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Do You Have an Artist's Eye?

Nothing is "just" anything, when you look deeper.

A lovely new hardcover book by Stephen Taylor, called Oak: One Tree, Three Years, Fifty Paintings, has 112 pages featuring 125 color illustrations. Taylor, a painter in Essex, England, was mourning the loss of his parents and a close friend when he began painting a 250-year-old oak tree at different times and in widely varying light. It's amazing that all the paintings are of the same tree.

Happily for the word-obsessed, there are plenty of brief explanations, elucidations, and expansions on the lovely color visuals, including a helpful foreword by celebrated writer Alain de Botton. A casual page-flipper tempted to say, "Oh, that tree again. So what?" will be enlightened by Taylor's words:

The exclusion of everything in the landscape but tree, sky, and crop had a condensing effect. It also resulted in a composition in three time dimensions: a slowly changing tree, a more quickly changing crop, and rapidly changing weather and light.


It interested me that Taylor uses a computer in his work, but not in the way one might expect. He takes photos of his subject, transfers the photos into Adobe Photoshop

to analyse as layers to help me discover the distribution of colours. ... Traditional oil painting also has layers: painters, like Titian, built images up from separate layers of colour, wet onto dry. This is the way I work. I use the colours from the study made outdoors to determine colours for the wet-on-dry layers that I build up on my painting in the studio.


Copyright (c) 2011 by Susan K. Perry