Annie Taylor – Artist

Annie Taylor is currently represented by  Courcoux & Courcoux in Stockbridge, UK and has been making art full time for the last 5 years. Her web details are here…

http://www.annie-taylor.comhttp://creativerollercoaster.blogspot.com

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Annie in the studio © Annie Taylor 2010+

What are the main medium/s you work in…
I work in oil on canvas, mostly large format 1 metre +, although I am trying to control this urge! Smaller paintings definitely get more house room.

Artist’s statement…
I have been passionate about the natural world since I was very small. My work is about that passion: not just the silence, the peace, the nurture for the spirit that the countryside can provide, but also its opposite face which can be harsh, threatening and wild.

Patterns in different landscapes have also intrigued me and guided my work, from the gentle, rolling patchwork downs and fields of Dorset in England, to the rugged, harsh mountains of the countryside where I live in France, these patterns have helped me to find my painter’s ‘voice’.


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Red Mountain, oil on canvas 60 x 76 © Annie Taylor 2010+

What are you currently working on?
I am working on a series of paintings looking at mountain summits. I have lived surrounded by mountains for the last three years and it is only now that I am beginning to find what I want to say about them.

How important is art for you?
Art has always been essential and central to my life and since becoming a full time professional artist I find that painting is actually vital to my daily existence.


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Le Canigou, 100 x 100, oil on canvas © Annie Taylor 2010+

What did you do before or during becoming an artist?
I started painting when I lived in America for three years. Together with a friend, I opened a studio and art gallery on the North Shore of Long Island. The studio enabled me to study and work alongside established professional painters. When I returned to the UK with a daughter to raise, the financial pressure was on and so the brushes had to be put aside. I started a PR and event management company in London and specialised in film, theatre and television representing clients at the Cannes Film Festival for a number of years.

In 1990 I moved out of London, back to my roots in the West of England and started producing large outdoor festivals.

Finally, when daughter Beth went off to Art School, I was really envious! The temptation to get back to painting was overwhelming and in 2003 I took the decision to work at it full time. Initially I studied with Dorset artist Clare Shepherd, receiving a grant from Arts Matrix to work with her in a mentoring scheme. I have now been working full time as a painter since 2005 and have exhibited in one woman and group shows in London and the South West of England.


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Giant’s Head, Oil on canvas 102 x 76 © Annie Taylor 2010+

Is there any one thing, which has given you a big buzz in your art career so far?
My first exhibition was a three woman show in a gallery near Bath and to my amazement I sold 9 canvasses, all for pretty good prices. Invitations from other galleries followed. Since that time I get a huge buzz from the letters and emails I get from people who buy my work and contact me to tell me how much they are enjoying it.

Did the place where you grew up have an influence?
I grew up in the countryside in the south west of England, a place surrounded by woods and fields where my childhood was spent building tree houses and splashing about in streams. Even now I find I am most at peace outside and trees in particular continue to hold a very special place in my heart, they feature in a lot of my work.

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Blithe Spirit, Oil on Canvas, 90 x 60 © Annie Taylor 2010+

Was there a big turning point in your art journey that caused you to think that “it’s all worthwhile”, or “oh yeah I get it…”?

Actually, I think if you aspire to be a really good artist I wonder whether you ever really arrive at that point? I think it is a never-ending journey. I suppose there have been a number of paintings along the way that I call my ‘gateway’ pieces where I have found something that seemed to move me on, but I am always hoping the next painting will be the ‘really good one’ and I hope I will always feel that way!

Has your work changed much since your early efforts?
Yes my work has changed a great deal – that is inevitable if you are painting nearly every day. The work has a much more confident feel to it now and I am ready to hold my head up among my peers. I know I exhibited far too early in London when I was offered a solo show right at the start and I do hope people who saw it then will come back for a second look now I have moved on so much.

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Morning on Breeze Hill, oil on canvas 102 x 76 © Annie Taylor 2010+

Does the “creative process” happen easily for you?
No, not always and I suspect there are very few artists for whom it does. But I discipline myself to get into the studio every day, no matter how I am feeling and if necessary I will spend days just drawing until something occurs.

How important do you think craftsmanship is to artistic creation?
I think it is very important. It saddens me every time I see young artists who feel that sensational art is all that is necessary. I can’t help feeling they are missing out on one of life’s huge pleasures – perfecting and honing a skill, training the eye, knowing that you are getting better and better as time goes by.

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Meditation, 100 x 75 © Annie Taylor 2010+

Working towards an exhibition, is it a daunting task?
No I love it. I really work well if I have a deadline or a goal in sight.

Some say the lifespan of many “artists”, post educationally, is about five years, any thoughts on that?
Rubbish! I could cite many examples among the artists hall of fame, but frankly if I thought that was the case, why would I be driven to work at getting better?

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Edge of the Downs, 102 x 76 © Annie Taylor 2010+

Tell us about getting caught in a creative “slump” and how you got out of it?
I did have a really bad few months last year. I simply could not get inspired and everything I tried seemed to fail dismally. I just kept at it, drawing, re-working old canvasses, returning to familiar subjects to see if I could find a new approach, but above all I kept up with other artist friends and arranged to meet two of them on a monthly basis for a joint studio session. We looked at the work of different artists and at each other’s work, painted together and went out sketching. Then I tried a number of new approaches to how I was working and that gave me the impetus to get out of the slump.

Do you go into any contemporary art prizes, if so why?
I am just beginning to look at this area. I feel ready to put my work forward for competition now and I think that selection for a recognised show should be part of the marketing mix which will hopefully lead to opening more gallery doors.

Technology (websites and social networking sites to name a few) has become an important marketing tool for many industries and individuals, what are your thoughts from a “You Inc” perspective and your art sensibility.

The internet is obviously an essential marketing tool these days and huge numbers of artists now have websites, facebook pages, blogs, etc., I have had my website from the start 5 years ago and have largely used it as an instant ‘portfolio’ of my work and I have also managed to sell a few paintings via the site as well. However, there are issues around the easy infringement of copyright that are beginning to concern me more now.

Do you work from life, or from photographs or from imagination or some other method?
I work from life and imagination. I may start a landscape en plein aire, but prefer to take it back to the studio to allow my imagination to come into play as I am not particularly interested in photo realism. As I am exploring the use of glazing I often work on several canvasses at the same time in the studio.

How do you establish your art work prices?

I’ve written two blogs on this very subject and have had some interesting contributions from fellow artists: http://creativerollercoaster.blogspot.com

Tough and resilient, soft and fragile?

Nature has these opposite qualities, which, as I have said, is what attracts me to trying to capture that in my work. It is what has driven me to paint, but it is no good just stacking up finished canvasses in the studio, they have to be sold. The art marketplace is vastly over subscribed which means that trying to make any sort of impact requires dedication and persistence. I have had to be tough and resilient in my life, but this career as an artist is different in one important respect, it exposes the soft and fragile side of me: every time I show my work I am vulnerable. Exhibiting exposes your soul and puts the ego at risk – it is like dancing in public in the nude!

All Annies works are Copyright 2010+

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Compiled and edited by Steve Gray © 2009+

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