|THE ARTIST IN SITU|
I learned of British painter Stephen Taylor from a book by Alain de Botton titled “The Pleasures and the Sorrows of Work.”
Taylor, wrote de Botton, “has spent much of the last two years in a wheat field in East Anglia repeatedly painting the same oak tree under a range of different lights and weathers. He was out in two feet of snow last winter and this summer, at three in the morning, he lay on his back tracing the upper branches of the tree by the light of a solstice moon.”
“Oak: One Tree, Three Years, Fifty Paintings” (2012) is Taylor’s own book, his own words about his work.
Taylor, who was born in 1958, encountered the tree while grieving the deaths of both parents and a girlfriend, all within the same year.
At the Essex boarding school where he was employed as resident artist, he was drawn to stories of death and rebirth. He did some paintings of crucifixions. Gradually he realized something was missing, “a constant from my childhood life — the countryside.
“I certainly had a sense of place, and I had shared it with others. But I had not created a sense of how thousands of smaller worlds exist within a panorama — each with its own character.”
He had already painted and taught for many years. He had done Ph.D. research on the English landscape painter John Constable.
Out walking in the countryside one day, he was “overpowered by a feeling that something in this very ordinary tree was crying out to be set down to paint, and that if he could only do it justice, his life would in indistinct ways be redeemed, and its hardships sublimated.”
READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.
|FROM STEPHEN TAYLOR'S "SMALL OAK" SERIES. |
© STEPHEN TAYLOR, STEPHENTAYLORPAINTINGS.COM