We catch up with the man behind some of UK’s the most Beautiful Wildlife Art. Both Alan and his wife Di are beloved members of the Silk Purse Guild, being amongst some of our earliest adopters, back when we were just starting out. Taking a chance on a new art space, in the middle of a world wide pandemic was a lot to ask, and I am honoured that they put their trust in us.
In this meet the maker Mr Alan Taylor gives you exclusive access into his studio. Find out more about the talent behind the canvas.
Who is Alan Taylor?
Artist bio |
I’m a Principal Research scientist for the steel industry. I have a PhD in Physics which led me down the scientific route job-wise so went into the steel industry many years ago. I must admit I’ve had to reinvent myself a few times though due to job losses so I’m also an IT Network Manager and a qualified teacher too, before being head-hunted back into the world of steel research
I have absolutely loved finding my way back to art though, something which I left behind when still young. Standing in as a teacher of ‘Concept art for Computer Games’, teaching some very talented students, is the thing that pushed me back into art starting off with some fan art, Jon Snow being one of better ones
I now draw and paint wildlife – animals, birds and insects
Where do you find Inspiration?
I have always been an animal lover and a keen advocate for animal welfare so I am inspired by nature and the beautiful world around us
How long does it take to create your work?
Everything takes a different amount of time as this is dependent on both size and the medium I’m working in. Using pastels or watercolour and ink are generally a much quicker process than using colour pencils which have much greater detail to them and take longer to build up the layers of colour. As a rough guide I have completed a large pastel painting in approximately 30 hours
Where can we view you Artwork?
The Silk Purse of course! We also sell in two art galleries in Richmond and Redcar, and a gift shop in Stockton on Tees. In addition to this we are always on the look-out for artisan markets and country shows where we will trade numerous times each year generally starting from April onwards with a big push from September onwards
My preferred medium is pastel painting and I use a mixture of brands : Faber Castell Pitts, Derwent, Carbothello and Caran D’Ache.
My favourite paper is Claire Fontaine PastelMat as I can layer lots of colours due to the light sand-paper texture. St Cuthbert Mills watercolour paper is my preference for both watercolour paintings and colour pencil drawings
Where do you find your Inspiration?
I tend to copy from photographs so I browse my own and my wife’s phone pics and go from there. Just thinking off the top of my head both my Peacock Butterfly and ‘Lady Gaia’ alpaca were drawn from our own photographs.
Obviously I may not meet all animals ‘face to face’ and I sometimes purchase the rights to draw from a photograph featured on the website Wildlife Reference Photos for Artists. I will put the photo into a photo editor and may even flip the image too until it’s the composition I want.
I’ll then sketch in the outline on my chosen paper and work from left to right, top to bottom to avoid smudging whilst always referring back to the image where I can zoom in for the details of the individual hairs or feathers
Do you offer Commissions?
I have completed a number of commissions including some pet dogs though I don’t encourage commissions as I’m still working 4 days a week so finding the time can be a problem.
More unusually I was commissioned to draw a blackbird which had a white feather; a much loved frequent garden visitor that had unfortunately met its’ demise at the hands of a sparrow hawk. I had no reference photo for this one so had to use a generic free image just ensuring I had the white feather correctly positioned.
I called him ‘Flash’ and he is in my Silk Purse Guild shop! Another unusual request was for a skunk!
Is there anyone who helps you with your business?
I have huge support and help from my wife Diane who is constantly trying to spread the word on social media, manages our Silk Purse shop and also trawls the internet to find suitable markets and country shows form where we could trade.
She’ll then complete our application, book and submit our PLI etc (Public Liability Insurance), and of course add to our Google calendar so that we don’t double book!
Find out more
To find out more about Alan, why not popover to his website. Here you will find out what he’s working on and get the insider info from his studio.
Can also catch up with him on Social media. You will find the links in his store here on the Silk Purse Guild.Visit
Want to join the Guild?
We are always looking for ambitious, enthusiastic and entrepreneurial people to join the Silk Purse Guild. If opening your own shop with us sounds great, get in touch and shake your makes at us. The quickest way to get your foot in the door is by joining our Facebook group. Hope to see you on the inside!Secret Society