Voices of Experience - Bryan Mark Taylor

Voices of Experience

Bryan Mark Taylor

Ballaro Fruit Market, Oil, © Bryan Mark Taylor
Ballaro Fruit Market              14 x 18"               Oil

   Widely traveled artist Bryan Mark Taylor has a diversity of skills and talents. In addition to winning top awards both nationally and internationally, Taylor lectures and teaches, co-founding the Sentient Academy and Vision X global art conference. Artists may also know Taylor as the developer of the popular Strada easel. He shared with us paintings from his world travels, notes on his painting process, the beginnings of his artistic journey, and his thoughts for students beginning their journey on the artist's road.

I think the essence of being an artist is sitting down, doing the work, and enjoying the process. You need to be comfortable being alone for hours on end because it takes time and sacrifice to hone your craft, and there are no shortcuts if you want to produce anything of quality. It will greatly help your trajectory if you can find a good school or mentor to study with as long as you are willing to accept critical feedback in order to improve. There will be brief moments of acclaim, but the day-to-day work in the studio is where you will find the greatest satisfaction.

Temple Rock, 20 x 14", Oil, © Bryan Mark Taylor 
Temple Rock               20 x 14"               Oil

   As a child, I had an intense love for the outdoors and enjoyed hiking, backpacking, and fishing in the Rocky Mountains, which eventually led to my interest in landscape painting. My parents were supportive, and I was able to begin private painting and drawing lessons around the age of ten. I had the privilege to take classes from a wide variety of teachers. However, I didn't study with one particular artist for too long because I wanted to develop my own individual style. However, some teachers like Huihan Liu remain good friends.

   Were you able to become a full-time painter after finishing your formal education, or did you work at other jobs to support your art?

   I began selling my work and doing shows before graduating from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, so I could hit the ground running in 2005. I did some part-time teaching for the AAU for a few years after graduation to add a little stability to my income. Then, early on, I started participating in as many plein air festivals and competitions as possible, allowing me to meet new collectors and some gallery owners.

   What landscapes have been particularly inspirational to you? 

   I enjoy painting subjects in Utah, where I grew up and lived, and California, where I spent most of my adult life. In particular, I love California's cities (especially San Francisco), coastlines, and the Rocky Mountains' farm country.

Bay Area Twilight, 12 x 12", Oil, ©Bryan Mark Taylor
Bay Area Twilight               12 x 12"               Oil

   There are so many beautiful places to travel to, but I think Italy is still my favorite because I lived there in my late teens and early 20s and learned the language. However, I've enjoyed other places aside from European and North and South American countries—India and China, for example. Their cultures are so different from what we are used to here in the west, and there are many beautiful things to paint in these places.

   Most of the time, when traveling, I paint small plein air pieces on site to help gather color notes that I use in the studio to create larger paintings. I use the small study to inform my color choices, and photographs to add information I’ll use in the larger image.

San Diego Sunset , 30 x 30", Oil, © Bryan Mark Taylor
San Diego Sunset               30 x 30"               Oil

Downtown LA, 36 x 36", Oil, © Bryan Mark Taylor
Downtown LA               36 x 36"               Oil

   Will you share with us your typical palette pigment colors and other materials you use?

   My current palette is Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson Permanent, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, and Viridian. I use a variety of brushes, including a 1” synthetic wash brush I use in almost every painting. I have a set of brushes I regularly use from Trekel.

   I’ve explored many mediums but have found oil to be the most dynamic and forgiving. Oils are great because they can simulate other mediums like watercolor, acrylic, or pastel.

Loire Valley Twilight, 36 x 48", Oil, © Bryan Mark Taylor
Loire Valley Twilight               36 x 48"               Oil

   One of my recently completed pieces is called Loire Valley Twilight. This piece was based on a plein air sketch made in 2018 and featured a degree of realism. However, it is a carefully composed piece where I had to arrange, invent and redesign all the elements to make the composition work. This includes colors, values as well as the individual components in the painting. For example, the boats in the foreground were entirely made up based on the general types of vessels you’d find along the river. The values were also carefully executed to create that specific time of day when the sun sets, and the first lights of the city come on.

New York Blues, 24 x 30", Oil, © Bryan Mark Taylor
New York Blues               24 x 30"               Oil

Rising Up, 18 x 14", Oil, © Bryan Mark Taylor
Rising Up               18 x 14"               Oil

   You have an excellent facility in taking your work to the more abstract. Are you working both representationally and abstractly simultaneously, or are you leaning toward exploring abstraction more than your representational work?

   I like to work both representationally and abstractly simultaneously because it helps me stay fresh and continue to grow and experiment with my work. I'm always interested in saying more with less. Looking for a poetic interpretation rather than rendering everything to death.

   Your imaginative landscapes are also intriguing. Have you had the opportunity to work within the movie industry, or do you think you would like to pursue that?

   I’ve done a few things for some bestselling science fiction and fantasy authors but haven’t done anything of note for the film industry yet. I’ve had some offers but have been too busy to take on the projects.

   Are you currently teaching workshops or planning to when travel is a little easier?

   Unfortunately, I’ve been too busy to teach in person for the last few years, but I have several landscape and still life courses online at Sentientacademy.com. Still not sure when I’ll have time to do more in-person teaching.

Sourdough, 12 x 12", Oil, © Bryan Mark Taylor
Sourdough               12 x 12"               Oil

Typewriter Blue, 16 x 20", Oil, © Bryan Mark Taylor
Typewriter Blue               16 x 20"               Oil

   Just for fun, if you could sit down and have a long conversation over dinner with an artist from the past, who would you choose, and why?

   I’d choose Leonardo Da Vinci. Not only was he a genius and a polymath, but I love his raw curiosity about the natural world. A mind like that never gets bored, and the conversations would be fascinating. Also, I would enjoy speaking with him in his native language.  

To see more of Bryan Mark Taylor's paintings,

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All artwork copyright Bryan Mark Taylor

Copyright Hulsey Trusty Designs, L.L.C. (except where noted). All rights reserved.
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