Colin Taylor: Capturing ‘Place’

Wendy Levy

By Wendy Levy

13 April 2024

Colin Taylor is a painter based in Manchester. He is interested in capturing the landscape and the experience of it. As well as being an established painter, Colin Taylor has nearly 30 years’ experience of climbing and working in mountains in Europe, South America and Asia. He was born in the East Midlands and studied art and drama at Trent Polytechnic, Nottingham in the mid-eighties.  His work has been exhibited throughout the UK including London, as well as New York, Washington DC, Paris, Toulouse, Cologne, and Sweden.

Colin believes that it is possible to paint ‘about’ a place but impossible to actually paint what you see in a moment. His drawings and paintings are executed rapidly relying on instinct and Colin’s own experience of the subject. The result is a representation of the personal experience of a place.

Colin’s work has depicted a range of environments including Manchester cityscapes, landscapes of the Lake District, scenes of Indian street markets and interiors of Liverpool Cathedral. All his projects relate to his personal exploration of how ‘experience’ can be conveyed in visual form.

In an artist statement, Colin Taylor wrote:

“How we perceive and represent individual experience of landscape today, has come a long way since Cezanne first articulated a visual proposal that ‘sensation’ had a direct role to play in creative output. That is not to deny the huge achievement of defining the problem of how one paints the experience of standing on the slopes of Mont St Victoire. Fortunately, for all of us today he didn’t find the solution… it’s still out there.”

Cézanne wrote: “Painting from nature is not copying the object, it is realizing one’s sensations.”

In Spring 2007, Taylor started visiting Thomas West’s ‘stations’ using them as a framework for his artistic exploration of the mountains themselves and his perception of them. Taylor worked on a series of ‘Cityscapes’ exploring the Manchester skyline viewed from some of the city’s tallest buildings. His paintings of Delhi capture the heat and chaos of the street markets.

A recent project began with a brief visit to Washington in fall 2021, as Covid restrictions were lifted. Taylor made sketches and took photos around the city then returned to his studio to produce work that made up a successful solo exhibition in Washington. The Washington Post said “the collected images became pictures that reveal something of their origins: Loose charcoal lines underlie the soft colours, as if the original drawings had only partially transmuted into paintings. Taylor’s geometric forms hint at universal archetypes, while the scrawled lines suggest motion. The figures in “Crowdscape: Wisconsin & M” could be ghosts, or simply people in a hurry. Or maybe it’s the painter who was in a rush, eager to capture an instant for all time.”


Crowdscape: Wisconsin & M - Colin Taylor

Crowdscape: Wisconsin & M – image courtesy of Calloway Art