#GetCreativeWithPorsche: Painting cars
In part five of the #GetCreativeWithPorsche lockdown series, pop-art king Tim Layzell shares the secrets behind his unusual but enviable career.
In a small artist’s studio south of Bath in the west of England, Tim Layzell spends his days lost in a bygone world of vintage racing; the sounds, the colours, the speed and the danger brought back to life by brushstroke. In a relatively short time, Tim has become one of the foremost automotive artists in the world, sought after by a growing band of serious collectors for his unique, dynamic style and intimate, rigorous knowledge of the subject.
My parents used to watch vintage sports car club races with my older brother, and I was taken to Wiscombe and Prescott hillclimbs. From the age of about three, my mum would lay the paints out on the kitchen floor and I’d be drawing Bugattis, ERAs or D-Type Jags.
Developing his artistic style
“I started painting for fun,” he explains, but at the age of 13 I won the British Racing Drivers’ Club award to find a new motoring artist. I was exhibiting with all the top artists of the time, who’d been painting since the 1960s and 70s, so that really kicked it off. After that it was like my alternative to a paper round really, and every year from then on I would exhibit.
Still at school, Tim was gradually developing his artistic style, insisting on painting cars to the chagrin of his art teachers. Today, his preferred period is post-war, from the 1950s through to the 1970s – for many the golden age of sportscar racing.
“When it comes to paint, I’ve always worked with acrylics, on canvas. I work quite quickly, which doesn’t lend itself to oil paint because they take so long to dry. It sounds strange to say it, but I’ve been on tight deadlines since I was about 15 years old, and oils would never have dried in time for an exhibition.
If it’s a classic car with racing pedigree I’ll look carefully at the history and discuss with the client the ideal race to concentrate on. Then I’ll do some preliminary sketches using different angles to see what works best for them and the car.
If you’ve chosen a certain moment in a certain race, you have to make sure everything is as accurate as possible: from the light at that time of day, to the advertising hoardings of that period. And cars can look completely different from qualifying one day to the race the next. Things might have been changed or been added overnight, like more louvres to improve cooling, or different wheels. I’ll even try to find out if the car had any accident damage during the race.
Find your style
It’s important that you find your own voice and look. I suggest you paint a period you’re passionate about – it’s the age-old adage about doing what you love and loving what you do. It will show in your work if you’re particularly passionate about the subject.
“I use a period palette, with powdery, vintage colours like greens and blues. You can tone it in so many different directions with reds, blues and greens. Whatever you do, make your painting bright and bold. Don’t just place your car on a bit of tarmac – make sure it is doing something interesting. I tend to avoid wild oversteer, but most of my cars are in four-wheel drifts, so the wheels won’t be in line with the road. There are techniques to make a car look like it’s going quickly: angle it up a bit.
“When it comes to the driver, have him or her tilting themselves over, because again it makes the viewer do the same, almost willing the car around the corner.
May 04, 2020 at 22:15