I had my first exposure to art classes at elementary school in Toronto Ontario. Two male art teachers had a real influence on me, imparted the idea that art was important. Later on under the age of ten years, I attended a few classes in a hall, while at the beach with a friend's family at their cottage. I don't remember a whole lot about this class other then thinking it was hard, but I was glad to be doing it, because I had a strong desire to learn how to draw.
Later on as a teenager we moved to Nova Scotia. There were no art classes offered in school, and being a creative kid, I sure didn't fit into the stream lined mold of the educational system and felt like a fish out of water.
Then I found out about an art class being offered outside of school with a women that was my best friend's next door neighbour. From time to time we would visit her, and I was intrigued with her being an artist. My friend relayed to me how much this woman loved nature and animals, and if memory serves me correctly I think she once had a pet crow. She also had painted a picture of my friend and her brother playing as kids in the snow and I believe it was entitled, Backyard Incident.
She was an unusual individual, very much outside the norm of small town Nova Scotia. This woman was Roberta Jane Taylor, who was rather introverted and lonely, but nonetheless she lived a very interesting life. She lived for approximately 15 years in New York City where she furthered her studies and worked. I remember being very impressed when I found out from my friend that Roberta had drawings that had been published in the New Yorker magazine.
I attended her painting classes in the old Academy Street School, in Amherst , Nova Scotia for the duration of weeks that it was offered. I was thrilled and we spent days painting a still life, a composition of bowls and a glass bottle. Roberta was very independent, humble, soft spoken, had an unassuming personality, was a good teacher and a wonderful artist.
Yesterday I was really thrilled to find an article entitled Bright Light in the periodical magazine mailed to me every few months, as an Alumni of Mount Allison.
Roberta Taylor graduated from what was then known as Mount Allison Ladies' College where she excelled and earned her a diploma in Fine Arts. Little did I know then, or ever imagine, as I took lessons from her as a teenager, that I would one day be graduating from the same school with my Bachelor of Fine Art Degree as Roberta Jane Taylor, that was now known as Mount Allison University.
A few years before Roberta died, I met up with her again in a residential facility in Amherst. At this time she was completely blind. I was so happy I get to see her one more time, after all those years. I told her who I was, and said how much I admired her, that I was friends with her next door neighbour and she unknowingly influenced me in my teen aged life. Her mind was still very good and she died at the age of 85.
|Roberta Jane Taylor|