Laura Taylor, On Painting

For me, a painting is a mysterious border territory between my inner psyche and the life a painting takes on as it evolves on the canvas. Perhaps this mirrors a life experience of expectation, disillusionment and revision.

For years I tried to work without conscious intention, surrendering myself to the alchemy of the process and the beauty of traditional materials. I sought solace in the immensity of nature and the seductive physicality of paint. But lately, since the death of my last parent, figures of family and childhood have emerged and inhabited the work like unquiet ghosts.

The imagery is gleaned seemingly at random from old photographs and brush and ink sketches that I trace over with raw sienna on a make-up applicator. Sometimes I use tracing paper and paint on it with washes of oil paint, dabbing and blotting and tracing to bring imagery to the surface. Sometimes I paint on paper prepared with white oil paint, or on prepared canvas or linen. Sometimes I project small compositions made from these sketches onto large panels and build up the painting with washes of casein and wax emulsion with pigment before adding oil paint. Often I work over and over old paintings until a painting is very thick. The under layers, like half forgotten memories, are important to the final work, generating depth and substance.