A Letter from Jan Taylor
Welcome to Jan Taylor Studio, my online art gallery. I hope you’ll visit again over time as new pieces are added and, if you’re in the Treasure Coast, Florida area, contact me to see some of the work. I welcome feedback from site visitors, so please don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have comments or questions.
Whether it is a landscape, seascape, or still life, I see each image I paint not just as an assemblage of forms but as a moment in time. My goal is to capture the essence of these fleeting moments: the tumbling energy of a gathering storm, a young family’s tentative steps into the surf, the beckoning invitation of a path under the shade of tall bamboo. As this suggests, a sense of motion is implicit in almost all of my work. In some works the movement is dramatic—an arcing line of gulls wheeling over a shoreline or the starkly twisting shapes of winter trees. In others works it’s subtle, coming from the small cupped shapes of petunia petals that have fallen from a vase, the curving arcs of water splashing from a fountain, or the just the energy of the brushstrokes themselves.
I work in both watercolors and oils, enjoying the contrasting possibilities offered by these two very different media. Always painted in my studio, the watercolors offer fluidity and the chance to work in delicate, translucent layers. I often (though not always) paint my oils outdoors. Working en plein air keeps me connected to the natural world that nurtures my soul and delights my eye. I love the tactile “squish” of oil paint and the freedom that its supple, slow-drying quality permits.
I also enjoy the contrasts between the two places in which I paint most often, North Carolina and Florida. Just capturing the characteristic atmosphere of each area—the haze of the Carolina mountains, the sharp brilliant light of the Florida coast—is an absorbing challenge.
My painting has been shaped in part by extraordinary teachers. Early in my career, for example, Richard Lahey helped me understand painting as a way of seeing and thinking rather than as a merely mechanical act. Later, William “Skip” Lawrence helped me learn to clarify the intent with which I approached each new painting; he also guided me to paint my emotional response to a subject and not merely the object, person or scene itself. I’m grateful to these teachers and the other gifted mentors who have helped me see both art in general, and my own work, in new ways.
Vermeer, Matisse, Robert Henri, Hans Hoffman, Sergei Bongart, Richard Schmid: the artists who inspire me most are diverse in their subjects, their personalities, their media and their techniques. Yet all of them share a passion for getting to the heart of things, for moving past mere form. As won’t surprise anyone who has seen my work, many of my favorite artists are great colorists as well. From Turner’s shimmering watercolors to the gorgeous hues of contemporary artist Wolf Kahn, these masters invite me to see and use color in new ways. Most recently, I’ve been pushing myself to limit a work’s palette without diminishing its expressive power or range.
Making art is an essential part of the rhythm of my life. Like the natural world I so often depict, it is essentially optimistic, an endless source of learning, energy, renewal, and joy. I thank you for visiting my web site, and hope you’ll share some of that joy as you view my work.