Brent Laycock – Friday Night Guest – Friday, January 7, 2022
( Submitted by Desiree Toom)
Our first Friday Night Guest of 2022 was Brent Laycock, who zoomed in from his home base in Calgary, Alberta. Brent is inspired by the varied, surrounding landscape of mountains, rivers and prairies and captures these majestic scenes with his acrylic and watercolour paintings. He received an MFA at Brigham Young University in Utah and is a member of several art societies including the Alberta Society of Artists, the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour, the Society of Canadian Artists, and the Royal Canadian Academy of Art. He has collected numerous awards and his art has been exhibited both nationally and internationally.
Brent gave a brief lesson on the elements and principals of art demonstrated by well known Canadian artists. With elements, he contrasted the control of shapes like something that is loose and messy, with Lawren Harris’s work with controlled, geometric shapes that are fundamentally powerful. Tom Thompson’s work was used to describe the use of colour, an exciting and challenging element. His use of colourful, simple shapes make his paintings dance with colour. With other artists, he demonstrated texture is important as with the solid, sharp edges of rocks, fluffy leaves of trees and the smooth, or rough flow of water. Form looks at the 2D, 3D relationships between shapes and colours and how things work together. Finally, space deals with how the eye is led through the painting using these elements and perspective. The principals of painting design were also described. A painting by Emily Carr was used to discuss contrast – a contrast of values with a white church and a dark forest background, a contrast of shapes – simple and busy, active and quiet. Other examples were given demonstrating the principals of movement, repetition, rhythm, emphasis, proportion, balance, unity and harmony.
With all these aspects to deal with, so many decisions to make, how does one actually start a painting? Brent assured us that this is only meant to be a guide in doing something artish, using certain elements to make the painting more interesting and powerful.
Brent went on to demonstrate his own process. He may paint outdoors and /or take a photograph of the landscape to finish in the studio. The photograph is useful as then you do not have to reset your painting with the changing light conditions. In the studio, you have more control over the photographic process, using the computer to crop and adjust. Then, with diluted acrylic paint and a large paintbrush (2-3”) he would lay down the main shapes with carefree and loose brushwork on the canvas. He would think about the tonal study in his head. This was the basis for his under painting. He explained that painting directly on the white canvas with transparent paints would give a more luminous painting – a key element in developing his own unique personal style. He then would use smaller brushes with more opaque paint, controlling edges and colour to add structure and detail in the foreground. Here, he was free to shuffle elements around, play with colour and shapes, to make a good painting out of perhaps a not so good photograph.
Brent finished off his talk with more tips and tricks, and answered audience questions. There are instructional DVD’s (available on his website below) that feature his painting techniques and explain his process in detail. Thank you for an excellent presentation!