painting

The Official Ocean Rain Recap

On Sunday, May 12th, I had the distinct pleasure of holding my sixth art show. This one broke ground in terms of venue (the HiVE ), timing and stricture. 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.


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.


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


Hot Pink – the Latest.

Pretty caught up in art-show excitement these days. So much so that I almost forgot about the blog.

But many amazing things are happening. Paintings are already selling, buttons have arrived, a new shirt is almost ready, sketches are being posed for, greeting cards are available, and the Hot Pink Peeler Mix playlist is nearly finished. All sorts of craziness, and definitely of the good variety.

This art-show business does actually get easier. For a long time I didn’t think that would ever happen.

Mind you, I’ve got a team behind me now, and their support and enthusiasm are pretty infectious (and it’s not just my show this time around). In fact, we’re meeting on the weekend to talk over some hush-hush, ultra-top-secret business. Just wait till you see the results. Oh, man…

Anyway, people are stepping up to bat and generally being excellent human beings. I could rave about that for hours, or about how beautiful women are keeping me informed as to what shoes and underwear (pink and/or black, obviously) they’ve bought for the show. But instead I’ll just treat you to another slideshow:

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Nine days to the big show. Anybody else as pumped for this as I am?


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.)


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.


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.


Welcome back, and thanks for joining us. It’s been a few days since the Dinosaur Show – time spent recovering and regrouping, for the most part. It seems that the bigger these events get, the more time it takes to bounce back.

And this was definitely a BIG event.

Earth-shaking, even.

The excitement all started Friday night, with a trip to imagemaker photographic studio to hang the show. This is part of the process that I always stress needlessly about, as it usually goes off without much of a hitch. In this particular case, the positioning and hanging of the paintings was a breeze; it was just the peripherals (a display for posters and calendars, for instance) that raised questions.

That night I slept well, which has never happened the night before a show till now. Come to think of it, I slept pretty well for most of the preceeding two weeks.

In the morning I was up early, running last-minute errands in the rain. We were at the studio doing last-minute setup by 1:00PM…

… and then it was showtime. My friend Cindy, who moved here recently from Ontario, snapped up the medium-sized T-Rex almost immediately after we opened the doors. Technically that was the second sale of the show, though, because John from HogShack had already spoken for one of the struttin’ T-Rex paintings.

Over the next six hours lots of people came in, often with young dinosaur fans in tow. Talked to old friends, met some people I’d previously only talked to online, sold a few paintings, and all in all had a great afternoon.

And then it was 8:00. The afterparty started.

The Agent was outfitted in a custom T-Rex top, and we also had hot pink T-Rex buttons made:

The people who got into the dinosaur theme the most, though, were Candice Roach and Danny Parker. Candice made a cake especially for the show, and Dan brought not only a T-Rex hat, but a full-on dinosaur COSTUME :

I kept thinking we’d hit the point where people were more focused on the party than the art, but then, miraculously, a few more paintings would sell. The final tally: 14 paintings sold out of a possible 17.

Did I mention there were drinks? Cake? Sandwiches and pumpkin pie cheesecake that my friend Melissa Jones so thoughtfully contributed? That people came from all over the place just for the show?

I’ve gotta say, the show of support never gets old.

Things wrapped up pretty quickly around 1:00AM. The day was done, the show a success.

Thanks, first of all, to the people who bought my paintings, posters and prints: John Lim Hing, Cindy McShane, Nic & Todd Cruickshank, Lori Kittelberg and George Smeltzer, Lindsay Bayne, Christine Warner, Geoff Gauthier, Irving Lau, Mark Crater, Candice Roach, Krista Lee, Amanda West, Donna Jay-Crowe, and all the people who bought buttons.

These lovely people couldn’t make the show (which will always happen) but were still kind enough to send along apologies and/or encouragement anyway: Chantal Michaud, Kate MacDonald, Lynn McIlwee, Jackie McCaughan, Adam & Corinna Carlson, Lyndsey MacEwen, Jewel Staite, Crystal Witty, Ceci Graber, Erin Kyle, and Jeff Hornby.

And of course, how could I forget my agent, Tess McCann? We’ve been through a lot together in the 14 months since we met, and this show actually started with her posting T-Rex cartoons on her Facebook wall in the early part of 2012. Thanks for everything, Tess. At the risk of repeating myself, this wouldn’t even be possible without your help.

(Photos courtesy of Danny Parker, Ned Tobin, Amanda West, Lindsay Bayne, Krista Lee, John Lim Hing, and John Watson.)


Thanks.

Brothers and sisters, these are strange and portentous times. An entire string of anniversaries, both artistic and (much) more personal, is sweeping by as we speak. And while I’m generally not one to dwell on the past, looking back can definitely be instructive.

Not that I’d want to live there. But F. Scott said it well:

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

On Friday afternoon I realized it was the anniversary of the day I hung the artwork for my first solo show. What a difference a year makes. Going into that first show I barely had a clue what I was doing – just flying by the seat of my pants, really. Since then there’ve been some monumental gains, and a catastrophic loss or two. But we soldier on, don’t we?

And Sunday (Oct. 7th) was the anniversary of the itself. This might be a good time to have a quick look at these as well, though they’re more of a sidebar or a footnote to today’s musings. Go ahead, I’ll wait right here.

An unbelievable event for me; I’ve never experienced anything quite like it, before or since. The things people did for me, the way they helped out, was overwhelming. Even the little things, like the fact that there was a fresh drink in my hand practically before I even finished the previous one (my Lovely Assistant had some serious ninja skills). I felt like the king of the world.

I remember, at one point, looking around and seeing these people who’d never met before, talking and laughing and drinking, and realizing that it was my art had brought them together. That was incredibly moving.

