Monday, April 10, 2017

On The Public Perception of Artists - Lyn Hill Taylor

In this installment of my weekly "Talent Bank" column from 1985, I spoke with well-known artist Lyn Hill Taylor about how artists perceive their own talent and how the public perceives artistic talent. Click on the image below to read the text. 

Lyn was recently interviewed for an article in the Clarion Herald newspaper in January of this year (2017) and said some pretty interesting things about art, the use of symbols in art, and the ability of art to re-tune one's world view. I am reprinting some of her quotes below, but the original article is located at THIS LINK.

Years ago, while reading Leonardo da Vinci's treatise on painting, her view (and subsequently her methods of teaching art) were turned upside down. Da Vinci's words demonstrated that everyone can innately draw and paint if the mind is open to learning and allowing the paint to flow. 

“It changed everything I do,” Lyn said. “Da Vinci said painting is a contemplative act. It is the highest of the arts. We need to pay more attention to the life of the soul through painting.”

Her views on art were again substantially revised when she was asked to paint the portrait of novelist Walker Percy, a resident of Covington. “We spoke the same language, even though I was a painter and (Percy) was a writer,” Taylor said. “We realized the value of the word and image as symbols for something else, and the interrelatedness of words and symbols.”

Percy was concerned that the meaning and impact of images, especially in religious context, wasn't the same today as it was hundreds of years ago at the beginning of the Christian tradition. “Percy said to look at the images and see why they weren’t working and go at them sideways and show them in a new light,” Taylor said.

Walker Percy and Lyn Hill Taylor at the St. Tammany Art Association

Speaking of her present-day classes at the St. Joseph Abbey Art Works studio, she said, “We’re trying to educate people in the basic technique of art while giving them an understanding of the image itself and the process of painting. … The importance is in the contemplative making of it, not in the product.”