Saturday, March 31, 2012

At Last, the Top Seekrit Revealed.

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.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dinosaur-a-Day Project, Day 11/29.

Shockingly, yet another daily-picture project has gone off the rails in a major way. Theoretically, the dinosaurs should've been done almost a month ago, but no dice. Work and life have gotten in the way, as they often do.

At any rate, I'm finally making use of the photo reference I shot at Science World last weekend. This particular beastie is from the same family as the triceratops, protoceratops and kosmoceratops. Can't for the life of me remember what it's called, but hopefully some kindly and knowledgeable dinosaur dork can fill me in:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Steinway - a Work in Progress.

Hello again, Faithful Readers. Lately I've been getting lots done on the Steinway painting (part of the upcoming Closing Time series, as you undoubtedly already know). Today I worked on putting the lettering on the piano itself. Stencil first:

Time to get my hands dirty:

The artist at work:

And finally, where things stand as of right now:

Some colour left to apply, but this piece will soon be finished for good.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Dino Show.

There is much news on the dinosaur front, my friends. Many more of them to draw - I went to the Extreme Dinosaurs 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 T-Rex 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.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Dinosaur-a-Day Project, Day 10/29.

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

Really enjoying drawing the carnivorous beasties more than the others.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

For a Dancer.

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.