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Artist Profile: Patrick Taylor

Capturing the Fleeting Beauty of Light and Shadow, Color and Texture

By Ellen Samsell Salas

Fascinated by the qualities of light and its play on colors, painter Patrick Taylor says that when he was younger, he would drive around chasing it. Now, he is more patient.

“I’ll take hundreds of photos when I’m hiking or driving, then when I revisit those moments through the photos, I’ll see an effect that is so interesting that I want to paint it,” said Taylor. An adherent of the Buddhist wabi-sabi view that there is beauty in impermanence, he attempts to recreate the magic of moments.

The scenes that captivate Taylor are found in the Appalachian Mountain region that he fell in love with as a child.

“When I visit, it hits me all over again. Whenever I drive through the Smoky Mountains, recently the Shenandoah Valley, it’s stunning. The north Georgia region is absolutely gorgeous, with beautiful sunrises and sunsets,” he said.

Now a resident of Woodstock, Taylor portrays those settings, their sunrises and sunsets, rivers, forests, farmhouses, barns, and animals in a style he calls “contemporary impressionism based in realism.” Working in oils, he layers and blends tones and hues found in nature, creating hazy atmospheres that conjure possibilities of memory, mystery, hope, and peace.

“I’m trying to evoke a story that is behind the scene; it’s a romantic idea, a distant memory,” he explained.

Key to the mood of mystery and ambiguity is the translucency Taylor achieves. Light filters through trees and bounces off streams, mist rises off a mountain, and the viewer “peers through a veil of light at a memory or a calling” and enters those evanescent yet sublime moments.

“I find the light first,” Taylor explained. “I’ll do very bright Indian yellow or thin washes of French ultramarine for sky and shadow. That gives the sky depth. Those become the light areas of the piece. Then I paint shadows, very translucent. Then I go back in with turpentine or minerals, and I pull my lights back out, so that they almost blend. It creates a spiritual sense, a softness to the piece. It’s easy on your eyes, an escape from the craziness of the world.”

Taylor enhances mood by brushing out hard edges and merging colors and tones, light and shadows. Recently, he has experimented with adding layers of cold wax mixed with pigment to add depth while also adding texture.

“It creates an ethereal quality that I love,” he said. “And it quiets the busyness of scenes. Everything to me is about the feeling, the calming nature, the peace we get at first light when there’s steam on the river, or mist, or dew, or fog in the mountains. I love that peacefulness.”

You can experience Taylor’s art at High Country Art in Blue Ridge, Georgia; Bennett Galleries in Nashville, Tennessee; or virtually at and