*****Ok! We are back on track this week kicking it off with Allyson Mellberg-Taylor as this week's guest for Process/Inspiration. Allyson works incredibly hard to paint with only non-toxic, plant based, and ecologically responsible mediums, often making her own (which she talks about below). Her paintings capture creeptastic in such a soft, awesome light; children covered in spots, slugs on heads and weird, worm like hybrids. My favorite! Allyson decided to cover both inspiration and inspiration. As always, the comment section is open feel free to ask Allyson questions or engage. With out further delay, let's get started.*****
I have a lot of fun when I am drawing. My overall process is one of gathering up piles of stuff: little drawings, natural objects, pictures of animals, books (I like to read science fiction a lot), and various bits of paper. On a good studio day I can sit for hours listening to episodes of Dr. Who, drinking tea and drawing away. As a teacher and printmaker, I am used to working in communal spaces, so sharing a studio with my husband Jeremy comes naturally and there is always conversation about our work.
I am very superstitious about sketchbooks and tend to agonize over choosing one at the store (could this moleskine be jinxed? You never can tell…) Once I find a good one though, I stick with it and whole bodies of work can be planned from one little book. My current sketchbook definitely has really good energy because Jeremy made it for me out of old book covers and paper from the recycling center.
As far as inspiration goes, I am always looking for ways to connect with nature - being at the ocean is number one. It’s the only place where I feel completely at home and inspired. Since we teach, Jeremy and I both have summers off. We spend that time gardening, making art, and driving back and forth to southern Virginia. Jeremy’s rad Mom, Sandy (who is also an art teacher) lives near a wildlife refuge way out in the country. Much of the sense of wonder and desire to communicate with nature that shows up in my recent work comes from walking, swimming, surfing, and exploring in this totally magical place. Thanks for looking!
Since our studio is currently the second bedroom in our house, our cat Fricktoria is around to oversee (and sleep on) everything I make. Her face shape is also referenced in my “dotties”, the rodents who appear in a lot of my work as the mediator between humans and the natural world.
(Some of Allyson's Dotties...which she sells in her etsy shop.)
One of our favorite beaches!
Piles of small drawings in progress that came out of my little sketchbook!
Egg tempera was something I learned briefly in undergrad and thought I would never use… then in graduate school as I was ridding my studio of all toxic art-making materials I realized that egg tempera could work really well as a non-toxic medium as long as you used good pigments. (I do use organic eggs!)
Just a few of our homemade inks, including: walnut, spinach
& seaweed, and paprika! Some of our stuff lasts for years, some of it
This is a new piece I am working on for my fall show at
Cinders… I am really excited about working on some bigger drawings for this
This is a new piece I am working on for my fall show at Cinders… I am really excited about working on some bigger drawings for this show!