Taratories Blog

Made in London

This past week I decided to do a little self portrait inspired by my birthplace which is London.  I was born and raised in England and moved to the States when I was 10 years old.  Even though now I am a US citizen, England will always hold a special place in my heart.  I used watercolor paper because I was going to do the sketch of myself in pencil, and paint the background with watercolors. At first, I was irritated by the texture of the paper when I was drawing my face, but as time went on I grew to enjoy the texture.  I think it adds some dimension to the drawing.

Two of my favorite things in the world to draw are 1. hair, and 2. fabric.  They are similar in ways to me.  They seem to be alike in the way that they flow and fold.  With both, the depth of the layers create contrast depending on how the light hit the different areas.  I love drawing these layers!

I have worked with watercolor for many years, but I have not spent much time using watercolors with the wet-on-wet technique.  With this technique you apply a layer of water on the paper and then apply the paint onto that layer creating more of a free flowing affect.  I just love the spontaneity of this technique and I plan on experimenting more with this way of painting in the near future!  To add to this spontaneous look, I splattered my watercolor paint in the background and also on my dress.  I have never done the splattering before and it was really messy but really fun!   

I wanted to make it look like I painted the Union Jack behind myself which is why I included the paint brushes in my hands and added the splatters on my clothes.  I am really happy with the way this turned out and I hope to do more again!  I am now taking commissions, so if you are interested in having your portrait drawn in front of your homeland painted flag please contact me through my website or at taratories@gmail.com.

"Made in London" 9X12 by Tara Deetscreek   

"Made in London" 9X12 by Tara Deetscreek



"I always wished this photo from the night Gary proposed in London was more... well, pretty. Knowing Tara's unique style and that she was born in England, I showed it to her and asked if she could turn it into something prettier."- Audrey Wallace

And then I went to work.  I began by doing a sketch of the London Eye accompanied by various Art Nouveau inspired designs against a backdrop of the London skyline.  This was one of the most important steps in completing this piece because a good composition and plan set in place at the beginning helps eliminate a lot of problem solving along the way.  

Here is where I laid on the first wash of paint.  I painted a few layers for the sky grading from dark to light toward the horizon.  


Then I added the warm sunset glow...

I continued downward adding water.  After the water was done, I began the London sky line giving some depth with varying shades of silhouettes and sizes of buildings.  Some say at this stage it looks like the scene of something out of Mary Poppins.

This part was fun... adding the twinkling lights was like putting the cherry on the top of the skyline.  The city all of the sudden looked alive and inviting.

I then added the lovely couple.  Floating on the water, but not for long.


And now we have two peas in a pod.

I brought the Union Jack into my Art Nouveau inspired designs and used the sunset as my inspiration for colors.

Here is the finished result.