The story of the Blue path project is in the catalogue and is told by way of an interview at a retrospective in Manchester (2007).
Winter 2020 marks the twenty fifth anniversary of the creation of paintings that would become known as the Blue Path. Created by the English International Artist Denis Taylor.
It was an art exhibition that was first mounted in Stockholm Sweden in 1996 and consisted of some 32 water colours and a number of large oil paintings. Subsequently the Blue Path was exhibited three more times in the UK and Sweden, the last being 2007 in Manchester UK.
They are now available as Signed Limited Editions framed high quality Giclee reproduction and printed in Sweden. The cost is £245 each- The artworks are limited to 20 issues from each image
The narrative below is taken from an interview in the UK (2007) at the Space 23 Retrospective Exhibition, Wellington Culture House, New Islington, Manchester UK. The photographs shown are taken before the exhibition to the public at the Stockholm Exhibition in 1996 at the Eden Centre (Tunnel Banna – Techniska Högskolan)
How did the Blue Path paintings came about ?
“…the Blue path came about after I had visited with my girlfriend (Marianne) who lived in Stockholm, in a City apartment. I came over from Greece, where I had my studio. I was invited to exhibit two exhibitions of my [Greek] work in Stockholm City. The shows ran for three weeks which meant spending a lot of time in the large Swedish Capital, which was Ok but, became too much for me. I’d escaped the big city life in Manchester, many years before and had rejected it for the solitude. I needed to create and live devoid of any other influence other than the creative force of nature. I felt as though I had forsaken my vow never to live in a city again.”
How did you get to Vaxholm and start this project?
Luckily, Marianne exchanged her apartment for one on an island [Vaxholm] – And I was happy for us to stay there, while continuing to exhibit in Sweden. We had planned to return to Greece and my Studio villa. So staying in Vaxholm was a compromise for me to extend my time in Sweden and mount more exhibitions. Neither I nor Marianne really knew if it would work out.
The first obstacle to overcome was the lack of studio space available in the small archipelago town. The local artists community rather suspicious of outsider artists (especially non-Swedes) But I needed to paint. (perhaps only painters will understand that overpowering need ?).
Why did you decided on watercolour paintings?
After some thought I decided to treat the lack of studio space as a positive outcome. By chance I came across a great art book from the Vaxholm library I had strayed across. The book was the complete (lifetime) watercolours of J.M.W Turner. This gave me the inspiration and the idea to start a series of watercolours based on the beautiful environment that I had moved into. I bought some charcoal and pencils and a sketch pad – and blocks of watercolours, a dozen brushes and some quality paper to paint on. I mounted the paper on heavy card so I could use the kitchen table. My ideas was to emulate how Turner had made his work. That was first making very fast typographical studies outside and painting them four at one time – By paintings backwards – background to foreground – light to dark. I also use Music – as a subconscious back up to imbue the feelings I had whilst making the sketches, then playing the same tracks as I painted each composition.”
What music did you listen to?
“I went for the Classic – four seasons – by Vivaldi – it seemed appropriate.”
How did you decide where to start?
Marianne had shown the area on the Vaxholm island, so I started there on a place called Ekrisö This led on to another strip of land called Bogusund. I was really taken with the peace, quiet and the simple beauty of the colour contrasts of sky, water and land.”
How did the name ‘The Blue Path’ come about?
“…the name ‘Blue Path’ was the first thing I wrote in in my sketch book on the first day of my solo walks. The name derived from the way the community had this idea to mark paths in the archipelago with a colour code (to avoid people getting lost or of overtaxing themselves I guess). Yellow was a short walk. Green was a medium walk and Blue was a long walk. Initially I followed the path marked out (on the trees) with a blue circle of paint. After a while I sort of created my own path, which encompassed the many small islands in the Vaxholm and Stockholm archipelago, ones that could be reached by foot bridge or ferry, but the original title for the completed project sort of stuck.”
How did your process progress?
“…I read the Turner book voraciously. It was a full explanation of how he painted watercolours. The essence of which was to make quick topographical sketches and then develop these with pure imagination whilst painting. Turner would prepare four or five mounted edge fixed paper supports on board and start the process by laying in a base colour that would dictate the time of day, the weather and so on. He kept creating his watercolour paintings of a specific size and style. The small kitchen table in the new apartment Marianne and I had moved to would prove to be the ideal space to create this type of work.
After the extensive walks around the island of Vaxholm and topographical sketches (just as Turner had done on his European tours). I wore headphones and played Vivaldi each time I ventured out into the stunning natural environment. Each week I painted four at one sitting and listened to the same music that I had sketched to. This was an experiment to see if I could transpose the subconscious feeling and atmosphere from reality to paint on paper.”
You painted 32 aquarelle’s up to 2005, why did you stop?
“…Honestly, I became tired from too much of a good thing and needed a challenge. I’d made a friend with a younger man who like me, was a stranger in the Town. He wanted to live in an apartment – which was literally around the corner from where Marianne and I stayed. But the rent was a little too much – So, I offered to pay one third of it if I could use the large bedroom as a studio – I needed to paint in oil again. Thankfully he agreed in around the end of April – and I used the studio when I wanted from May 1995 on wards.”
So is that where you painted “Stepping Stones.?”
“…yes, thats right. The bedroom was a good size – but I wanted to paint big – So it was going to be very difficult to see it as it happened when I was making on a canvas of that size [Denis pointing to the painting Stepping Stones] – So, the aquarelle’s gave me a sort extended subconscious advantage – I didn’t need to sketch, nor work out a composition or have anything in my mind at all – I just slapped on blue paint and kept working – I sort of knew what the the stroke [of paint] was right and where it should go. It was the first time I had experienced this so strong – so sure of my inner self – I allowed the creative power to work and enjoy itself – and I played music to my conscious self.”
“..the album Ten – by Pearl Jam.”
Did you exhibit the paintings of the Blue Path?
Sure, many times – 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 and – and 2004 (Malborough Gallery Dorset), and now here in Manchester .
Do you have any the original water colours in your own collection?
“…Yes. Just One. I sold most and gave many away or raffled a few for good cultural causes – I did benefit shows of the Blue Path from 1996 onwards until about 1998 – I still have Stepping Stones – because its pretty special piece – That painting gained an award in the USA in 2000
(new Millennium Art) as an example of “Emotionally strong and Powerful painting.” by the American Guild of Art – I was the only English artist out of ten international artists chosen.
“Just one more thing Denis, are you going to stay in Manchester now?
…Or Go back to Sweden?”
“ I’m off to Greece on Friday – so who knows what the future holds?
Below is the catalogue for you to read (click on the cover to go full screen)[fliph5 id=”xzrbg-ontc” width=”700px” height=”400px”]
Denis Taylor is an accomplished artist- His Art is in Greece, the UK from 1989. And in Sweden from 1996. Exhibitions are numerous with Major National and International Shows that include major shows in Sweden(with ref to the Swedish Government Estonia Trust Fund Heart 2 Art at Steninge Palace Culture Centre. Art Work Now 1996. Vaxholm Krut Gallery (Castle). Kliver UT (Steppinhg Out) 1998. Rindo Redutt Gallery, Rindo. Stockholm.