Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Few of My Favourite Things.

As you may have noticed, I've really been cranking out the art the past few months. Another highly educational period for me, especially since I started working on roughly 20 paintings at once. I realized once again tonight just how much I love playing mad scientist with paint.

That being said, there are a handful of products that really float my boat. So with your kind indulgence, I present the following list:

Liquitex Pouring Medium. Seriously, this stuff is the real deal. I've used many other manufacturers' self-levelling mediums, and most of them are garbage. Liquitex, though, has come up with the magic formula - the stuff dries hard and clear with no crazing, sets up fast, and looks gorgeous when it's done.

Tri-Art Liquid Mirror. Another product that absolutely raises the bar. I've used a lot of iridescent paints in recent years, and nothing else even compares for reflectivity. Even when it's relatively dark, Liquid Mirror will pick up any minimal ambient light and reflect it - it's almost phosphorescent in that respect. Washes of transparent colour on top of it barely affect the reflectivity at all. I'm told the secret ingredient is bismuth oxychloride, but let's call it what it is - magic.

Golden Iridescent Copper (Fine). I'm a little bit obsessed with copper. Even as a child I was drawn to its colour and sheen. When I built my bar in 2004, I put $500 worth of sheet copper into the top. Getting back to paint, there are many iridescent coppers, of course. I've tried 5 or 6 at last count, and I finally found what I was looking for with the Golden. So rich and vibrant it puts others to shame.

Montana Gold Spraypaint (various colours). A stunning array of colours, seemingly endless cans of paint, and a system of interchangeable nozzles in a wide variety of sizes. I feel like I've barely scratched the surface of what's possible with these paints. Expect a major push in this direction in my art in 2011.

Anybody else have paint or mediums they'd like to recommend? I'm all ears.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Further to the last post, here's another shot of the red metalflake:

Just added a layer of clear (Liquitex Pouring Medium in this particular case) yesterday, and the added depth really makes a difference. Planning to add another layer or two in the coming days.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tip #002.

Been doing a lot of thinking and reading about paint the past few days. My primary sources were Rheni Tauchid's superlative New Acrylics Essential Sourcebook (I've had this for awhile, but haven't delved that deeply into it till now) and a growing library of car magazines. Now, if you're familiar with custom cars at all, you've probably seen how a well-done metalflake job looks like it's a mile deep - essentially there are transparent layers of rich colour laid down over a base that has tiny pieces of metal (or mica) suspended in it.

I'm currently in the middle of new batch of paintings, and as fate would have it, I want a background treatment for one that resembles candyapple metalflake red. I've got any number of acrylic colours, texture gels and grounds, but I had my heart set on micaceous iron oxide for a base. From what I hear this miraculous substance, in addition to providing all sorts of chromatic variation effects, is a formidable protective coating.

I say "from what I hear" because I was unsuccessful in my attempts to track some down, despite the efforts of a helpful sales associate at Opus.

Which is largely, of course, what led to my latest research. So with my thinking cap on, I came up with this recipe: a base of black gesso, a layer of black lava gel, some drybrushed highlights in Tri-Art Liquid Mirror and iridescent stainless steel paints, and finally, a series of glazes in Alizarin crimson. I may yet add a protective layer or two of clear gloss gel for added depth, but that remains to be seen at the moment.

So, to make a long story short ("too late!"), my solution worked just fine. Have a look at this photo:

Towards the corner, that's just the glaze over the lava gel, and moving left there's a band of the stainless steel, followed by the Liquid Mirror. I'd call that a successful experiment. Playing mad scientist is one of the best parts of painting with a medium as advanced as acrylics.

ADDENDUM: Now that I've given this some more thought, there's another potential solution: a base coat of the Liquid Mirror, then the lava gel, and then the crimson glaze. May have to try this option out as well.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Today's Post Was Brought to You by the Number 3.

Just a quick blog post before I call it a night - er, morning. Today (that is, Tuesday) marks my 313th straight day of creating art. I did almost break my streak in the last couple months, though. I was so caught up in work-related stuff one day that drawing barely even entered my mind. Fortunately, I happened to do a quick 5-minute thumbnail in the middle of all the madness, and so that day was saved.

There's another place that the number 3 factors in - today I wrapped up a couple more cars for the book. The total number completed is now 30. Yep, we're 60% of the way there. Without further ado, here are the cars in question:

That one's a heavily-modified '69 Chevy Z28 Camaro. I call it the Z28 Speedster.

And that one's a '63 Ford Galaxie. Initially started for a commission that's apparently fallen by the wayside, but at least a decent illustration came out of it. There's also a version of it in my calendar.

As always, thanks for reading.

Bret Taylor
November 9, 2010