Phyllis Taylor - Transforming Pain into Purpose

"Love Called My Name" by Phyllis A. Taylor
"Love Called My Name" by Phyllis A. Taylor


Who are you and what inspires you today?


I am a woman, a mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt and friend. I am a Portrait Artist. I am an intentional creative who uses her imagination to create my world to yield rich experiences and abundant opportunities.


My children inspire me...their faith in me, their strength, resilency, great attitudes and gratitude for everything in there lives is inspirational to me


Tell a favorite story about your childhood. What positive life principle did you learn from your parents/caregivers that still informs your life today?


As a young girl I always loved to draw. I remember as a gift for Christmas one year my oldest sister gave me an easel and my first set of paints wthout parental approval and stood up for me when I wanted to use them and was not allowed to use them. I used and kept that easel for more than 30 years – through high school and college! My sister always encouraged me to continue to paint.


Was there anything I your past that caused you pain, struggle or hardship?


Yes. So much so it is difficult to recall times of joy, though there were some. Betrayal, broken heart, single mom with three children, child out of control, sexual abuse of children, loss of job, home, and relocation.


If relevant describe a difficult event or circumstance in your childhood, teen or adult years that caused you to “act out” or “act in” in a detrimental way. How has your emotional pain been a wake-up call for growth?


Being a child who did as she was told to do I seemed ripe to marry someone who wanted to be in control of another. I became a person who blamed herself when things went wrong...whatever went wrong was my fault. I blamed myself for not recognizing the signs of child abuse in my own household. For not preventing the abuse from taking place.


My emotional growth has been long and is still on going. I am not responsible for the actions of others only my own actions. My emotional well being depends on me continuing to do the needed work. I found ways to express much of what I was feeling through art. I always drew portraits but couldn't any longer.


Everything in me was still listening to “his voice” telling me I was no good at anything. I began to doodle with my non dominant hand and found that internal critic silenced. I doodled, I poured, I threw paint, I wrote, I collaged and I released enough of the pain to get through his trial, sale of the home, a divorce and relocation to another state away from friends and family all in the same year.


Then, isolated and alone, I began to become depressed and turned again to drawing and painting rediscovering my joy. Meeting other artists, entering exhibits and participating in various art events I began to grow and heal the wounds.


"Sun Spirit" by Phyllis A. Taylor
"Sun Spirit" by Phyllis A. Taylor

What is the main thing that you have needed to heal in your lifetime?


For me it was healing myself....loving myself, acknowledging I am worthy of love. More importantly, to me, it the healing of my immediate family. I want my children and grandchildren to be whole, to not keep secrets from one another.


I am working with my youngest daughter in moving my two other children towards seeking counseling for themselves and their children.


What is your greatest strength as a result of that healing?


Resiliency. I keep Rising Up!


What is your favorite creative healing modality? What makes you feel alive, passionate and whole?


Drawing or painting portraits whether in charcoal, color pencils, graphite, pastel or mixed media!


Please describe the details of your creative process and how it has evolved.


I began with life drawing, focusing on the faces of the models. As it became more difficult to use a live model I turned to reference photos...usually photos of my own children and family members which helped me to receive commissions to draw portraits of other people.


Though I loved drawing portraits and they were technically skilled I began to feel they were lacking something as I began to not want to do them anymore. I attempted to go back to painting with oils and found it was not as simple as it once was...I could not get skin tones correct!! It was so frustrating! I took classes, tried using acrylics but my sense of color seemed to have gone dormant!!


In my frustration I put all the acrylic paint from my pallet onto my canvas and afterwards began to apply pastels on top of the acrylics and then I saw her! A pair of eyes peering out at me from amongst all the colors! And so began my exploration into mixed media portraits and I love it and I believe the portraits show that love.

"Awakening Goddess" by Phyllis A. Taylor
"Awakening Goddess" by Phyllis A. Taylor

Describe yourself as whole and healed. Who are you in your essence?


I am just that..whole and healed. My pieces are golden and in place. I am a kind and compassionate person, warm and energetic, funny, caring, joyful and selfless. Some say “sweet” others say “grumpy”!


Occasionally an introvert but open to exploring and wandering. I am a good story teller...a bit prone to hyperbole. I am an artist through and through and it shows in my home, how I dress and how I see things


If the major healing theme of your life had a book or a movie title what would it be called?


My book would be/is called “Dancing With the Shadow”.


How has your past pain informed your life purpose? How do you specifically want to contribute life?


Through teaching intentional creativity I intend to share my past with it's pain and it's healing journey with other women who have been hurt by showing the women how they can release their hurts visually.Through acknowledgement of their pain and putting those feelings on paper or canvas, gives them another way to express themselves.


Showing how they can intentionally change the stories that live within themselves, the stories that shaped them, the stories that are stored deep within their beings. They can use image as a way to change the stories, creating new images of and for themselves.


What strength based inspirational advice would you give someone who has similar challenges?


What has continually help me is the biblical verse in Matthew 6: 25-34: “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body what you will wear......who of you by worrying can add a single hour to their life?”


What famous inspirational quote sums up your life journey?


"A wound needs air in order to heal. We must talk about and expose those things which have hurt or harmed us in some way. Our wounds need nurturing in order to heal. If we are to nurture and heal, we must admit the woulds exist. We must carefully do what is necessary to help ourselves feel better.” - Iyanla Vanzant


Create your own quote to inspire others on their life journey.


My prayers: “The way is now open for me to use my God-given talents and abilities to expand and enrich my life and the lives of others.”“I Am alive with creative energy, awake to prospering ideas and open to unlimited goodness.”

Artist Statement

Phyllis Ann Taylor
Phyllis Ann Taylor

I worked as a secretary, an executive assistant, an administrator and raised three children during the forty years after college, drawing “every now and then”, sometimes exhibiting and sometimes teaching.


During a traumatic & abusive period I couldn't create as my internal critic was so severe nothing survived. I began using my non dominant hand as it allowed me to express my anger, rage and hopelessness.


I experimented, discovered & learned new methods and mediums to use. The more I expressed creatively the freer I became emotionally & artistically, incorporating portraits into my abstract paintings.  


My life crisis was the catalyst and creating art became the energy for moving into healing & better emotional health. I volunteered with an organization helping abused women and taught art workshops helping others in their healing process by teaching them to express their emotions visually.


For several years I've been focused on myself, creating art that comes from deep within my heart. As I move towards my seventieth year I intend to put my abstracts into book form -“Dancing With the Shadow”, creating online classes & workshops and exhibiting my “Divine Feminine” portrait series to share my healing and creative process with others.


Phyllis Anne Taylor was trained in figurative drawing and painting at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Illustration from The Philadelphia College of Art.


Phyllis signs her artwork with the acronym “Pannet” which is a combination of her first initial, middle name and last initial.


In September of 2016 Pannet self published an adult coloring book of atypical portraits titled “Fierce, Fabulous & Feminine” which is available for purchase on


She may be contacted by email: or through her website: or follow her

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