As a boy on our prairie farm in southern Alberta, I was profoundly moved by the forms of land and sky. After various studies, experiments and explorations, I was drawn back to the landscape as a source of endless inspiration.
It is a challenge to see something new in what is already familiar. For me, that search is not really to find something previously overlooked in the landscape itself, but to discover something new emerging from the canvas during the act of painting. The subject matter is merely a starting point with the hope that something dynamic will happen on the canvas. Perhaps a new colour idea, a rhythmic passage or intriguing texture will emerge, capture the viewer’s attention and evoke some feeling.
As a student, I was interested in the abstract qualities of music such as rhythm, repetition, melody, movement, contrast, harmony etc. These principles have their counterparts in visual design and are often useful in creating an abstract visual composition. Even when the subject is recognizable, a painting should possess a successful abstract composition. And, I believe, it is this underlying abstract quality of the work that actually sparks an emotional response.
But whatever technique is used, I hope that the viewer will not only see some trees, hills and water but will be able to become intrigued with sweeping passages of subtle colour, or get involved with a tangle of interwoven texture or a discover a sudden hidden jewel of colour. Creating the painting is an emotional, and I hope that in each work the viewer can experience a personal voyage of discovery.
Brent R. Laycock was born in Lethbridge, Alberta, in 1947, received an MFA at Brigham Young University in Utah, and now lives in Calgary with his wife, Kathy. They are the parents of five children.
The subject matter for much of his work comes from the variety of mountain, foothill, prairie and parkland landscapes that are accessible from his home in Calgary. Much of his landscape painting expresses his love of the panoramic expanse of earth and sky which he develops into lyrical compositions.
For most of Laycock's career, he has worked in watercolor or in acrylic using a fluid, spontaneous style whereby the paint is applied in bold direct strokes rather than conforming to a preliminary drawing. In his painting, communicating an emotional response is more important than detailed representation.
Laycock has held many solo exhibitions across Canada and in the USA and has participated in numerous juried group shows that have toured Canada, the USA , Mexico, Europe and Japan. He is a member of 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.
His work is represented in the collection of Canadian watercolours that was presented to Her Majesty's Royal Collection at Windsor Castle in 1986. In 1991, the Albert Government presented one of his watercolors to Queen Margrethe of Denmark. He has received a variety of awards for acrylic and watercolour painting. In 2006, the Province of Alberta awarded Laycock the Alberta Centennial Medal for contribution in the arts.
The major commissioned work of Brent Laycock has a surprising contrast in scale. In 1982 and 1984, he was commissioned to do small paintings of Waterton Lakes National Park and Glacier National Park for Canada Post's $1.50 and $1.00 stamps. He has produced large mural canvases for various institutions in Calgary, Lethbridge and Toronto and an outdoor historical mural in the Town of High River. He was commissioned to create a design for the large flat roof of the ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Hotel. This art work, the size of half a football field, was designed to be viewed from tall buildings or aircraft.
His work is represented in many important corporate collections, in the university collections of Brigham Young University, the University of Alberta, and in public collections such as Calgary's Civic Collection, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Glenbow-Alberta Institute, and the Mendel Art Gallery in Regina. The book Waterton: Brush & Pen features over one hundred Laycock paintings of Waterton Lakes National Park accompanied by essays by renowned author, Fred Stenson. Other articles and reproductions of his work have appeared in many Canadian and international art magazines and books. WhitePine Productions has produced a instructional DVDs featuring Laycock’s acrylic and watercolour techniques.