Wednesday 16 March 2016
Annie Taylor Landscape Painter: TIME TO WRITE ANOTHER BLOG!: Two paintings in the new © Flight of Fantasy series It's been far too long since I put type to paper! I've been writing the...
Saturday 5 March 2016
Two paintings in the new © Flight of Fantasy series
It's been far too long since I put type to paper! I've been writing the odd article for a magazine for Dorset Artists, but other than that over the past few months I have been focusing on my work, exploring new directions and finding ways to avoid the pitfalls of my work becoming stale. Before this recent push I was very stuck and I really wasn't enjoying my time in the studio, but once I realised that I had fallen into the trap of painting to my market that explained why I was no longer enjoying the process. Last Autumn with that in mind I began work on a series of paintings that have been more experimental - a transition to some work that is a little more surreal and I have been trying to move forward with more along the same lines.
Needless to say, not all of the work that I have produced since then has come out quite as I hoped. But I think I am finding the dream like quality that I want for most of the paintings that I am producing. I am definitely happier with the quality of the paint and a sense that I am continuing to experiment. The two above were the turning point. You can see a lot more of the new work on my website: http://annie-taylor.com
Tuesday 27 May 2014
© Lazy days - Canal du Midi 70 x 70 oil on canvas
A friend came to see my Dorset Art Weeks open studio exhibition today and reminded me that I hadn’t written a blog for a very long time - the title for the last one ‘Pursuing the elusive’ seemingly had a double meaning! So let me set the record straight – whilst I may have been elusive I have certainly not been putting my feet up. Quite the contrary in fact as my studio has been the scene of a veritable hive of activity, with two galleries to supply here in England and this huge open Dorset studio event that I am currently part of which takes place every other year. (http://www.dorsetartweeks.co.uk)
I had to deliver work to the galleries in the Autumn, so throughout the Winter I needed to produce a lot of work for Dorset Art Weeks. However, I still managed to paint and ‘play', taking time to head off in the car with our new fold up bikes to ride along the Canal du Midi, or along the trails through the wetlands just behind the Mediterranean between Narbonne and the Spanish border. The days out helped to feed the imagination and a new series of paintings featuring the Canal have been the result.
These were prompted by the sad news that many of the grand old Plane trees that line the canal banks are likely to be felled as they are diseased with some new virus.
Painting water has been an interesting challenge for me. Following on from the tunnel theme that preceded this series – the water adds a different dimension to the theme, completing the sense of the tunnel through the reflections. I am still engrossed with the tunnel idea and plan to get back to it on our return to France. Happily, whilst it is a quintessentially English theme, it is one that I can adapt and expand no matter where I am painting. It works on more than one level for me and can be somewhat abstracted giving me a real opportunity to work in the ‘flow’.
I have talked about the problems of getting blocked in other blogs and I think one thing has been very clear through this period of intense production and that is the importance of 'play' time to keep my work fresh and provide me with new ideas. Whilst change of style or even change of medium - are perhaps the most obvious routes to a fresh approach, I have found that just taking time out to play, walk in a beautiful place, or simply head off to explore new countryside has provided me with the necessary creative momentum. That time off away from the studio relaxing and enjoying myself has been every bit as important for my painting as standing at the easel day after day. It is that very special 'thinking space', relieving the pressure, nurturing the spirit and providing the impetus to try something completely different.
Monday 25 March 2013
PURSUING THE ELUSIVE
© Following the light
Oil on canvas 80 x 80
I come from an area in the South West of England where many of the narrow country lanes wind their way through overhanging tunnels of trees. No matter what the season, these tree tunnels with the sunlight filtering through their branches have a very special atmosphere and provide a subject that frequently draws me back.
I am working at present on a series of three tree tunnel canvasses and as on previous occasions the effect I am after is proving illusive. This is largely because I have an idea in my head of exactly what I want to achieve and that is somehow not reaching the canvas. It is a lot less frustrating not to have such a clear image in the head when starting out on a new piece, but on the other hand I have a goal in mind with this that I suspect will keep me going for another year or two!
The lattice work and patterning of the tunnels in winter is similar to the work I do on groups of trees standing stark against the horizon, but come the summer the tunnels take on a completely different identity that is more secretive and magical. They are leading you on a journey to a special hidden kingdom or perhaps a promised land.
