The process of writing is very much the same as the process of making an installation or painting for me. With a deep interest in history and the role of location, I’ve always been fascinated with the research phase of projects. I collect information for writing in the same way, until my mind is overflowing with incomprehension. Then, like it’s all contained in a blender, I turn on the switch, swirling all madly until elements float to the top. It’s from all those years in advertising, I believe; what’s the most important part of this story, what’s the best image to tell a story. I’ve wanted to make books forever.

An anthology about water in California.

An anthology about water in California: history, essay, art, and policy. The history of the Valley is a story of how prevailing social movements shaped the land and people of the Valley. Rita Schmidt Sudman

Click to purchase from Amazon.

Click to purchase from the Water Education Foundation.

See more of Taylor’s sketches on 

Coming in February 2018, a celebration: 200 years of Frankenstein

A graphic interpretation of Mary Shelley’s 1818 edition: design and art by Taylor, in collaboration with the Sacramento Public Library. This is a unique combination of Shelley’s original text, combined with dynamic art to celebration the 200th year of publication.


A selection from Water: More or Less


Delta looking west to Staten Island

Water and Oil, a selection by Stephanie Taylor 

18 years in LA, I had little consciousness of oil, not even while driving La Cienega over hills graced with nothing but pumpjacks. Saber-toothed tigers at bubbling La Brea tarpits, pumps camouflaged in lush Beverly Hills gardens, I lived at the beach just south of a huge Shell refinery. Never gave oil a thought. All this oil. How was it created, how is it extracted, and how does it affect water?


A selection: The Coast Range on the west side of the Great Central Valley, used to lie deep within the ocean, uplifted, bringing diatomite rock, salt and minerals, including selenium. This is a living desert of mechanical creatures, poking the earth, conveying fluids. These are some of the top oil producing fields in the United States. Fields called Buena Vista, Midway Sunset, Elk Hills, Belgian Anticline, San Emidio Nose. Vertical and horizontal structures, pumpjacks and pipes shiny in the sun, transport oil, gas and water 24/7. It appears as a landscape devoid of people, there are so few about.

California State Library names Water: More or Less, Book of the Week, with this review:

“Water. In California water is life, and our cycles of drought and flood, of water wheeling and dealing are deadly serious business. In Water More or Less, Rita Sudman and Stephanie Taylor have responded to the all-consuming nature of this relationship, by assembling a diverse collection of expert perspectives on what water is to Californians. In this book, you can fish with oystermen about to lose their livelihood or read an account of how the peripheral canal initiative failed from the perspective of a water policy-maker. You can even walk an experimental forest with an ecologist, all while enjoying Taylor’s luminous artwork. If you are a Californian or a westerner, or if you’ve benefited from California’s agricultural or economic abundance, this book is a must-read.”


Sketches from Tuscany. A sketchbook of observations, photography, and paintings from several trips to Tuscany, including a five week stay in an authentic Medieval village. It will be an updated, more inclusive edition of Keyholes of Tuscany, available now on Amazon.

View on Amazon

writing tuscany book

Sketches from the Galapagos- coming soon. In August 2014, I fulfilled a life-long dream. I went to the Galapagos Islands. It was intense, challenging, and extremely rewarding.

Gal Hawk
Read this essay at