Article Photo

Tarnos’ pigmented art is a celebration of colour

01 Jul 2020

As a house painter by day and an artist by night, Tarnos McNab’s paintbrush might as well be  permanently attached to his hand. He creates his colourful masterpieces with raw earth pigments and Resene Qristal Clear, as well as oil on canvas.

Tarnos got into poly resins back in 2000, and the one thing he struggled with was getting his paintings light fast (resistant to fading). “I went through four different ideas of successful failures using resins because they weren’t light fast. I was hanging these beautiful artworks on the wall and I’d come in six weeks later and all the colour was gone,” he says. “I went through every possible product on the shelf, and then I came across Resene Qristal Clear. I can now guarantee that my artworks can stay on someone’s wall and not fade away.”

 
Tarnos McNab is passionate about colour, and his art reflects it. Using raw pigments, he creates colourful masterpieces inspired by refracted light, finishing them off with Resene Qristal Clear to help them maintain their vibrancy.

He’s been painting for more than 20 years. After he left school, he studied at Unitec where he was one of the first students of the Visual Communication Design programme. At the time, he was proficient in illustration with an interest in landscape art. However, inspired by Andy Warhol and other American artists he soon decided to break away from drawing and explore the abstract world.

 
This work has been coated with Resene Qristal Clear to help protect the pigments from fading. Try Resene Half Resolution Blue, Resene Havoc and Resene Marzipan for a similar look.

He’s been painting for more that 20 years. After he left school, he studied at Unitec where he was one of the first students of the Visual Communication Design programme. At the time, he was proficient in illustration with an interest in landscape art. However, inspired by Andy Warhol and other American artists he soon decided to break away from drawing and explore the abstract world.

“I was inspired by all those artists in California, as well as Andy Warhol, and the deconstructionism of everything. But what I really wanted to explore was the beauty of colour and light and refraction within a landscape - I wanted to make something a bit more magnificent. I explored using lacquers and I really took on Ralph Hotere’s work, which are lacquer-based works,” he says.

Tarnos was born deaf. He heard for the first time when he was four years old when he was finally fitted with a hearing aid. He credits his enhanced senses in these early years for his keen observant eye.


Tarnos collects pigments from his travels for his works. Here, he’s used the bright clash of red, pink and orange to make a statement. Try Resene Roadster, Resene Lipstick and Resene West Side for a similar look.

His works are constantly getting bigger and brighter and travel is a huge inspiration for his work. In India he discovered new pigments and materials and in Fiji he was inspired by the reefs to create a series on the relationship we have with our environment. He even took one of his paintings and photographed it underwater.

In 2018 he took Resene paints to Fiji for an art workshop with the kids in the Yasawa Islands. Entirely funded by Tarnos himself, each of the kids created and took home their own piece of art on canvas.

“I’d love to go back and do it again,” he says. “It was all about getting the kids into art to understand the beauty of the environment they live in.”

images Tarnos McNab