The process of writing is very much the same as the process of making an installation, sculpture, or a painting. 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; what’s the most important part of this story, what’s the best image to tell a story.

I’m now publishing essays & art in three new online venues: two on Substack and one on Medium. Based on the subscription model; if you’re interested, please subscribe. It can be a dynamic exchange between the reader and the writer where I seek and welcome comments. I’ll be frank, never having been an artist isolated, my work has always been public, and in a small way, like so many others, I want to maintain a voice. This is an adaptation from what I used to do, the career I used to have when institutions bought original art to something new.

Mostly About Water Writing about water in since 2011, now focused on one watershed, the “wild and scenic” American River, including connections from the sea to Sierra in art and essay. Seeking a deeper understanding, I leave the safety of the bank for the middle.

Seeking the stories beneath the surface and in reflections.

How to Be an Artist Collecting experiences and lessons over a long career, I was going to write a book. It’s easier to create a tee; I expand on how I learned these lessons here.

22 essential tools about being an artist, all on one tee.
Half above, half below, something in between.

Essay about author Jack London and my great-grandfather.  A two generation mystery is solved.

Nov. 14, 2019_Essay and images about the Camp Fire, 1 year out, in Zocolo Public Square

Simple Objects: An Excavation

An 85 page, full-color exhibition catalog of our installation at Archival Gallery, June 2019. One of the first artistic explorations of the Camp Fire in Paradise, California.Purchase on Amazon.

Essay in the Los Angeles Review of Books: Oct 2018


Trailer about Water: More or Less

An anthology about water in California.

Click to purchase from Amazon.

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.”

The Sacramento Bee: A selection  from 35 essays

Please note that due to the Bee’s paywall, readers might not be able to access the archived essays. Frustrating.

Central High, Little Rock, 1957

political cartoon
“California Sketches” in print. This essay- Jack London in Korea, 1904.
political cartoon


A California Main Street: San Juan Bautista
A California Main Street: Taft, the heart of oil country
A California Main Street: Rio Vista
Sleepy Oroville before the Dam Failure
Fire in Wine Country: a scary trip home
Painting the Delta: a video

Other essays are no longer linked on the Bee, but include: The Orchard, Alcatraz, the New Bay Bridge, American River, Vernal Pools, Tuscany, Shasta, the Central Valley, the Southland, Monarchs, Winterbirds, On Books, Oysters, Native Plants, Salmon, Silos, the Salton Sea, Forest Fire, the Galapagos, Rice Harvest, Dungeness Crab, Ballet, San Joaquin Valley, Squaw Valley Writers, Hot Creek.

A celebration of 200 years of Frankenstein: A Graphic Interpretation

Frankenstein cover art

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. Now available on Amazon and from the Library

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?

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.