My encounter with Louis Taylor was one of those moments in life that just happened, unprepared and spontaneous.
During one of my many adventures in search of subjects, I was walking down the street in Seymours, Long Island, when my attention drifted towards a little blue cottage, typically Bahamian, and also, as often is in the out Islands, very run down.
This was a witness of the past and living proof of the many decades of rough out island life. Brutal sun, hurricane force winds, and salt air were the culprits that led to the condition of this lovely cottage. This was enough to trigger my interest in this place and so I ventured onto the property. Suddenly, Mr.Louis Taylor appeared. He was wearing a blue striped shirt and on his head a little white hat, which seemed to have been through the same rough weather as the cottage. My interest suddenly switched from that run down home to the man before me.
He was easy to talk to with a big generous smile. Humility and pride were pouring out of his eyes and face. While he was talking, I couldn’t help being distracted by his shirt that matched the blue horizontal stripes of the cottage siding. His strong hands told no lies about the hard working life that the out islands provide.
We spoke for a while and before we parted I took photos of him to help me remember that moment. I promised that I would be back to visit.
I never did anything with these photos, never painted his portrait because I wanted to go back to get to know him better as I truly believe that the better you know your subjects the better you paint them.
The following year I returned to Seymours. To my disappointment the cottage was boarded up. No one was in sight. I never saw Mr. Taylor again and even today I still wonder what became of him.
A few years passed and I lost hope of meeting him again, I remembered the photos I took and made the decision to immortalize him on paper. I wasn’t completely sure if my portrayal of who he seemed to me would do him justice but I knew I had to try to paint him as I remember him, a humble and proud man.
Rain Collector – 2016 – 48 x 20.5 inches – Dry brush watercolour on driftwood
Louis TaylorFirst Drawing – 2012 – 15 x 22 – Charcoal & casein on Lokta paper