After the show, a couple very important people came back to my place for more cocktails and the Most Inappropriate High-Five of All Time. The following day was a photo shoot for one of my friend Karina’s books. Sometimes I look back at photos from that weekend and I wonder what happened to that guy. He certainly had no idea of what life had in store for him over the coming months. So many things went wrong, it felt like I was living in a country song.

Not that it was all doom and gloom, of course. Some pretty goddamn incredible things happened to me, too. I’ve hit my stride as an artist. I’ve got a clear vision of where I want to go from here, and what I want to do. My heart was touched by people too numerous to mention – people who were there for me at the darkest times, people who made me feel like a rockstar, people who reached out, people who absolutely embraced my art.

I put on two more shows, created 40 new paintings (and 15 more are nearing completion) and countless drawings, published a calendar, was hit by a truck, had my heart broken, found support from unexpected corners, worked my ass off, completed a thousand consecutive days of art, made cool new friends from all over the world, reconnected with old ones, lost a couple people who were very important to me, burned a bridge or two, shed a little blood and no small amount of tears, succeeded, failed, lost 25 pounds, got new tattoos, learned a lot about muses…

… but most of all? I survived .

Now I’m mere days away from my biggest show yet . Plus it’s Thanksgiving. If you can join us on the 13th, we’d love to have you. And if you’ve moved me over the past year, if you’ve touched me, if you’ve inspired me, if you’ve shared my victories – then I thank you. You’re the reason I do this.

Bret Taylor
Vancouver, BC
October 8/2012


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?


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 my latest show has come and gone. I’ll do a more indepth post in the next couple days, but for now I’ll just show you a few choice moments.

The day started with mimosas and grilled cheese for the Lovely Assistant and I:

(Go Habs!)

Once we got to the studio, we got all the necessary supplies ready:

Along one wall I showed the evolution of the Metal Flake series.

Of particular interest to many people were the seahorse and “For a Dancer” paintings, but those were already spoken for:

All too soon, we got to the live-art portion of the show:

(As you can see, painting is thirsty work.)

The live-painting portion of the show over with, it was time for some social activity:

Photos courtesy of Corinna Carlson, Cynthia Griffiths, Ian A. Martin, Jocelyn Aspa, Lola Frost, Lyndsay Bayne, Scott Graham, Steve Goodman, and the incomparable Tess McCann.

Thank you, everybody.


Preeeesenting:


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.


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.


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.

The End.


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.


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?


As you might’ve guessed, painting for a living (much like any other occupation) has its share of gripes. In this particular case, of course, the issues are compounded by the fact that so many ignorant people seem to think it’s a cute little hobby for children, but ultimately something we should grow out of – the ironic part of that being, of course, that the same people make the worst clients because they act like spoiled children themselves. Combine that ridiculous sense of entitlement with bad manners, general rudeness, and willful ignorance, and you’ve got a recipe for frustration:

  • Probably the most aggravating thing is people who offer shitty advice, or pass on leads that are obviously useless, but demand answers and validation right away. Here’s a tip: if you give me a lead and I say “I’ll check it out,” that means I’ll check it out. If I have a question, I’ll get back to you. If it turns out to be useful, I will thank you, probably both publicly and privately. If it sounds fishy or turns out to be a scam – which it often does – I’ll ignore it. Acting like a needy child won’t help sell me on it. More than likely it’ll make me feel tempted to ignore you in the future, and that’s the politest response I can think of. So don’t send me frantic followup messages the next day because you need your ego stroked. I will check out your recommendation and either follow it or not. This isn’t about you, regardless of how noble your intentions might be.
  • If you know somebody who’s looking for free art in return for some dubious “exposure” somewhere, point them in the direction of an art school. Maybe some lucky student will learn an important lesson or two about scammers and grifters. Me? I’ve already been down that road many times, and I’ve learned what there is to learn.
  • Don’t be a flake when you’re commissioning or buying art. If you’ve got a project in mind, by all means get in touch. I’ll probably ask a few questions, then give you several different options with regards to size and price, and tell you how much I want for a down payment. If the idea of a down payment bothers you, then please fuck off and don’t contact me again. It’s specifically because of people like you that I ask for down payments in the first place.
  • Further to that last point, if you make a business arrangement with an artist, honour it. Don’t run away when the project’s half-finished. Don’t pretend you didn’t get messages, emails, calls, or invoices. And don’t just assume I’ll forget. It makes you look like a flake, an idiot and a scumbag.
  • And finally on the point of flakiness, don’t offer to help someone out with a reference, a commission, or anything else and then bail out when the time comes to actually help. Especially if the aforementioned bailing-out involves pretending you’re sick or out of town.
  • If you know someone whose kid would do the job for much less than I charge, hire that kid, or go buy yourself a nice print at Walmart or IKEA. I’m not interested in making bargain-basement art, so don’t waste my time.
  • If your significant other decides halfway through a project that they don’t like it, I don’t care. I don’t have a business arrangement with them; I have one with you . They have no say in the process at all. And if you have a disagreement with them, it’s your problem. Not mine. Don’t drag your dysfunctional baggage into my life.
  • Shipping is a legitimate charge, not an afterthought or a cash grab on my part. And it isn’t an exact science; I don’t know all the prices and regulations for FedEx, Canada Post, or UPS. If it costs more than originally anticipated, then it costs more. I will try my damnedest to give you a realistic quote, but I can’t guarantee things down to the last penny. Trying to stick me with any additional costs makes you look like a cheapskate.

Wow, that was therapeutic. Any other artists got suggestions for issues I haven’t touched on?

Oh, and if you think I might be talking about you? I am.


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