© Still Searching
Oil on canvas 80 x 80
Thursday 28 February 2013
So I just had a really productive 6 weeks - maybe deadlines help?
© The way the wind blows
Last month I was painting at the dining room table in Dorset because it was too cold out in the studio. I'd covered the table with plastic sheeting, put cardboard under the easel and hoped that oil paint would not get all over the furniture. Hubby was away for 6 weeks, I had two big canvasses on the go for a gallery + two commissions to complete. All four pieces were very different. I had no other commitments, just the luxury of painting all day. I got up at 6.30 am, walked the dog and started work each morning by 9.30, painting steadily through the day until the light went. Bliss!
The commissions were a success, the other two paintings have been delivered to the gallery and I am now back in my main studio in France, searching for fresh inspiration. Looking back it was quite the most productive period I have experienced in the last year and I am wondering whether it was all because the work had a deadline. (Or could it just be that every time I headed out of the door I was surrounded by the countryside I love? Every time I drove anywhere new ideas presented themselves. Can it be that the muse is so fickle it deserts me when I am not in exactly the right place?)
© Have you seen the others?
I know that for me deadlines do help, I found that when I was illustrating my children's book 'Violet a Very Special Hippo'. The publisher moved the release date forward and I had a lot of illustrations to produce in a very short space of time. It focusses the attention somewhat and I have found that I often produce better work as a result. I confess, much to my surprise, that I also like commissions, there is something satisfying about fulfilling a brief. I always provide the caveat that should the client not like what I produce they do not need to buy and perhaps that alleviates the pressure a little.
Hey ho back to the easel - I need to produce some new work!
Tuesday 5 June 2012
DORSET ART WEEKS 2012
One of the best ways I know to renew your faith in yourself as a painter is to take part in an open studio event. As I have mentioned in previous blogs working in isolation so much of the time, you never know whether what you are doing has any validity or not, hence the holding of breath when you put it out there for others to see for the first time. The open studio event makes exhibiting a very personal experience where you get to see for yourself how people react to your work.
Dorset Art Weeks is one of the largest open studio events in the UK. With around 1000 artists taking part across the county this year it is a lot for people to get around in the 16 days it is on, but people come from all over the UK and spend a lot of time visiting studios right across the county. This was the fourth time I had taken part and once again it has re-invigorated me and given me a lot of food for thought for the new direction my work has taken over the past 6 months.
I have been exhibiting two very different strands of work - the more traditional mountain paintings that have come about as a result of living and working in the Pyrenees and the lighter hearted composites of life in the countryside in Dorset. It was what reception these Dorset paintings might have that was the unknown factor that was making me a little nervous but I have been very pleased at the response so far.
You can follow news of my work and new exhibitions on facebook at:
Thursday 10 May 2012
© Once upon a Landscape 100 x 100
Well yes, Spring has definitely sprung in this corner of France. After several months of hard work in the studio I have celebrated with a lovely new website put together for me by Richard Dron at Alchemie in Prades, which is so easy for me to work that it has revolutionised my web experience (http://annie-taylor.com). Then today I started a brand new page on facebook - and no, I haven't created the link here yet - although if you look for Annie Taylor Landscapes you should find me, and now, last but not least I'm getting back to my blog.
For the last few months I have been preparing for an exhibition in Dorset, England, that runs from May 26th for two weeks. It's a huge open studio event which takes place every other year. The preparation has been quite intense, but it has also been a lot of fun. "What no agonising artistic angst?" do I hear you cry - no, just paintings that make me smile! I have been having a lovely time painting stories - hence the title of the one above - Once upon a landscape. These imaginary landscapes, peopled (or even 'sheeped') are based on slightly nostalgic memories and are quite a contrast after a heavy year or two of absorbing the mountains around us here and finding different ways to interpret them.
I owe thanks in part to the wonderful David Hockney, who really got me going again after quite a long period of creative doldrums. A particularly good interview on English television about his recent landscape exhibition The Bigger Picture at the Royal Academy in London renewed my interest in the landscapes of my childhood. The exhibition itself, whilst rather overwhelming perhaps in terms of quantity was, for the most part, a celebration of brilliant colour and a permission to interpret that colour in a way that I have not done for some time.