Local artist’s focus: Rediscovering nature

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Nature figures prominently in the paintings of local artist J. Lacey Taylor. They draw the viewer in and reveal the wonders of the plant kingdom that many people pass by every day with little notice.

Ginger plant blossoms cascade down their stem. Light plays across a philodendron leaf showing off its ridges and valleys. An array of sea grape leaves enfolds the viewer in rich colors and patterns.

Taylor hopes that her work inspires people to better appreciate the natural world around them. Coming from an artistic family whose members have also enjoyed growing things, Taylor brings these interests together in her acrylic paintings.

These works, collectively known as her Green Series, have their roots in a fateful visit she made several years ago to Fort Myers, where she had lived as a child.

After moving around Florida and settling in Jacksonville, she returned to the Lee County community for a visit. Having been away for some time and with all of her friends having moved away, she found that everything had changed — or nearly everything. The aqua blue water was still there. And the dolphins.

But what moved her most was something simple and easily overlooked: sea grapes.

“They were just so beautiful, it was like, ‘Oh, I’m home again,’” she said.

The experience inspired the first of her Green Series paintings.

“I thought, ‘I’ve got to keep doing this, because these plants are just talking to me,’” she said.

The paintings, she found, brought her a sense of peace.

Taylor, who earned a degree in graphic design from the University of North Florida, has built a career in digital design. But her business was forced to hit the pause button amid the recent COVID-19 shutdowns.

“I pivoted, as they say,” she said.

Though she had always painted, her talents now provided a new opportunity. Prints of her work are available for purchase at www.saatchiart.com/account/artworks/1142460. Originals may be purchased by calling her at (904) 878-0881.

At a time when people seem tethered to their electronic devices and tension over ongoing issues pervades daily life, Taylor says appreciation of nature is important.

“I’m hoping that my paintings encourage people to not take what we have for granted,” she said. “Get outside and enjoy our public parks and go to the beach and just take it all in. Appreciate something new.”

For more information, go to https://jlaceytaylor.com/paintings.

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