Out of Chaos
“Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter’s soul.”
-Vincent Van Gogh
Bold strokes and exaggerated color are the hallmarks of Ellie Taylor’s impressionistic oil paintings. Landscapes and still life her passion. Her paintings are meant to impact the viewer with a sense of aesthetic beauty, awe and drama drawing them into the painting to share her experience, her inner emotion, of that moment.
Painting hasn’t been a lifelong pursuit for the artist. Though she received a Fine Arts minor from Sam Houston State University, it was her Elementary Education major that comprised her career for 33 years. Once Ellie realized that “when I grow up I want to be an artist”, she took an early retirement to focus on this dream and has made painting a full time pursuit since 1992. Her desire for creating art was reignited when a librarian at the El Paso school where she taught noticed talent in Ellie’s teaching materials. She invited Ellie to attend a Saturday art class. The muse took hold and Ellie continued lessons from this very artist, Earline Barnes, for the next 6 years.
American novelist John William Cheever once wrote “art is the triumph over chaos.” For artist Ellie Taylor, chaos is an integral part of her painting process. “I will start with chaos and slowly take the painting toward order.” Strokes and exaggerated color defining “only the necessary”. Adopting the painting philosophy of her original art instructor, Earline Barnes, Ellie believes that art should make a statement rather than tell a story. One should avoid overstating. The less said the better. Some pieces may only take a few hours, but she allows herself time to study the pieces for several days and will often make additional changes or brushstrokes for emphasis until she feels the piece is finally complete.
Ellie prefers the solitude of quiet when she works. “I am thinking about what I want to paint–the layout, colors, design and how it all fits on the canvas.” Her impressionist/colorist style has remained consistent through the years. The well respected artist CW Mundy said of her work accepted into the Salon International Show at Greenhouse Gallery in San Antonio, “Your painting has the spirit of painting en plein air.” Though she does paint en plein air, Ellie will also create sketches on site to use as inspiration later or take photos. Other pieces are purely from memory. She also sets up still life scenes in her 1,100 sq. ft. studio. All her work, regardless of subject, includes her first impressions. Her goal is to capture the feeling, beauty, awe and drama that she felt at the time she first laid eyes on the subject rather than a studied evaluation of it.
By her own estimate, Ellie has created thousands of paintings. They remind us of the quieter, sometimes overlooked moments of daily life. Many of these works are scenes she encountered traveling the backroads of Texas with her husband, Larry, a retired minister. The book “Celebration of Texas Paintings by Artist Ellie Taylor”, released in 2014, features many of these pieces and the stories behind them. Nearing the age of 82, Ellie says her only challenge is getting older. She’s no longer as active as in younger days, but she has no plans to stop painting or enchanting us all with the results of her efforts. “I paint for the love of art and for the passion that my Lord has given me.”
Born and raised in Houston, Ellie and her husband currently reside in Holly Lake Ranch north of Tyler. She holds occasional workshops at The Dutch Art Gallery as well as having original pieces available for sale. The Dutch Art Gallery is proud to represent Ellie Taylor.
Article written by Rebecca Zook