Artist Ilse Taylor Hable shares a collection of oil paintings that capture the beauty in everyday life. View more of her compelling portfolio on her website.
For as long as I can remember, art has been an important part of my life. I preferred pencils and crayons to toys and spent a considerable part of my early childhood drawing and coloring. Success at art competitions in school motivated me further and, as it turns out, art would never let me off the hook.
I eventually went to one of the two art academies in my home town, Vienna, Austria. There I enjoyed studying design, human anatomy and figure drawing among other subjects. I pursued a career as fashion designer, which landed me a job in Mexico City. During my ten years there, I traveled quite a bit throughout Mexico and fell in love with its colorful culture and its people. I continue to visit and paint in Mexico often.
Drawing has always been a constant in my life, but a new adventure was waiting after quitting the design job and moving to California—it was oil painting!
I actually hadn’t fully understood the complexity of color until I met my teacher, Sebastian Capella. He was a master painter from Spain who taught me about the three aspects of color—hue, value and chroma, and made me aware of Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida, whose art became my North Star.
I also admire the work of John Singer Sargent and that of many other, more contemporary artists who paint some form of realism today and for whom good drawing is fundamental. Let me mention John Asaro, Wolf Kahn, Albert Handell and Ray Roberts, whose workshops I attended and who helped me to further develop my own style.
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I love plein air painting and try to do it as often as possible, but am also happy painting larger works in my studio. The joy I feel, in both cases, is in the process—the state of total immersion and right brain activity. I love both being outdoors in harmony with nature, surrounded by its sounds or silence, or in the studio accompanied by classical music.
I love to paint the human figure as well as landscapes. I have a great passion for nature and a great affection for color. Always looking for interesting compositions and compelling visual beauty, I try to respond to what moves me. Beauty doesn’t seem to be in high esteem in today’s art world, but it definitely motivates me. Not the sweetened or stereotype kind of beauty, but beauty that is not readily visible to everyone.
In any everyday scene there can be beauty related to line, to design and composition, light and shadow, as well as color contrast. I make it my task to discover it and put it down on canvas, in the hope that it will bring the same joy to others as it did to me.
I have had eighteen solo shows and thirty-nine group shows and have participated in the creation of three monumental murals. I have taught art off and on to elementary school kids and to artists who want to improve their work—I always feel that I learn something myself when teaching.
Continuing to learn and improve is my goal, focusing on keeping color and drawing fresh and immediate, simplifying whenever possible and expressing a lot with as little effort as possible. As my teacher Sebastian Capella often said, “If you can do it with one stroke, don’t use two.”
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