5 Questions For: Steve TaylorFeatured artist in Aldridge Gardens gallery
Hoover’s Steve Taylor has always been intrigued by watercolor, but he didn’t pick up a brush and try it himself until he battled lung cancer about six years ago. As an architect, he already had much experience with sketching. The first watercolor painting he did featured his father. After that, he was hooked. One of his favorite places to paint is at Lake Martin on the weekends. Taylor’s watercolor pieces will be featured in the Aldridge Gardens gallery and available for purchase through October and November. A Meet the Artist reception with Taylor will be held Oct. 10 from 6-7 p.m. “It’s quite an honor to get selected for Aldridge Gardens, even if it was serendipity,” Taylor, 65, says.
What is your preferred medium, and why?
My preferred medium is watercolor. Primarily because of the inherent qualities, or ‘personalities’ associated with fluid pigments. Sometimes, it’s like dancing with ‘Sybil’. One moment everything is in harmony but then it can turn on you in an instant. There is a special sereneness about working with a wet medium on semi-wet paper. Transparent pigments take on a life of their own as they mix and blend with one another while still in a fluid state. For me, painting with watercolor requires total concentration, almost a meditative state. The drawing is just as important as the painting because of the transparent nature of watercolor. A lot of marks will be visible in a finished painting due to the transparency of the medium, so the character of a painting can very well be established before the first stroke of a brush.
Where have you shown your work in the past? Have you received awards or recognition?
My painting has been a place for me to go on early weekend mornings. I have only been painting for about six years when an illness interrupted a very hectic, profession-oriented life. Since then, you can find me on Lake Martin on the weekends in a small ‘cabin’ painting while the sun rises. It has always been a very personal thing. I really didn’t pursue any competitions or recognitions, although, as with anything that you do, validation from one’s peers can be encouraging. That brought me to join the National Watercolor Society, and the Watercolor Society of Alabama. I have paintings that have exhibited in the NWS National Exhibition, and the National, and State WSA Exhibitions, and have recently attained Signature status with the WSA. Some of my paintings have been published in the Lake Martin Living Magazine and I have had one previous solo exhibition at the Wine Emporium in Alexander City. Most of my paintings are hanging in the houses of family and friends. I have completed many portraits of grandchildren and pets with many more to do.
What outside influences show up in your artwork?
I am a realist painter primarily due to my interest in detail. Being an architect, I’m sure that would be considered an occupational thing, although I will exercise artistic license now and then. My favorite watercolor artists are Dean Mitchell, Robert Brindley, and David Curtis. Mitchell is more a studio artist where Brindley and Curtis are both plein air artists. Plein air painting is a favorite of mine, although I don’t do as much as I would like. There is something about catching one moment in a two hour sitting that is captivating.
What should people expect to see in the pieces you chose for your exhibit at Aldridge Gardens?
It’s going to take about all of the paintings that I still have to fill the space, so there will be a potpourri of subject matter. There will be paintings from scenes around the lake and from photos taken on trips or provided by friends. There will also be portraits of family, friends, and pets. I will paint anything that catches my attention long enough to finish.
What are your thoughts or feelings when you look back at your work? Do certain pieces remind you of a memory or season of your life?
Every painting creates its’ own memories. The first watercolor that I completed was a portrait of my Dad. I sat down the day that he passed away and didn’t get up until it was finished. Needless to say, there was more moisture on that paper than just tap water. It remains a favorite of mine. I have been very fortunate throughout my life to be able to create things. I have been asked as an architect, what I felt when I enter buildings that I designed. The answer is the same as a mentor of mine, Mr. Don Morrison, told me many years ago, “I think of what could have been done differently to make it better.”