Taratories Blog

Winter Wreaths

When I first started brainstorming what I wanted to make to sell for Christmas, I pondered what I would want in my own home.  

First, I knew that I would want something small to put on my mantel or to add to my collage wall.  That's why I went with the smaller 9X9 inch size.  

Second, I would want something that has a natural and muted feel to it.  I wanted texture and a washiness to the painting. This is why I chose to use my mixed media technique of ink and colored pencil on these paintings.

Third, I knew that I would want something that I would be able to display not just during Christmastime, but all winter long.  This is why I went with gold accents on the wreath instead of red.  I also made this painting very neutral from the gray background to the white letter.

Fourth, I wanted it to be personal and custom to our family.  That is why I am painting a custom letter inside each wreath.  


These make great gifts at the affordable price of $25!  Purchase one HERE today!


My Grief Journey

Last night was a very special night for me.  I donated some drawings to a local organization and they held a reception for me where I shared about my life and work.  These drawings were done in 2002, 15 years ago!  This spring someone from my past mentioned that she had seen them when I initially drew them and that they have helped her in the grieving process through the years since she lost her teenage son in a tragic car accident.  I started thinking, "why do I have these drawings still stored in my studio when they could be bringing healing to others?"  

I decided I would find a local place where that would become their new home. I was connected to a place around here called the Grief Care Place in Stow, Ohio. 

"The GriefCare Place opened its doors in June of 1997. It offers a SAFE PLACE where those grieving the death of a loved one can find support, education, understanding, and a caring place to heal. The center serves individuals of all ages, offers a home-like atmosphere and is a non-denominational faith based organization where those of strong faith or those of none can come comfortably.  The GriefCare Place educates participants about grief and provides caring volunteers who walk alongside and companion them during the grieving/healing process."

Almost 18 years ago I had my first born son, Finn.  He was such a joy and I loved being a mother so much!  When he was around 6 months old I was already wanting to bring another baby into the world!  I found out I was pregnant soon after and, if that wasn’t exciting enough, this time we were expecting twins!  My husband Brad and I were elated and couldn’t believe our ears!  

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3 months into my pregnancy I went in to my check up and I had a strange feeling that morning before I went in that I wasn’t pregnant anymore.  When I went into the doctors office they did an ultrasound and it was there that they told me that the babies had stopped growing since my last appointment.  When I realized what this meant, my eyes welled up with tears and I couldn’t believe what was happening.  The feelings of shock and sadness overwhelmed me.  The days and weeks that followed were very emotional as I grieved the loss of my babies.  

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During that time in my life, I was in college in the process of getting my art studio degree.  I was taking a drawing class where we had freedom to draw anything we wanted to for our project.  One day as I was driving my commute to school, I had a vision of these drawings.  I feel like every once in a while God drops a vision in my head of something that he wants me to create and share with the world.  

These drawings are self portraits where I express the process of my pregnancy.  The joy, the wonder, and finally, the sorrow.

My grief process didn’t end with sorrow.  There was more to my grief journey than that.  The way that I was able to find peace in my situation was through having my hands open to God. I needed to surrender the babies that I lost to the Lord because they are His anyway.  I felt like when I was able to release them to Him, that is when healing was able to take place.

After we lost our twins, I still wasn’t done with my struggles.  I wanted to be pregnant again right away so badly.  But that wasn’t what God had in store for me.  It was month after month of disappointment as I struggled to become pregnant again.  It was a constant state of surrender that I had to be in during this time as I had to trust God that he had a plan for my life. 

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Ecclesiastes 11:5 As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.  

It was a year and a half of disappointment month after month of trying to conceive and then finally I found out I was pregnant with my second son, Sully.  I was elated!!  It was quite a journey during that time of waiting and God really taught me a lot during that time of my life.  He taught me that His ways are higher than my ways and that I had to trust Him with everything in my life. It is hard to not have control over things and through this experience I learned that I had to give over the control to God.  I had to be in a constant state of surrendering to the Lord with my hands open to him instead of having my hands in a tight grip holding on to what I wanted for my life.  

Not every journey has a happy ending, but even in my case after being able to have kids, I still feel like I have to work at the idea of surrender.  I can live in fear worrying about all the things that could happen to my kids and keep a tight grasp on them and try to control things by worrying. Or, I can try to live every day with my palms open in surrender where I surrender my kids to God for Him to do with their lives what he pleases.  It is not easy to do, but there is a peace that comes from surrender.

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

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Since marrying my husband almost 20 years ago, God has blessed me with 4 boys who I adore and I am so thankful for every day I get to spend with my family!

Art has been a wonderful therapy for me to help me with expressing feelings and emotions that can sometimes be hard to express in words.  It is a way for me to permanently record my grief journey on paper.  I would encourage everyone to find a way to express your own personal journey in some tangible form because there is healing that comes when you are able to do that, and it will look different for every one.  

