You heard it here first. I’m releasing 4 of the metalflake Christmas paintings as Christmas cards (and postcards) as well:
Each of those 4 images is a separate card, of course. And they’re all in my RedBubble store .
(RedBubble, incidentally, has a Black Friday sale on at the moment. Everything is 15% off.)
Today is a momentous day. An epic step forward. One small step for… well, you get the idea.
What’s the big deal, you’re undoubtedly asking yourself? Well, it’s like this: after years of tentative moves careerwise with my art, I decided to go pro and hired myself an agent.
Many of you already know Tess McCann. She first started aiding and abetting my career in the fall of 2011 when she helped me put together my first solo show, Metal Flake. And when I say “helped”, I mean I couldn’t have done it without her. She hosted the show and made the whole event more professional; how she ever put up with my pre-show nerves I’ll never know (dirty little secret: I’m always a basketcase in the days leading up to a show) .
In the months since then, Tess has continually suggested things that would never have occurred to me, offered guidance and promotional help, pointed me in new directions, and in general taken a gigantic amount of pressure off me, artwise.
We’ve been talking around this idea for months, and after recent discussions it just felt right to make it official. Oh, and here’s a word from my new agent now:
Hi! I’m super excited to be on board officially as Bret’s agent. I have been a big fan since I first saw his work, I have several pieces hanging on my walls. I’m looking forward to helping his career thrive, because he certainly deserves it.
Really looking forward to this next phase. And it’s fantastic to have you onboard, Tess.
P.S. For the rest of you wonderful people, if there’s something of mine you’d like to invest in, please contact the Most Excellent Ms. McCann here and she can sort things out for you.
(Photo: Lindsay Bayne.)
So here’s a post that’s long overdue. Back on March 25 (day 810 of the 1,000 Days Project), I woke up to find myself inspired. Hell, maybe even driven. I looked around at all the stuff I’ve been working on, in an attempt to prioritize. And as a means of self-promotion I decided to post in-progress photos online to document the whole day.
Since I’m planning a series of six ballerina paintings, I figured I should start working out the poses I want to use – the final lineart will be drawn from a live model, but I wanted to do my homework this time. So here are the sketches:
With that out of the way, I decided to turn my attention to an Avengers painting commissioned by a friend of mine. Once the masking was done, it struck me just how fortunate I was to have such a perfect venue for painting on a sunny day:
Then I started applying the linework. Instead of the white I always used to use on my metalflake pieces, I went with silver (Tri-Art Liquid Mirror), bronze and copper. It’s only recently that I branched out from the white – the silver was also used on the “For a Dancer” painting, and the copper on the seahorse (AKA “Top Seekrit”) piece.
Pretty soon all that remained to do was signing the Avengers piece:
And finally, the glorious results:
I have to admit, I’m really happy with how this one turned out, especially the metallics in the lineart.
Once that was finished I was still pretty psyched, so I decided to press on:
I really enjoy these large-format paintings. As I’ve mentioned more than once, the plan is to do a series of these pinup-girl paintings, if I can ever get the planets back in the same alignment again. Here’s where I left off that night, after close to nine hours of painting:
And that was day 810. A whole slew of amazing people offered comments and helped me promote this mini-event, so I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them all:
Nicole Cruickshank, Andrea Waters, Cosca Restaurant, Ned Tobin, Geoff Gauthier, Trevor Ricketts, Ceci Graber, Wes Thompson, Natalie Jean, Bahaneh Grewal, Ron Cooper, Isabell Kinga Markus, Amanda West, Matty Sadorf, John Lee, Bob Cluness, Heather Prost, George Smeltzer, Candice Roach, Keith Perkins, Kelle Belle, Meghan Low, Lola Frost, Vincent Ng, Irving Lau, Todd Hancock and 99.3 CFOX, Opal, Annie Friesen, Melissa Hartfiel, Lorraine Murphy, Jessi Sensabaugh, Yvonne Milroy, Julie Frisina, Jim Dickson, Tina Power, Cathryn Smith, Margaux Wosk, Erika Wallace, Matt Algren, Kimberley Mulla, Jaime Purgavie, Melissa Jones, Wendy Pemberton, and Tess McCann.
