Distillation: A Bit About My Process

I walk outdoors almost every day. Sometimes it’s in the semi-rural areas where I live, sometimes in the city or urban parks, sometimes on trails, or at the beach. Nature never disappoints.

As I’m walking I find I’m particularly open visually.

The rhythm and repetitiveness of the activity seems to create open space in your mind. I notice things.

Grass and Ice Photo

Sometimes I take pictures, or make a quick sketch on my phone. 

Colorful grasses, photo by Janet Taylor

This walk, this immersion, becomes my daily source of raw material and energy. 

I take those mental images or photos back to the studio and I live with them.

I draw them. I repeat them, and explore them, and re-iterate them in sketchbooks and painting studies, trying to express the moment of clarity that drew me to them originally. (As I’ve done this over the years, I notice how many times a similar pattern or motif will occur in different subjects.)

Grasses sketch by Janet Taylor

Sketch by Janet Taylor

Sketchbook pile in the studio of Janet Taylor

The process of exploring and re-iterating these subjects seems to embed them into my mental vocabulary. Once this happens, the motifs emerge almost unconsciously while I am working and are repeated in my prints and paintings.

Day 7/100, painting study by Janet Taylor

When I move on to making my final works, I try to directly express my experience of being alive in the world.

I’m not trying to paint a picture of a particular scene, but neither am I relying solely on expressing my emotions, or exploring the materials, although both of these play a role.

Summer Minute by Janet Taylor

Instead, I am using these abstracted impressions to make work that I hope creates a resonance in the viewer—that they recognize these motifs on a deep level and feel something of their own relationship with nature and with others as a part of it.

BTW, that last painting is part of a small group of tiny paintings that will drop into the shop on February 4th, so sign up for my list if you want first access.