Howard Taylor began to draw and explore his interest in art while a prisoner of war in Europe in the early 1940s. After studying at the Birmingham College of Art, Taylor returned to Western Australia where he began to explore his fascination with the bush landscape and forest forms, which became central to his work.
Howard Taylor was born in Hamilton, Victoria, on 29 August 1918. He moved to Perth with his family in 1932. In 1937 he joined the Royal Australian Air Force and in 1938 transferred to the Royal Air Force. In 1940, during a sortie over Alsace-Lorraine, he was captured and became a German prisoner of war. While he was interned Taylor began to draw and to read books supplied by the Red Cross, and he pursued his interest in art. After the war he studied at the Birmingham College of Art from 1947 to 1948 under a RAAF rehabilitation program, and he made painting excursions around the English countryside.
In 1949 Taylor returned to Western Australia and settled in the Darling Ranges on the outskirts of Perth. This locality was the catalyst for his fascination with the bush landscape and forest forms, which became central to his work. In 1960 he visited Britain and Europe for six months. He taught painting and drawing at the Perth Technical College from 1951 to 1965 and at the School of Architecture and Planning at the Western Australian Institute of Technology from 1965 to 1969. In late 1967 he moved to Northcliffe in the heart of the tall-timber karri and jarrah forests of the south-west of Western Australia, where he produced some of his most powerful, impeccably crafted evocations of nature.