This week I enjoyed a chat with Minnie Taylor, a wonderful artist who is currently expressing her creativity through striking botanical still life works.
Minnie has always felt a compulsion towards artistic expression and pursued a career in graphic design. Even though being a graphic designer has influenced Minnie’s work, she found having to rigidly follow someone else’s brief ultimately unsatisfying.
“I put my heart and soul into each design project and found it crushing if I had to make changes.”
After starting a family and losing her beloved mother, Minnie began to reassess her life and decided to take art more seriously. As her children grew, she began dabbling at home painting scenes for children’s bedrooms. Word of mouth spread and she began to sell her work, which boosted her confidence.
“Being at home with young kids is demanding – painting gave me sanity.”
Eventually, Minnie began focussing on birds. The extraordinary texture and graphic quality of these works proved popular and found a much-deserved audience. Each portrait is lovingly christened with a first name and painstakingly crafted with the eyes gaining the most attention:
“I spend a lot of time on the eyes as they dictate character.”
Minnie has always loved birds and fondly recalls creating a Brolga crane sculpture in Year 12.
“It was made out of wood and I remember walking through forests with my dad and collecting bark – I loved it.”
As the birds seemed popular Minnie continued painting them:
“It drove my confidence. The whole time you’re so full of self-doubt that selling a painting puts you on a high.”
Ultimately these birds gave Minnie enough confidence to pursue a change in creative direction and she turned her attention towards botanical themes. In her studio, she sets up a scene, photographs it and plays around with composition.
“I love the process of still life – I don’t want to paint birds at the moment. I’ve learned to trust how I’m feeling.’
Minnie credits her early graphic design career, which was pre colour printer, with laying the foundation for her painting style.
“In the early days, everything was hand painted in gouache. It was precise, detailed and slow. That’s how I paint now – slowly building up backgrounds.”
It’s taken a long time to get to this stage in her career and even now Minnie doesn’t quite feel comfortable with the label “artist”. Her quest to improve and better her art practice means she takes lessons with renowned Adelaide artist Sarah Macdonald who she credits with helping her focus more on the process and not on the final piece.
“I’ve learnt to slow down and not panic that it’s going wrong. I love the encouraging environment [in class] and it’s the only place where I can paint in front of other people and not feel embarrassed.”
I definitely think Minnie is an exceptionally talented artist and hope she achieves her ultimate goal of having a solo exhibition. Check out her Instagram page for more details.