(Plus Tequila Mockingbird, Nikki B, the ruggler, Baw-nee and sparklehorss.)
Thank you, one and all. You’re the reason I do this.
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:
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.
12×24 inches, acrylic on canvas.
So I’ve spent the last couple days getting everything ready for the art sale. I’ve taken over my buddy John’s photography studio and changed it around (more than) a little. Yesterday while we were still setting up I snapped this pic of the Reception area:
Today we went over with a boatload of art. Here’s how it looked shortly after we got there:
Finally I had all the paintings up in the Lounge:
Once that was all done it was time to pose for a photo myself:
Weirdest part of all this, of course, is how my livingroom wall looks now:
But fear not – that big wall space will be reserved for the first Closing Time painting.
Big day tomorrow.
Probably the final post of the year, so I thought I’d talk a little about 2012. As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve been doing sketches for a show called “Closing Time” – a series of pinup girls against the backdrop of bars and other drinking establishments (two subjects near and dear to my own heart).
Well, just one beautiful pinup girl, to be honest.
Anyhow, I procured a 36×36-inch canvas from the good people at Opus Art Supplies today, brought it home, scratched my chin, and thought about what I could do with such a canvas:
Of course the answer was obvious: I could plunge into the Closing Times series. Now, I’ve been giving these a lot of thought lately – figuring out how I might render them, whether or not I should incorporate some texture, etc. etc. (I must admit, the subject of these hypothetical paintings has been strolling through my subconscious on a regular basis, too.)
Anyhow, after some deliberation I figured out the approach I want to take with this series, and shockingly, it’s a much simpler, more minimalist route than the one I take with the Metalflake paintings.
So, you’ve seen various iterations of this already, but a number of tweaks have been made to this design since:
(And keep in mind, of course, that this is just a mockup, not the actual painting.)
All that being said, I will be applying the first blue washes to this piece tomorrow, and we’ll see where things go from there. And if you want to see where I go with this one, Loyal Reader…
… well, you’ll just have to wait and see.
Gather ’round, children, and I’ll tell you a tale of happiness and Yuletide joy. Once upon a time there were a boy and a girl who fell in love. And they both loved art, which is a good thing, ’cause otherwise this would be the end of the story.
Now this couple (let’s call them, oh, “Dan and Donna”) already had several paintings by a local Artiste (let’s call him, oh, “me”). And they wanted more. So “Dan” contacted the Artiste in question and asked about commissioning a portrait of “Donna”. The Artiste, of course, was quite enthusiastic about such a project, because he loved painting (and truth be told, he was also somewhat fond of financial remuneration).
So Dan and the Artiste struck a deal, and work began. And shortly thereafter, the Artiste heard from Donna, who wished to purchase a painting called “Ace of Spades” as a present for Dan.
This pleased the Artiste to no end.
(An amusing side note: after the deal was struck with Donna, Dan contacted the Artiste again, this time to inquire about purchasing the Ace of Spades painting. The Artiste expressed sympathy and apologetically told Dan the painting was already spoken for.)
The Artiste was understandably amused by all this subterfuge, and with uncharacteristic restraint, only told a couple of people.
Okay, a whole bunch of people. But not Donna or Dan, which is key.
Meanwhile, work continued on the portrait of Donna:
And time passed, as it usually does. The painting and the Artiste found themselves disagreeing from time to time, but with the help of the Artiste’s lovely and talented Muse, the painting was finished with an entire day to spare.
On Christmas morning, paintings were exchanged, Donna and Dan were happy, and there was much rejoicing throughout the land.
And they all lived happily ever after.
Further thoughts on the latest show/series concept: the title will be “Closing Time”, after the Leonard Cohen song of the same name. And when the show happens, people will have the option of buying the original paintings, or buying a book of the preliminary sketches.
Two more from the past few nights, then:
More info as it occurs to me, obviously.