Painting a humble house… an artist yearns for simplicity

Night City 1, 16" x 20", acrylic, Karen Gillis Taylor

Night City 1, detail from original 16″ x 20″ painting, acrylic, Karen Gillis Taylor

I began to paint cities and “the little townhouse” motif about 2005. Painting from imagination usually draws upon memories, and this humble building looks very much like the home of a nice Austrian lady named Mrs. Pingerra, the sister of a family friend. My friend Terry and I stayed with her on our college backpacking trip through Europe. Mrs. P. lived in Bischofschofen, Austria, near Salzburg. Of all the many places in Europe Terry and I visited that wonderful summer, I put Austria as my favorite. A humble house is an amazing place in which to take refuge when you have the breathtaking Alps out your door.

Shimmertown Tree, oil, 8 x 10", Karen Gillis Taylor

Shimmertown Tree, oil, 8 x 10″, Karen Gillis Taylor

Somehow I took ownership of this little townhouse. It became a home I could call my own, both in paintings and in my imagination.

Ski Town print 1, 8 x 10", mixed media, from Shimmertown shop, Etsy

Ski Town print 1, detail from 8 x 10″ print, mixed media, from Shimmertown shop, Etsy

This ski town painting reminds me of walking back to a place to stay in the Colorado mountains, after a long day of skiing and good fun, snow falling lightly.

Drawing idea for painting, ink, 2013, from sketchbook during travels to Abiquiu, New Mexico

Drawing idea for painting, ink, 2013, from sketchbook during travels to Abiquiu, New Mexico

I made this little sketch from memory after visiting artist Georgia O’Keefe’s homes in Abiquiu, New Mexico. Count me in league with Georgia and all the many painters who found New Mexico irresistible for its light and alluring adobe dwellings. Staying in a historic casa at my friend Judy’s home on Canyon road in Santa Fe over the years has built a love of simple dwellings inside my soul.

Cat in Santa Fe Print, on Etsy, 8 x 10", from acrylic painting by Karen Gillis Taylor

Cat in Santa Fe Print,  Shimmertown shop on Etsy, 8 x 10″, from acrylic painting  of Judy’s home in Santa Fe, by Karen Gillis Taylor

I’m beginning to see that the attraction of painting my favorite humble homes has a lot to do with where those homes dwell.

Photo of Georgia O'Keefe's home in Abiquiu by Annie Leibovitz

Photo of Georgia O’Keefe’s home in Abiquiu by Annie Leibovitz

Simplicity is a resounding theme when visiting the O’Keefe home in Abiquiu, New Mexico. If you go solo, you can get into the tour sometimes, at the spur of the moment. Lucky me, that’s how I got in that day.

Blue city sketch idea for painting, blue in on watercolor paper, KGT

Blue city sketch idea for painting, blue in on watercolor paper, KGT

I’m now developing the abstract bent in my new paintings. The “traveling moon” in the sky of the “Blue City” sketch suggests changing views in time that does not stand still.

Detail from cityscape art quilt, Karen Gillis Taylor

Detail from cityscape art quilt, Karen Gillis Taylor

When the sky is the “starring attraction”, as in a similar “Starry Night” painting by Van Gogh, a house is a place to stay, hopefully with a window view to nature. That is my ideal home, someplace near nature, where a person can walk outside and see the sky at it’s best, most inspirational creation.

"My Airstream", digital art, Karen Gillis Taylor, 2013

“My Airstream”, digital art, Karen Gillis Taylor, 2013

What is my attraction to the Airstream mobile home I seem to enjoy? Here is one of my theories: As a child, one of my first inspirational stories was the book, The Boxcar Children, by Gertrude Warner. These four orphaned children create a home for themselves in an abandoned boxcar in the forest. It’s a tale of independence and bravery of children to find their way. They make do with what they can find on their own, and manage to find work for their living by the oldest brother. This little book painted a picture for me. It probably gave me a road to follow, a reason to believe I could make my own way in life, even if I was starting out as a child.

In the end, I want a simple life with the ability to make art and be very close to nature, the greatest of all my inspiration. A nice warm home is everyone’s need, and I hope to enjoy that home with a view of the sky and beauty. The excessive trappings of a so-called civilized life might be more of a burden for an artist in the end.

What does a painter really need to pursue their working life? I’m figuring this out as I go along, what do you think about it? please share…

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2 Responses to “Painting a humble house… an artist yearns for simplicity”

  1. magicinthewoods Says:

    I love the colours and textures in your work. I thought the art quilt was a collage painting. Beautiful. Yes, I’ve always kept my life simple, a small house on a treed lot, a few minutes from a wild wood, and the beach with 30 small islands floating in the bay. Though I have to look over the neighbours’ roofs to see the sky, they are great people and we watch over each other. There’s time for art, but never ever enough as the stuff of life keeps wrestling me away.

    Like

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