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The Official Ocean Rain Recap

On Sunday, May 12th, I had the distinct pleasure of holding my sixth art show. This one broke new ground in terms of venue (the HiVE ), timing and structure. And if audience reactions are any indication, in terms of the art itself.

I mixed things up some this time around – metalflake paintings without the border treatment I usually employ, less square-format pieces than usual, size and shapes I don’t usually work in. Plus a more multi-layered approach to glazing and iridescents.

And the subject really seemed to strike a chord with people.

A few visual highlights:

Buttons courtesy of Annie Friesen and Dottie’s Buttons .

Some of the fine people who showed up.

The long-distance traveler award goes to Jaime, who came over from Vancouver Island for the show.

Team Sizzr represents.

Mesmerized.

Oops. Not Aaron.

In which I demonstrate a narwhal/unicorn swordfight.

All the support in the world.

Very serious discussion.
So I’m calling this another one for the victory column. I had an amazing day. Every time we put on another show, there’s less stress to deal with, and the process gets more streamlined.

__________________________________

A very special thank-you to:

Tess McCann , who put the pieces together.

John Watson , who documented the process.

Lyndsey MacEwen , who stepped up to bat.

Jaime Lee Purgavie , who believed.

Annie Friesen , who buttoned it all up.

Mike Watson , who drove the getaway car.

Lindsay Bayne , who wisely said “narwhal!”

Cindy McShane, Karina Halle, Kate MacDonald , and Lyndsey Locke , who bought the paintings.

Aaron Cruikshank, Eve Rickert, Margarete Hernandez , and Alan Cheung from the HiVE, who gave me the opportunity.

Heather Prost, Jess Couture, Meghan Kilner, Kyle Reid, Jenn Derksen, Steve Kinsey, Scott Graham, Ian McKinnon, Katie Moran, Jacquie Clarke, Cheryl Cheeks, Kitty Nichols , and Mike C. , who kept the faith.

Tom Odell and Lucy Schwartz , who provided the musical portion of the (very) exclusive afterparty.

Paul Keelan , who supplied my ticket.

Christy McNeil, Julia Gaetz , and Amanda West , who all made valiant efforts.

Jack Daniel , for service above and beyond the call of duty.

(Photos courtesy of John Watson and Imagemaker Photographic Studio .)


And then it was April.

Here we are, a quarter of the year already done. The first big show of 2013 is over (and a damn successful one it was), and two more are in the works. Longterm strategies are being developed, and new venues and opportunities being explored.

Creatively I feel incredibly positive. The ideas just won’t stop coming, I’m happier with my drawing skills than ever before, and I keep thinking of new variations on my metalflake technique. This in particular is pleasing, given that I’ve finished 102 of these paintings and currently have another 17 in the works (obviously I don’t ever want this to turn into some sort of assembly-line process; frankly I think that having assistants do the bulk of your work for you borders on the fraudulent).

With the Hot Pink show and the Christmas Metalflake series, I played around with the technique, sometimes out of necessity, and other times just out of curiosity. I did several paintings with pulverized Christmas balls worked into the strata for texture and reflectivity. And the other day it occurred to me that I could also use gold leaf in my backgrounds.

This experiment turned out even better than I’d anticipated. And it got me thinking about some other new possibilities.

A few specifics, then, before the conversation takes a turn for the personal. The Ocean Rain show, which you’ve already seen hints of, is progressing nicely. Expect an announcement regarding this very soon – we’re hoping for an early May launch date.

The show after that will most likely use superheroes and science fiction as its launching point.

After that I’d like to do something with an automotive theme, and of course we’ll be doing something Christmassy as well, in the fall (truth be told, we’ve probably got ideas for a dozen shows). Also in the fall, we’ll be releasing a book and/or calendar of T-Rex illustrations. Three of them are done already, and the Agent and I have been brainstorming on lots more.

And by this time next year I want to have my work in galleries.

So, enough business. Let’s talk about what else has been going on. Last year, as documented again and again (and AGAIN ), felt like some sort of trial to me. One trauma after another, month in, month out. By November I was a bit of a mess.

I can’t pinpoint any one specific moment when the game changed (unlike, say, in 2011), but a lot of minor victories added up to help pull me out of my funk.

And this process continued through January and February, to the point where I finally feel like I’ve gotten my groove back (I won’t lie; I was extremely worried about that, and for a long, long time). Friends and family have done their part to help, chance encounters have led to new opportunities… and inspiration? Inspiration is EVERYWHERE . I’m on fire creatively.

I’m back , baby.

Bret Taylor
Vancouver, BC
April, 2013.


T-Shirt Tuesday – Octopus Edition

Hey there. As you may have noticed, weekly t-shirt releases were on hiatus for awhile as we prepped for (and recovered from) Hot Pink .

