Same medium, different results

by Esther Hammer
Tribune correspondent
South Tampa News & Tribune
April 28, 2010

"Wings Up" by Taylor Ikin

   South Tampa artists Taylor Ikin and Laura Waller have exhibited together for four years.  Both are watercolorists, but their individual styles are worlds apart.
   Waller tends toward smaller paintings; Ikin toward larger ones.  Waller paints on a traditional toothed surface; Ikin paints exclusively on Yupo, a slick, shiny synthetic surface originally designed for the paper industry.  Waller employs a soft touch that lends her paintings a soothing, flowing feel; Ikin drenches her paper with colors, using them almost like oils, then manipulates them to give the final piece movement and texture.
   In this case, contrast is a good thing.  It gives their latest exhibit, "What's New," opening Saturday at Nuance Galleries in South Tampa, those elusive elements of excitement and curiosity.
   Waller, who said her style falls somewhere between realism and impressionism, brings her love of travel into her paintings, recalling people and places she has visited in Europe, Iceland and the United States.  She recently renewed her love of the French Quarter in New Orleans.
   "I love any place where people are gathering," she said.  "I'm eclectic in taste, but I love painting people."
Every fall she goes to Maine and paints in the Rockland area, but last week she tried a different locale.  She took "the back logging roads in Millinocket, Maine, into the wilderness and painted these absolutely gorgeous rivers and streams with Mount Kalahdin in the background," she said.
   Ikin, who has been called the Yupo Queen, was among the first artists to experiment with Yupo as a painting surface for fine art, and has been painting on it and teaching others her technique for 11 years.  "It's sort of like a paintbrush on roller skates," she said. "You load a there's a tremendous action without moving very much.  It skips, it slips, it slides and bounces and it will roll and twist and run in any direction if you're prepared to tilt the surface."
   Controlling activity is the tricky part, and also part of the fun, she said.  "What doesn't please me I can take my brush and then scoot right through the paint right back to the white surface of the paper and remove it," she said.  "Basically my style of painting is I'm a lifter.  I put it down and lift it out."
   Her recent collection, "The Road Less Traveled," opened at the Dunedin Fine Art Center in January and closed in early March.  The collection highlighted forgotten and beautiful areas in Florida.  Many of the pieces from that collection can be seen in the "What's New" exhibit at Nuance.
   Call the gallery at (813) 875-0511 for information.

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