Can your own painting speak back to your heart?

Western Sky, digital study for new oil landscape, Karen Gillis Taylor

Late last night I sat down in the studio in front of my 40 x 30″ newly begun abstract landscape painting, trying to understand why I like it and what I might be saying through it.  It seems peaceful and “solid” to me so far. Is the enduring, real life southwest sunset landscape something that brings me joy in a hectic world? (I hope to show it soon, still a work in progress in oil.)

Here’s something from R. Henri’s Art Spirit book I just read, “There are pictures that manifest education and there are pictures that manifest love.” I want to paint for love of what I see, what is important in life. I would tell students to study and paint all their lives, but to seek something heartfelt in the work, always.

David Barbero painting, 1938-1999

I first saw David Barbero’s paintings at the Ernesto Mayans Gallery on Canyon Road, in Santa Fe. They speak joy of color and peace to me, at the same time. No wonder I like them so.

The progress of “Abstract Vista” in the studio, KGTaylor

From digital color sketch, to mixing paint, to getting first layers down on the canvas. A larger canvas will take more time, bigger brushes.

Sunset skies for inspiration and heartfelt peace. The camera is always ready to capture skies, and I study them often.

Noticing that clouds can really be, well, brown! My color sketch is not so “different” after all.

Mesa Verde, Colorado, cliff dwellings

Everything we see puts a stamp on our hearts, if it strikes a chord within. Our family visit to Mesa Verde sketched warm tones not forgotten.

Mesas and Crosses, oil, 9 x 12″ oil on board, Karen Gillis Taylor

One day I sketched some thumbnails based on the cross motif, sitting in the warm sun at my friend Judy’s courtyard on Canyon Road. This painting shows influence of the “Chief’s Blanket” weavings I find inspiring. Small paintings are just as important as larger ones in the life of a painter. I learned some things from this one.

Heart of Old Town, acrylic painting, (sold) Karen Gillis Taylor

The color palette is so similar in this recent cityscape I made last year. Although the composition and brushwork are more complex, I feel it conveys a peace and warmth that keeps me working on. I want my art to bring those concepts to others. If I need and treasure these things in life, won’t others appreciate them too?

Fire in the Evening, 1929, Paul Klee

This painting is abstract and full of life. It is one of my favorites by Klee. When we are influenced by the work of a master of another century, it’s very special. We look, we drink it in, and then it goes into our heart and memory. We educate ourselves with the richness of seeing the world of art around us, but then it’s up to us to make something for love.


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