But now we’re rebooting the t-shirt release program, starting with this octopus from the upcoming Ocean Rain show (more on this at a later date):

You can buy this lovely cephalopod right here in my Redbubble store .

Cheers.


Available.

First off, you may have noticed the lack of a report on the Hot Pink show. Fear not; it’s happening. It’s just been.. delayed a little while I recover. Further to that, though, this particular handful of paintings is still available for purchase:

Should something here catch your eye, please contact my agent, the lovely and talented Tess McCann , and she can arrange things for you.

Thanks,
Bret Taylor
Vancouver, BC
March 2013


In keeping with the spirit of the season, here’s a new Santa shirt for you (or y’know, you could always give it to somebody else as a present, too):

And as always, it’s in my .


Unless you’re a newcomer to this site, you probably know that I recently completed a thousand consecutive days of art. Every one of those days, from January 1/2010 – October 1/2012, I drew and/or painted, without fail.

One thousand days.

As time went on, the numbers actually began to mean less and less to me. Because it was really about the journey, of course. About what I learned, where I went, how I changed.

The past few years have been challenging, to say the least. Apart from the financial hardships of the recession and its aftermath, one thing I’ve been struggling with is the lack of structure in my life (I’m a freelancer, by the way). So the added benefits to this extended art experiment are just that – structure, purpose, direction.

For a long time people were asking me what I planned to do on the final day. I considered several options, because I wanted to do something momentous. But in the end these options fell through, so I decided that the best course of action would be…

… Business as Usual.

After all, I had a show to prepare for. Paintings to finish, logistics to be sorted out, all sorts of promotional work to do. Putting on an art show is no small task.

So when I got up that morning, I did a quick little sketch, just in case:

That way if the sun exploded or we got invaded by zombies, at least I could still say I reached the 1000th day.

(Fortunately they didn’t. But hey, you never know.)

After that it was back to the metalflake dinosaur paintings. Since my T-Rex sketch from back in February was the central image in my upcoming show, I decided that finishing one of those pieces would be my best bet. And that just seemed fitting – it tied in with the show, with my calendar, and any number of other peripheral art ventures. Plus it was inspired in the first place by the person who’s made the biggest mark in my life during the Project – my Agent and former Muse.

So there you have it. One thousand days. I painted and drew a lot, I learned a lot, I sweated and bled, and I’m still standing.

Oh, and one more thing: I’m already working an art book based on the experience. Watch this space for further details.


T-Shirt Thursday, Round 08

This week’s t-shirt just had to be another dinosaur, with the show announcement a couple days ago.

You can buy it right here .


T-Shirt Thursdays, Round 06

With all the shark-week buzz going on lately, this one was a no-brainer:

And you can buy it here in my RedBubble store .


A brand new piece in the t-shirt store tonight. Special thanks to my agent Tess and my friend Lynn for their encouragement on this one. And to Cynthia for wanting to get together and draw last week.

Oh, and you can buy the shirt right here .


Yep, it’s true – Saturday marked the 900th day of my Thousand Days Project. Since January 1st, 2010, I’ve drawn/painted every single day, without fail. That seemed like an almost-ridiculous goal at one point, but the end is definitely in sight now.

I didn’t do anything special for Day 800, because I was well into Birthday Shenanigans Week. Day 700 was the 1st of December, and in addition to chipping away at the numerous paintings I was doing at the time, I drew a quick headshot of a beautiful blonde.

So with all that in mind, I figured that Day 900 needed something out of the ordinary -  not a metalflake painting, not a dinosaur, not a sketchbook diary piece. But what?

Meanwhile, one particular illustration of mine has lain dormant for a long time – since September 15th of 2011, to be exact. This has been a long-gestating piece. I first started it in the fall of 2010, but it kept getting set aside in favour of other projects.

The first rough iteration of it looked something like this:

As time went by I slowly got closer to finishing it. In mid-September I did the blueline pencils:

This was scanned and imported into my Photoshop document, and the base illustration was set aside on my bar, waiting for me to do the final linework in ink. Anybody who’s had a drink at my place since then has seen it sitting there, though oddly enough, I don’t recall anybody ever asking about it.

I posted an in-progress picture online the night of the 15th, and walked off to a date with destiny. My whole world changed that night, and definitely without warning. Another story for my memoirs, I guess.

And I’ve seen that illustration almost daily since the fateful night, till it got to the point where it was just part of the furniture.

Until I was finally ready to finish it.

So without further ado (or cryptic remarks), here it is, the fruits of my labour of Day 900/1000:

Bret Taylor
Vancouver, BC


Protoceratops:


It’s finally summer here in the GVRD*. And what better way to spend a summer weekend than being immersed in art?

Friday night, bring a proud, card-carrying member of the Vancouver Art gallery, I attended the Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters opening. I honestly had no idea Matisse was so prolific, much less in so many mediums. His pen-and-ink work in particular really caught my eye – the linework was beautiful, and so fluid.

