I started painting in college, nudes and landscapes mostly on huge canvases in rich red and ocher oils. After college, painting was replaced by music as my creativity’s vehicle of choice. My oil paints dried up, and my brushes stiffened like old bones and were discarded.
I didn’t think twice about painting again until Covid hit and my family and I hit the road. Pulling our 13-year-old son out of school in favor of a global education on the road. It was a big decision for us to take him out of the educational “box.” What would he be missing? I bought him a matchbox-sized watercolor set determined at least to keep his artistic education alive. But he showed no interest and I quickly found the little painting kit a great comfort and pet it with my brush the way one might stroke a service dog. The set accompanied me to Australian cafes for early morning lattes, to lodges in the French Alps where I waited for my family to finish their runs, and to thatched Indonesian jungle huts where I painted to bide my time until the rains let up.
I found myself painting shadows. I related to their translucence; those silent, faceless, loyal companions accompany their parents diligently without complaint.
Growing up in a family where the spotlight was reserved for more talented, more beautiful, more note-worthy members, the shadow role was the only one on offer. I’m embarrassed to admit my own career in music was as much an attempt to escape the faceless, mute shadow role as it was an inner fire to perform. But an Australian documentarian once claimed she wanted to do a story about me and my music but when her show came out it was titled “Singing in the Shadows.” It stung and hit home and embarrassed me.
But out on the road, in the middle of many strange, foreign, nowheres, I fell in love with my shadow. Shadow became my friend and company when I was lonely. It danced in ways and in places I was afraid to. It hid and jumped out at me like a friend on cloudy days. It kept me company at night under street lamps on scary city streets. It reminded me that I am never EVER alone and that shadows in this way, though silent and undefined, are of great value.
Commission a Painting
What people get: your shadow hand-painted by Sally Taylor in watercolor on cold-pressed premium paper. Sally Takes 5 commissions for her paintings a year she may or may not take your order. If she does, payment in full will be required at the time of her consenting to your project. You can expect to hear from her in 5-7 days. Please upload the shadow you’d like her to paint. Thanks!