Merry Christmas from T & H Bates!

For the past three years our extended family has engaged in a Christmas Song Challenge. Each couple or family chooses a song to perform, record, and share. Here is mine and Hunter's contribution, "The Christmas Song" by The Raveonenettes—enjoy!

New Year, New Name

I've always loved opportunities for change—they bring challenge and opportunity for growth. 2015 was an epic year. In the spring I was part of two exhibitions, which sparked a new series of paintings inspired by my daily walks on the San Antonio Riverwalk. I made three new paintings and a video piece, which were exhibited during Contemporary Art Month and one painting was selected for Blue Star Museum's annual Red Dot exhibition. Over the summer we hosted the first annual Texas Convening for Teens in the Arts at Artpace, which I am proud to say was a huge success, with the help of my colleagues at Artpace and the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston. I was also invited to take two teens I mentor at Artpace to the National Convening for Teens in the Arts at ICA/Boston for the second summer in a row, a truly incredible and transformative opportunity. In the fall, I was promoted to Associate Curator of Education at Artpace, taking on many new responsibilities in addition to managing teen and university programs. I also joined the board of Contemporary Art Month in San Antonio and became Co-Director of the Upstairs Studios at Blue Star Arts Complex. In the fall, I got engaged to my high school sweetheart and we were married in December—a lovely whirlwind of a time. With that, I'm changing my name from Taylor Browning to Taylor Bates and look forward to new experiences in 2016! Follow my blog to see new work coming soon.

Photo by Lisa Woods

Photo by Lisa Woods

New Work: "Reflections"

It's been awhile since I've made new work. I've been focused on establishing myself in a new city. I uprooted from Austin to San Antonio for my dream job at Artpace and have now been here for just over a year and a half. The first year I lived with my parents, which was surprisingly great. It was so special to have them as a part part of my daily life as an adult. My mom and I took walks in the morning and my dad and I had long conversations after we both got home from work.

I grew close to my parents and must admit moving out was hard, but I found the most charming place to live in Southtown San Antonio in the heart of the arts community. The house is historic and was previously owned by Robert Hugman, the visionary of San Antonio's River Walk. Every weekday morning I take walks along the river and document the surroundings with my iPhone—usually snapshots and short videos. I began noticing patterns in the kinds of images I was making. I'm drawn to reflections, especially of interesting landmarks or architectural structures, as they become distorted in the water's ripples. After a few months, I had the idea to make small paintings and started a series of these reflections, excluding the original structure from the image and turning the distorted version—its reflection—right-side up. I want the viewer to be drawn in to ponder the image. Initially they pause because some visual element doesn't make sense, but then they sink into the moment of observing, just like I do on my morning walks. Below is a video I made to accompany the series of paintings.

New Studio at Blue Star Arts Complex

Over the past couple months I've had the pleasure of working in a shared studio space with local San Antonio artist, Amada Miller at Blue Star Arts Complex. We have a large, raw space that is great for painting. I really enjoy being a part of the Blue Star community as well—there is a great coffee shop and some restaurants, galleries, and of course, the Blue Star Museum that attract people from all over San Antonio. I enjoy painting on the weekends and having random visitors walk into my studio to check out my work and chat about my process. 

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Here is the latest piece I've been working on. It's based on a photo of my dad in Colorado. I was drawn to the image because this is one of my dad's classic poses—a go-to stance for pondering the beauty of nature or just chatting in the kitchen. Similar to some of my recent paintings, the figure is a relatively small component of the painting, with a focus on the natural environment. I also played with color in this one—pushing myself a little more by laying down a base coat of an acid orange color I mixed up and painting over it with more neutral layers of color to add depth. I still plan to paint another top layer of detail, but this piece is close to finished. 

Process photo #1 with orange base coat.

Process photo #1 with orange base coat.

Process photo #2 with neutral detail layers added. 

Process photo #2 with neutral detail layers added.