It was nice to see another Van Gogh and another Renoir, too. I feel a real kinship for Vincent in particular.

Saturday was mostly spent outside in the park, barbecuing and soaking up the sun with friends. That night we moved the festivities back to my buddy Mike’s place for drinks and general good times, before closing the night at the Dover Arms. While we were all at Mike’s, I whipped up a couple more Sketchbook Diary entries, including this ashtray:

And today (Sunday) I’ve been working on the playlist for next month’s Metalflake Remix show. I haven’t sorted all the details yet, but it’ll be taking place the night of Saturday, June 16, and I’ll be creating live art all night (expect an official announcement very soon).

In other art news, potential new painting concepts seem to be popping into my head on a daily basis now. Here’s a couple to tantalize you:

Hope everybody else’s summer is off to a great start.

*Greater Vancouver Regional District.


So I bought a new sketchbook recently, and started carrying it everywhere. When I’m in a new place I try to find some small object to sketch – nothing major, just kind of a visual souvenir.

Last weekend I paid a visit to a city I haven’t visited in a couple years, Victoria, B.C. Just needed a weekend away from Vancouver, and see some new faces and decompress. While I was there I saw this wooden rhino and had to draw him:

And yesterday I went to a fun little Sunday-brunch outing at one of my favourite restaurants, Cosca. Lots of cool visual details in the place, so I had lots of options to choose from. In the end I drew this lamp that reminded me of the restaurant’s symbol (an artichoke):

And after that I spotted this chandelier:

I definitely need to do more of this. Stay tuned.

Bret Taylor
Vancouver, BC
May 21, 2012


There is much news on the dinosaur front, my friends. Many more of them to draw – I went to the exhibit at Science World yesterday with friends, and I got tons of reference photos and ideas.

They had full-size, moving, interactive mockups of the dinosaurs, plus several fossil skeletons:

So my new plan is, I want to do an all-dinosaur show – books, calendars, t-shirts, prints, you name it. I’ve already got a available in my print store, and a handful of t-shirts already. Still a lot of details and strategies to be sorted, but I think this one’s really got some potential – already sold one of the T-Rex shirts.
I’ll keep you posted.

Finally back to the dino project tonight, with the alectrosaurus:

Really enjoying drawing the carnivorous beasties more than the others.


Hey there. It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? Been caught up in a couple of large paintings, and of course, being sick.

Fortunately I’m recovering, so here’s an apatosaurus for you folks:

In other dinosaur-related news, the T-Rex piece from a couple weeks ago is now available in my print store . And for today (Leap Day) only, everything in the store is 25% off. The code to use is LEAP25.


Okay, so things have delayed a little by personal matters the past few days. But without further ado, here is your latest dinosaur, the Stegoceras:

Not the most handsome creature in the Jurassic era, to be sure.


In our latest installment, the guest of honour is the Ankylosaurus:


Say it with me, now: “Compsognathus.”

I love these little beasts. Apparently they were about the size of a turkey.

Six dino illustrations down, twenty-three to go.


Another fun day in the studio – woke up early, puttered around the place for awhile, and finally buckled down to draw this Hadrosaur:

This has definitely been the most fun dinosaur to draw yet, although the T-Rex did come close.


Well, kids, the shotglasses are done. Seems like a million years have passed since I kicked the project off on January 1st, all full of piss and vinegar and ready to draw 366 glasses over the course of 2012.

Then again, I had no idea at the time what twists and turns my life would take in January. Guess I can’t fault myself for not being clairvoyant, though – I doubt that anybody else could’ve predicted the things that have happened to me any better.

So here I am almost a month and a half later, and the world as I know it is drastically different from the one I thought I was living in back in December. Some longterm plans hatched in happier times have been shelved, sadly. And the adjustment process hasn’t at all been easy.

On the plus side, here’s the last of the 31 shotglasses:

And I think the new idea of having a different theme every month will add some much-needed variety to the whole drawing-every-day thing. Dinosaurs for February are, as you’ve already seen, well underway. Other potential monthly topics include guitars, shoes, dogs & cats, dragons, and at least one other than I’m blanking on at the moment. I’m certainly open to suggestions from the floor.

Also on the brighter side, the work situation has taken a definite turn for the better, so at least that particular bit of stress and pressure has lessened considerably.

Onward and upward, right?

Bret Taylor
Lost in 2012.


And the shotglass project has almost drawn to close. Here’s the penultimate drawing:

Ink, Photoshop. One more left…


So after a herbivore (“veggie-saurus”) last night, I wanted to draw something a big more… ferocious. Enter the Allosaurus:

Nasty creature. Apparently he could jump, too.


Day three brings us the mighty Stegosaurus:

(Are Stegosauri mighty? I’m not even sure. I just know I’m lovin’ this project.)


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