About the Artist
Phaedra Taylor is an artist and illustrator based in Austin Texas with her husband, theologian W. David O. Taylor, and two children. She primarily works in encaustic (wax) and watercolor, exploring themes of place, memory, and story. She’s the illustrator of the recently released Open and Unafraid Prayer Cards, a companion card set to her husbands latest book “Open and Unafraid, The Psalms as a Guild to Life”, Pray Daily for Families, an illustrated morning and evening prayer book, and Prayers for Life, embellished collect prayers for the in-between times. Phaedra loves walking in wild places, a strong pot of tea, time to putter in her garden, and making good things to eat.
The past few years I’ve become interested in the practice of walking spaces in order to know them better. There is a long tradition of this habit in Scotland, where I was raised, and many other places in the world. One of the things disappearing from our modern life is the experience of the wild. I started making these mountain paintings as an extension of this practice of contemplating the wild. Encaustic painting is a way of building up and slowly manipulating layers of wax and pigment. You use heat, a torch or air, to melt and move the wax around to create your image. It’s slow and repetitive, much like walking over long distances. It also reflects the way land builds up and erodes, slowly moves and forms into masses such as mountains. The pigments slide around inside the wax constantly changing, and rising or sinking. In a similar way the lights in an Aurora Borealis sky dance and move every moment. The practice of creating an image of a wild space in this way reflects the experience of being physically in those places. I have a deep childhood memory of standing on a dark, cold, rocky beach in northern Scotland. It is my first memory of experiencing the Aurora. I stood captivated by the magic and mystery of that phenomenon, knowing in a new way that there was more to this world than the practical and pragmatic. My paintings of the wild mountains and auroras are an attempt to invite others into these moments. Hopefully offering a space where they can connect into wild mystery themselves, be drawn to seek out those places when they can, and reflect on the wildness that is embedded in their own selves.