Synthetic Medium Artist Offers Classes in Clearwater Center

My Clearwater Magazine
Summer 2010

   In collaboration with the Dunedin Fine Arts Center and the Marsha P. Hoffman Institute at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater’s Aging Well Center offers a wide variety of classes in artistic disciplines taught by local masters in their fields.  Among them is local painter Taylor Ikin whose nurturing personality, combined with her use of cutting edge materials and intimate knowledge of Florida’s wild landscapes reinforce her popularity as an instructor.  From efforts like Ikin’s, the Aging Well Center hopes to develop a reputation as a creative mecca serving those who are young as well as those who are young at heart.
   When a Japanese paper company invented a product called YUPO in the 1960s, the synthetic paper was designed for the printing industry.  The all-polymer material was waterproof, did not rip or fade, was acid free so that images printed on it would not degrade over time and it enabled razor sharp clarity and eye-popping color in the printing press.  But YUPO was never intended as a medium for watercolor paints.
   Enter artist Taylor Ikin who, more than a dozen years ago, applied her first watercolor swatch to a heavy version of the material, and discovered that the paint in her brush responded differently than it did with other kinds of paper.  She was instantly taken by the way she could manipulate the colors, layering or moving them as they dried or even removing what didn’t enhance the painting.  Ever since that day YUPO has been the paper of choice for this creative landscape artist.
   When U.S. YUPO distributor Kimberly-Clark Paper got wind of the artist who was using their printing medium for watercolors, they were amazed.  They quickly realized an unusual opportunity to market their product and asked her if they could track her efforts, researching the unique applications and capabilities of YUPO.  In the bargain she was given an unlimited supply of the material for her use. They’ve even posted copies of her paintings on their website.
   Ikin has continued to paint as she has built her reputation throughout the Southeastern United States and finally Florida.  Ironically, while using a material that is completely man-made, she stakes her claim as a staunch environmentalist, painting wildlife, environmentally sensitive landscapes and related subjects.  That suits her just fine, however, as no trees are used in the production of YUPO, thus supporting her preservation and conservation efforts.
   Her celebrity has grown over the years through publicity in magazines and newspapers, and her work is published in several books including The Artistic Touch 3: The Work and Impressions of 110 Great American Artists published by Creative Art Press and Celebrating the Artist Within by Mary Todd Beam.
   As a teacher, she has lectured, judged art competitions, led seminars and workshops and has shared her expertise in studio classes including the Beach Art Center in Indian Rocks, the Florida Gulf Coast Art Museum, and the Dunedin Fine Arts Center.
   For the past five years she has received artist-in-residence grants to interpret wilderness scenes in various state parks of South Carolina.  Her works have been displayed in exhibitions from Washington, D.C. to the West Indies.  Dozens more are in the hands of private collectors throughout the Eastern United States and at least one is at the Vatican in Rome.  In the Bay area, her paintings grace the administrative and corporate offices of nearly three dozen public and private buildings.
   The City of Clearwater’s Aging Well Center is privileged to share this exceptional artist and personality through its collaboration with the Dunedin Fine Arts Center.  Her charm is as engaging as her works are attractive, making her classes popular with attendees.  For more information, contact the Clearwater Cultural Affairs Office at (727) 562-4814 or visit

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