Essex Life


Nothing seemed more natural to Essex artist Stephen Taylor as he began his project of painting a single oak tree as it changed through the seasons over the course of three years. Shortly after the deaths of his parents and of a close friend, Stephen came across a 250-yearold oak tree in a field near West Bergholt. He returned again and again to paint the same oak scores of times over a three-year period, in various extremes of weather and light and at different times of day and night.

What resulted was a collection of paintings brought together in what has become a best-selling book, Oak: One tree, three years, fifty paintings, which has featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show in the US.

Describing his work, Stephen explains: ‘I see my work as an expression of a tradition that bridges popular and high art - and the interests of different generations. The making and display of paintings of place, especially places in nature that one feels an affinity for, has been with us for centuries. But critical attention in the arts has for decades been focused elsewhere. John Constable described landscape paintingas, “this lovely art,” and the pleasure that he took in painting nature is something that should speak directly to us today.’

Here Stephen shares some of the images from his book with Essex Life.

Essex Life, Countryside Special, Summer 2012

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