be prepping wood panels for four more of these in the next day or so. I’m starting to run out of room for them.


Well, today was an auspicious occasion – my 500th consecutive day of drawing and/or painting. I worked on ten paintings today to mark the event.

Here’s the scene early in the day, before the paint started to fly:

A bit more glazing, more Liquid Mirror and more black lava gel, and the metalflake paintings started to look more like this:

(Still a ways to go yet, of course. And I also laid the base coats for three more of these babies. They still look kinda boring at this point, though.)

Then I got to work on the hot pink metalflake triptych you might’ve seen recently – my tribute to bubblegum rock. Here’s a rough idea of what it’ll look like:

After that, I started the process of adding that linework to the actual painting. The middle panel of the three has just been applied:

Hoping to finish this one in the next couple days. By now the masking/painting process for these is fairly simple and uneventful.

And that was my 500th day. What’d you do today?


So here we are with another installment of “what I’m working on lately.” Been working my ass off the past couple weeks (ah, the life of a freelancer), but the art is still happening. Don’t think I could stop now if I tried, to be honest.

What’s also been occupying my time, of course, is the Game. Or hockey, as you non-Canadians might know it. The Canucks have been having quite an action-packed time of it, so in honour of their recent success, I’ve done this piece:

That’s gonna be printed on metallic paper, 24×20 inches. Can’t wait to see the finished product.

I’ve also got a handful of new pieces underway – three that’ll use the acrylic transfer method, and three more metalflake paintings. Trying to use a lot more bold, over-the-top colour these days:

In other news, Sunday will be day 500 of the 1000 Days Project. Still dunno what I’m gonna do that day, but obviously it needs to be something big. Possibly a pinup girl – haven’t drawn any cheesecake in a looong time.

Oh, and I should be starting on a brand-new commission any day now. Key words: shaggin’ wagon.


Wow, it’s been quite a night here. As you may recall from previous installments, I’ve been planning a series of paintings for a show sometime this year – all simple, iconic white lineart over glossy, deep, metallic surfaces. The title of the series is “Metal Flake”, so the common subject is rock ‘n’ roll.

Since December I’ve been filling a sketchpad with thumbnails:

And of course, I’ve also been doing the heavy-lifting portion of the first three paintings:

Anyhow, this first one came to a head tonight. I masked off the necessary areas and laid down the white lineart:

And when that was done, I promptly posted this last photo on Twitter, Facebook, etc. etc. The result? Within 17 minutes the painting was sold and financial details were sorted. God, I love the internet.


So in case you’re wondering, January was all about the Dawn Patrol triptych. All the base colour work and glazing are done now; the next step will be building up coats of clear.

For you process junkies, this slideshow shows a bunch of macro texture shots:

Thanks.


Hey folks, another rambling catchall post here, to kick the year off. Sorry ’bout the delay; I got hammered with a nasty headcold on New Year’s Eve and it just wouldn’t take the hint. Knocked me for a loop both physically and mentally.

On the plus side of the equation, once again I’m drawing and painting every day – as much to take my mind off stressful bullshit as anything else. Pushing paint around on a canvas is supremely helpful as a form of meditation. And sketching is a whole ‘nother experience. Yesterday was a rare sunny day for January 2011, so I ambled on down to the beach with my camera and a sketchpad. Spent a long time learning that I don’t enjoy doing landscapes (surprise, surprise), shot a few photos, froze my ass off, and finally started to head for home.

Then I saw the seagull.

This little fella was perched, as you can see, atop one of the posts they use to hang volleyball nets in warmer weather. Only had time for a quick sketch before he flew away, but that was enough to get all the basic info down on paper. After that it was just a matter of beefing up the lines with some General’s extra-soft charcoal and adding a bit of watercolour.

Finished piece is available , if you’re interested.

In other news, I now have 4 commissions to work on, plus a whole slew of small paintings for a potential show sometime in the spring. Oh, and my good friends Lisa and Rev. Paul of Mojave will be performing at the Tipper in Vancouver at the end of April, and I’ll have some paintings on display there, as well.

More info here .

And that’s where I am. How are you folks doing?


If you dig paint as much as I do, you probably realize how easy it is to waste lots of it. I’m slowly getting better at judging how much paint to use when I’m mixing colours, but it’s still a tricky process. More frequently than I’d like, I end up with more than I need.

Occasionally I save it in a small container, and then forget about it – only to open it months later and find the paint is completely dry.

What I’ve ended up doing over the years is putting that leftover paint to more productive use in a couple of ongoing projects. Smearing the stuff onto a glass palette can come in handy – once you’ve got a nice thick layer of paint built up, you can peel it off and cut it into pieces to use in new paintings (trivia note: these are referred to as “paint skins”). You can do all sorts of cool stuff with them – building impressionistic colour, creating texture, making mosaics, etc. etc. Just google “acrylic paint skins” and you’ll find lots of articles and tutorials like this one .

I’ve also got a couple of long-term projects in the works using the leftover bits. Both of them started with me just innocently wiping my brush or knife on the nearest convenient surface. They’re still transitional pieces, and probably will be for a long time to come, but eventually they’ll be full-fledged works of art on their own.

The first is this former coffee mug:

A souvenir of my first advertising job, I still use it to clean my brushes. It’s gradually getting so coated in paint that the bigger brushes will barely fit into it. I also do a lot of colour experimentation on the surface of this thing. No idea where this will take me, but for now I just want to make it a lot wider (possibly even spherical) with a semi-lattice effect.

And the other piece is this old beach towel that I use as a drop cloth:

It’s still quite flexible now, but once it’s too stiff to roll up, I’ll mount it to some kind of support and make an actual painting out of it. I can almost see the design in my head, but not quite. My subconscious needs more time, I guess. I suspect there’ll be geometric shapes laid out in gold leaf on top of the final painted surface.

Kinda makes me wonder what else I could do with leftover paint.


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