Bev Taylor's first solo show in 15 years features 45 pieces

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FARMINGTON — The demands of running an art gallery and serving as an art instructor are more than enough to keep Bev Taylor busy for eight to 10 hours a day.

So when she received an invitation from officials at San Juan College to put together her own exhibition for the school's Henderson Fine Arts Center Art Gallery, she knew it would be a challenge to find the time to create enough new work to fill the space.

Nevertheless, she didn't let that dissuade her. Taylor insists she knows a thing or two about how to manage her time.

"I raised four kids, so I can multitask," she said Wednesday while taking a moment to relax at her business in the renovated and enclosed lumberyard that serves as a community gathering spot, the Artifacts gallery in downtown Farmington.

"This is hard. It is hard to switch from paying bills and checking out customers to 'Let's go create this wonderful painting.' But I've been in business for 20 years, and I knew if I wanted to reach my goal, which was to have my own studio, I was going to have to grab the moment.'"

For a good deal of the past several months, Taylor has found herself toiling until late in the night in her studio at Artifacts, working on pieces for her "Beyond Words" exhibition that will open at the college with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday.

Taylor likes to joke about how her creative process involves preparing herself a steaming cup of Earl Grey tea, carefully laying out her paints and brushes, preparing her canvases and getting herself in the proper frame of mind to create. But taking such a deliberate approach to painting is a luxury she doesn’t have. Her hard-earned time in the studio usually comes only after a long day of handling the business side of the art world.

She acknowledged she has learned to take an efficient and practical approach to her work.

"Not necessarily by choice, but by necessity," she said. "I would like some time to just calm down."

That hardly means Taylor takes a businesslike or uncreative approach to her art. In fact, the process of creating art is the great joy of her life, and she takes advantage of the opportunity to paint or draw whenever it presents itself.

"It's just not work to me," she said.

This is Taylor's first solo exhibition in 15 years, and her exhibition will include approximately 45 pieces, almost all of them new. The work spans various media that reflects her interest in painting, drawing, calligraphy, collage and three-dimensional disciplines. The only thing the pieces in this show have in common is that almost all of them are very colorful, she said.

"I've always liked color," she said, describing her art education at the University of New Mexico and how the color theory instruction she received there spoke to her.

Taylor now prides herself on that aspect of her work and emphasizes it in her work with her students.

"I can see a color and tell you exactly how to match it," she said. "I have an uncanny ability to be able to match color."

That's part of her artistic foundation, she said, explaining that design, composition and color serve as the basis of her work.

"I took all my composition and design training to heart," she said. "It really has stuck with me. Everything I do is a design problem. It's a matter of how you work with all the tools on your table the best you can until you're happy with the composition."

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Taylor also has the discipline to work every day. For years, she has kept what she calls her "art journals," which are small books with a drawing, painting or other piece created each day of the year, usually in approximately 30 minutes. She also maintains she puts her drawing skills to use on a routine basis, even if it's for something business related, such as the renovation that Artifacts underwent a couple of years ago.

"I'll die with a paintbrush in my hand," she said. "Either I learn to make that art when I can, or I don't make art."

"Beyond Words" will remain on display through Oct. 26. The gallery is located on the college campus, 4601 College Blvd. in Farmington. Call 505-566-3087.

Mike Easterling is the night editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4610.

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