Bryan Mark Taylor likes a patch of nature where he can be surrounded by the energy of a city. So where does he set up his easel?

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One view from Fort Mason Park

The park that constitutes Fort Mason, near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, is one place to which the artist keeps returning. He paints there alone, and he brings classes there to paint. “There are a lot of things there that say San Francisco to me,” Taylor says. “It may not be famous to people, but it captures the essence of this city. I like that kind of energy, of cars moving up and down the street and pedestrians.”

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“Driving With Your Lights On,” by Bryan Mark Taylor, 2009, oil, 24 x 18 in. Private collection

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Another view from Fort Mason Park

Taylor says there are paintable views in nearly every direction, whether it’s a vertiginous street scene, the infamous Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, or the gold-domed Palace of Fine Arts, which Taylor says looks like ancient Roman ruins from a distance. The artist points out that Fort Mason sits higher than the more popular Crissy Field, which is nearby.

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“Among the Clouds,” by Bryan Mark Taylor, 2012, oil, 9 x 12 in. Collection the artist

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“Street in Morning Sun,” by Bryan Mark Taylor, 2012, oil, 8 x 10 in. Collection the artist

“It’s quite colorful there as well,” says Taylor. “The buildings have a certain temperature, and the way they play off the rich greens of the park is great — then there’s the colors of the cars.” And in the changeable weather of San Francisco, Taylor says the good news is that no matter the conditions, there’s a view that benefits from it. On clear days, one can see across the bay. On foggy days, elements emerge moodily from the mist. On the other hand, artists should be prepared for virtually anything. “Bring lots of layers,” he recommends. “No matter what time of year, it can be freezing, or it can be nice. And as often as not, it will be freezing — even in July. Take breaks and get coffee.” Taylor also advises that artists come with a couple of key skills. “Know how to edit, and know perspective,” he says.

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Taylor brings classes to Fort Mason Park because of its views and its quintessential San Francisco character.

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“Octavia Street,” by Bryan Mark Taylor, 2011, oil, 14 x 18 in. Private collection

Taylor will be the subject of a solo show at Elliott Fouts Gallery in Sacramento, California, in November.

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