Taylor Manoles ~ Art through Faith

(Left) Taylor Manoles (Right) Encompass| Photos courtesy of Taylor Manoles)

Local artist Taylor Manoles has lived a life steeped in art. At a young age, she loved drawing horses (inspired by Dreamworks’ film Spirit) as well as birthday cards for family and friends. It was her Aunt Sue who eventually introduced her to her current medium, painting. “An artist herself, she bought me supplies and gave me and my sister a proper art lesson,” Taylor said. “After that, painting was a consistent hobby in my life.”

From there, Taylor studied art education at North Dakota State University, with a focus on painting. After graduation, she taught art at a middle school for a year before her and her husband relocated to Portland, where she spent two years substitute teaching. Still, with a busy schedule in a new city, she dedicated a couple days a week for her own painting.

The pandemic of 2020 hit, and Taylor found herself with much more free time with schools being closed. “I decided to put all of my focus into my own artwork, and since then I have been painting full time,” Taylor said.

Taylor’s go to medium is oil painting. She loves natural subjects, like landscapes, flowers and animals. However, her art stands apart from many other oil painters because of her use of texture, “I paint primarily with a palette knife, which creates thick paint strokes and a lot of dimension,” she said.

In becoming a professional artist, Taylor has encountered a number of obstacles, from finding the motivation to create to learning the business and marketing side of being an independent artist. “Being a one-woman operation means my time is very split; between social media, photographing work, web/graphic design, packaging, and the financial/business side of things, I am figuring out so much as I go and it often feels like I have five different jobs,” she said.

To maintain her motivation and her craft, Taylor likes to challenge herself to paint consecutively for a number of days, “Once or twice a year I try to do an extended painting challenge, whether that is for 30 days or 100 days,” she said. “These keep me regularly painting, practicing and are often small studies that are easy for people to purchase. This year I am doing ‘Septem-bird’ and painting a bird for each day of September.”

While Taylor is inspired by the Central Oregon landscape, her inspiration goes deeper. To Taylor, her Christian faith is the “why” behind her work. “Words don’t come easy for me, so painting is how I process and communicate my thoughts. In my life, I have found comfort from many of life’s worries and questions in the teachings of Jesus and by spending time in nature,” she said. “For many, nature is a way to relax as well as escape the unsettling realities of this world. There is something mysterious that occurs in the human soul when gazing at the ocean; feelings of peace and joy arise, where the beauty of this earth is undeniable. On the other hand, many cannot help but experience a longing for a better, truer, deeper version of our current life, a place we have never been.”

Taylor continued, saying that in her paintings and through her artwork, “I want to gently invite the viewer to consider the beauty of the world from a new perspective, ask life’s questions, ponder, and feel a sense of wonder and mystery. It’s one thing to paint a pretty scene, but I feel that a really good work of art communicates or makes you feel something.”

In the coming years, Taylor hopes to become more rooted in the Central Oregon art community. She wants to find more ways to show her art, as well as foster face to face connections with other artists and community members. She is particularly excited about learning more skills and honing her craft, “That is the most exciting thing about being an artist, there are endless things to learn and explore!” she said.


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