It was so moving last night to talk to people and hear about their own personal stories and I feel honored that I had this opportunity!

Custom Fashion Illustration

Recently, I did a fashion illustration for a mother to give to her 16 year old daughter for her 16th birthday.  I thought that was such a thoughtful idea and so special!  The mother said that the fashion illustration brought tears to her eyes when she opened it, which totally made my day!

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All you need to have a fashion illustration done is a photo that you can email me, and just leave the rest up to me!  If you have any specific requests you can let me know and I would be happy to work with you.  Email me with any questions you may have at taratories@gmail.com or order yours today HERE!

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Inside Out

This summer has been less about producing art and more about learning, being inspired, and spending time with my kids.  Usually. I spend my summers fighting for time to work on my art, and this summer I decided to take a much needed break and just be all there with my kids which I have been longing to do.  

Alongside hanging out with my boys, I also decided to take part in a local course here in Akron called "Artist as an Entrepreneur" that was offered at the Summit Artspace here in Akron.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but what I did know was that in art school they never taught us the business end of things.  I spent a lot of time in the studio in college, but not a lot of time learning how to turn my art into a business.. This has been the missing piece for me since I graduated 15 years ago in 2002, and it was time to finally do something about it!  

This course was offered to artists who were at any stage in their career and was led by various successful Akron business owners and other local experts on the subjects covered.  There were people there who hadn't even begun selling their work, and people who have been doing art as a career for 40+ years.  There were writers, painters, actors, photographers, architects, and many other kinds of artists that were a part of it.  We covered topics like how to price your work, copyright, business planning, accounting and finance, and a ton of other subjects.  It was an invaluable 2 weeks of my summer and I am so excited to implement all of the things that I learned  when my kids go to school next week!  

During the first night of AEI, we each did a little warm up zentangle drawing on wooden bowls and I love the way they turned out! I also love the impact of all of them together in a grouping.  The way that they are similar but all uniquely different really exemplifies all of us as artists.  We were coming together as artists with a common purpose, yet we were all on different paths according to our unique passions and gifts along with our own strengths and weaknesses.  

I am so thankful that Akron is caring for artists with courses like this, and another thing I am thankful for is "Inside/Out" here in Akron.  "Inside/Out" is a community-activated art project that brings high quality art reproductions from the Akron Art Museum's collection into different Akron area neighborhoods.  I just adore seeing beautiful works of art every summer in the most unexpected of places!  This painting was behind a coffee shop that is new to the area called "Compass Coffee" and I just loved it!  I caught a glimpse of her through the window as I was sipping on an amazing drink and I couldn't wait to sneak out back and check it out!  I especially love the scale of this one.

This next painting was found at the Wolf Creek Winery overlooking their beautiful grounds. This painting was such a beautiful addition to the landscape and seemed to fit right in with its surroundings while still managing to be the star of the show.  Seeing art out of the museum and in our every day surroundings just makes me happy.  It causes me to look a little closer at the painting more than I would if I were looking at it in a museum. Having the paintings out in different environments also seems to change the way we see our surroundings and helps us appreciate them in a different way.

When it comes to inspiration, sometimes we need to step out of our four walls and daily norm and into a new environment or situation where we can start to learn about the world in a different way, kind of like this "Inside/Out" concept.  

Where can you take your beautiful self today to get out of your comfort zone and into a new environment?  There is a beautiful world out there waiting to inspire and teach you all kinds of things, you just have to take the first step.  Where will you venture today?

Nervous Dog

Cozy nooks, great atmosphere, superb coffee... that's what you will find at Nervous Dog coffee bar here in Akron on West Market Street.  It has always been my favorite coffee shop here and I was thrilled to have my art hanging in there this past month.  

I have a few paintings there from my "Flights of Curiosity" collection that I completed during my artist residency in Wales in 2016.  I hung the folktales that the paintings were inspired by next to each of the paintings.  They will be up through the end of July, so if you are local to Akron and haven't had a chance to see them yet, you still have through next Monday to see them!

Spring Cleaning Flash Sale

I have been doing a little bit of spring cleaning in my studio and recently went through some old portfolios.  I decided that instead of leaving them trapped in a dark portfolio, I would release them into the world into the light where others can enjoy them!  There are 19 works available.  

This is how it works...

1. Go to my Facebook page by clicking HERE

2. Every piece of art is numbered so message me with the number of the art that you are interested in and what you would like to offer for it!  

3.  Once we have come to an agreement on price, you will pay me over Pay Pal and I will mark it as sold and get it to you!  

4. Share this blog post on social media, or share my Facebook post on your page, if you want to help an artist out;)

This sale ends this Sunday, June 4th. Thank you!!