Sam Tayag puts a big backpack on her shoulders and wanders around in the wilderness for days. In that backpack is the plein air painting kit she uses to capture her experience of the wilderness in oil on panel. She explores the mountains of her birthplace and current place of work in the San Gabriel Valley of California and further still, to places such as the Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, and the Sierra Nevadas.
There was a time Sam painted in air-conditioned civilization. She’s done illustration and design work for small businesses and professional individuals while creating fine art for private collectors in multiple states. She’s worked as a resident concept illustrator/graphic designer for Scenario Design Inc.’s clients including Bass Pro, Lexus, and the City of Santa Monica, CA. She has taught basic drawing at the Citrus College Child Development Center, the Pediatrics Unit of Queen of the Valley Hospital, and Watercolor Sketching to residents at Emeritus Skilled Nursing and Assisted Living Facility.
What brought her from four walls and a roof to living and creating out of a single backpack? The catalyst was her determination to heal from a lifetime of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Medical treatment, exploring the natural world and creating in the wilderness have been integral in her path to wellness. While she paints, wanders and sleeps amidst the mountains, desert, coasts and vast night sky of the outdoors she finds peace.
I journey to distant places only accessible by foot or four-wheel rig in order to capture the simplicity of existing in the dynamism of the natural world. Each oil painting is done on location using a pochade box and travels with me back home, imbedded with the spirit of the landscape.
The unique requirements of plein air backpacking have dictated my choice in medium. Oil paints, for their workability, are ideal for the range of weather in arid, sun-drenched deserts and wet, wind-buffeted coastlines. Painting small allows me to carry the equipment required to paint in oil along with the shelter, food, and other gear necessary for living and creating out of a backpack. By painting along the trail en plein air, my work reflects the immediacy of the challenges and gifts of wild trails and quiet backcountry camps.