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Fragile Florida: Watercolor Paintings by Taylor Ikin

August 17 - September 4, 2005


My goal is to draw the viewer into the image by using large brushes, loaded with paint . . . working to create textures that lead the eye on an unsuspecting journey thorough the work ­ Taylor Ikin.  


Taylor Ikin is a well-respected watercolor artist based in Tampa, Florida and is best known for her expressive watercolor paintings. She is also a teacher and conservationist. Ms. Ikin was born near Norfolk,Virginia and first moved to Florida in 1961. Even after living in Florida and the Caribbean island of Antigua for seventeen years, she retains her wonderful Tidewater dialect. (right: Taylor Ikin (American, b. 1938), Waters Up:  from the Broker Creek Series, 2005, watercolor on YUPO, 25 x 40 inches. Courtesy of the Artist)

Ms. Ikin was educated at Holton Arms School in Washington, D.C.and considers herself to be a self-taught artist. It was during the time she spent in the West Indies that she began her career as an artist working in watercolor. She created images of the tropical landscapes to sell to tourists. 

Ms. Ikin enjoys working with other watercolor artists who freely share their creative approaches and techniques. This collegiality inspired Ms. Ikin to begin teaching watercolor painting. She has become highly regarded as a teacher in addition to being a well respected artist. Her work is found in many public and private collections. Additionally, she has had several one-person shows, teaches workshops locally, nationally and internationally and teaches at such institutions as the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, the Gulf Coast Museum of Art in Largo, Florida and the University of South Florida. She is an active member of numerous watercolor societies including the Florida Watercolor Society, the Tallahassee Watercolor Society and the Southern Watercolor Society.

The exhibition at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art is comprised of paintings that were initially part of the Hillsborough Collection, a series of site-specific paintings based on local imagery in the County's environmentally protected lands and protected properties acquired through the Environmental Lands Acquisition Properties Program (ELAPP). ELAPP was established by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners in 1987. The general public does not have access to these protected areas making Ms. Ikin's paintings unique and truly one-of-a-kind.


While aesthetically conceived, my work focuses on preservation. The original collection has now been expanded to include Pinellas County and new works will be added for our exhibition ­ Taylor Ikin.


One particular piece in the exhibition, Waters Up, is a recent work by Ms. Ikin that further reflects her interest in documenting environmentally sensitive lands. This painting complements the paintings from the original Hillsborough Collection and represents the over flowing waters that often run through the Brooker Creek Preserve in northeast Pinellas County at the end of each fall season. In fall of 2004, higher water levels were recorded after three hurricanes affected the Tampa Bay area. Waters Up is a vibrant, fluid and colorful painting which captures the energy of the Brooker Creek Preserve, expressing both the location and a moment in time.  

As an environmentalist in addition to a painter, Taylor Ikin works exclusively on Japanese made paper originally called Kimdura. Now known as YUPO paper, it is a synthetic paper that does not destroy any trees. In essence, it is a medium that does not require the destruction of nature to document nature. YUPO also contains certain unique artistic qualities. It does not have any surface tension or "tooth", therefore the colors dry slowly and can be easily reworked while remaining fluid, clear and bright. The paper also allows for the element of chance and the removal of parts of the painting as part of the creative process. Over the past few years, Ms. Ikin has become the leading proponent of this artistic medium.


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