Taratories Blog

Two Birds of a Feather Flock Together

My most recent class was a Valentines Day couples class.  I have never had a couples painting class before and I just loved how fun it was with the students and their partners!  The subject they had to paint was a beautiful watercolor swan.  

I gave them 2 different blues and a green to mix for their water and they were able to find their own personal color mixture that they used to paint the water.  We even used some purple in the shadows on the swan, but for the most part we left the white of the paper show through for the body of the swan except for some shadows from the feathers.  Watercolor is so different than any other paint medium in this way because you don't use white paint, you just use the white of the paper instead which I love. 

I adore how they turned out!  Each couple painted their swan in the opposite direction from their spouses swan to form a heart when put together.  I love how each painting was different with their own personalities.  I definitely want to have more spouses attend my classes together in the future.  It is so great for couples to experience creativity together!  If you are interested in booking a class here in Akron with your favorite couples email me at taratories@gmail.com and we can set that up!  My March art class is now open for registration and I am really excited about it!  Click HERE for more information and to sign up!

I have this "Flying Swans" painting that I did on my residency in Wales that I am selling prints of.  The prints are 24X12 and cost $29 each.  I add gold leaf to every print along with a golden signature.

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The swan print was inspired by my painting entitled "The Green Man's Daughter."  This original painting is available for purchase and I am also selling prints of it as well.  Print sizes: 11X14- $39 and 18X24- $69.  These unique prints also come with gold embellishments.  Email me at taratories@gmail.com if you are interested in purchasing any of these prints!

Adult Art Classes in Full Swing

These past couple of months have been busy with adult art classes in full swing! I had 3 themes for my art classes.  First, I held 2 classes with a "Watercolor Hydrangea" theme.  I taught the women how to do a watercolor painting of hydrangea flowers using a technique called "negative painting."  

With this technique, you paint in layers around your flower blooms to create depth.  It is so fun and kind of magical!  The women really enjoyed seeing the flowers come together through this layered process.

The second class theme was "Zentangle Umbrellas."  First, we used turquoise ink to create a rainy sky.  This step of the process was so spontaneous and fun!

Next we drew and shaded the umbrellas, and finally created the Zentangle patterns with pen and ink.  I loved the way they turned out!

The most recent class theme was "Fall Crafting and Cookies." During this night we decorated pumpkins using hot glue to create our leaf relief designs.  Then we painted a couple coats of white chalk paint on top of the pumpkins, and then brushed the gold paint on top to give it the finishing touches and bling that every girl loves.

During the drying time we decorated pumpkin cookies and drank apple cider.  This was a great time to socialize and connect with new friends.  It was also a great way to celebrate the beginning of fall!

Summer Art Classes

This summer I decided to do more art camps for kids.  I did two themes this summer with the first theme being a Gustav Klimt inspired painting.  I wanted the kids to paint their own tree of life inspired by the colors and feel of his painting, but with each one being their own unique masterpieces.  

They all stained their canvases with a beautiful wash of gold paint to create a backdrop for their paintings.  We observed Klimt's painting and picked out all of the shapes that were incorporated into his subjects.  They used some of the same shapes in their own paintings and created some of their own shapes as well!   

I let them have a lot of creative freedom and expression in these paintings and I just LOVE the way they went with it and how they turned out!  Look how proud they are of them :)

The second theme of the summer was watercolor painting.  I decided to hold not only a kids class, but also an adult class as well!  This was to be my very first adult class taught here in Akron. I used to teach drawing and ceramics to adults before I moved to Akron which I enjoyed very much!  I gathered that there was some interest in some adult classes around here so I thought I would try one here and see how it goes...

I was inspired by someone on Instagram ( @selfpollinate ) who arranges flowers and other natural elements in circular patterns and I thought it would be beautiful if this type of arrangement could be made into a painting!  I found a way to repeat a hand drawn pattern in this circular form, and with some watercolor paints added to it, it really became something beautiful.

I first tested it out with my kids class.  They did very well with it, the only problem being some of their designs got a little too complex and confusing along the way.  My warning to "keep it simple" was not heeded too closely and there was definite regret.  

They finished off their drawings beautifully with colorful watercolor markings and I was thrilled with how they all turned out and how different they were!  That seems to be the running theme of what makes me happiest about teaching.  I LOVE the variations that people come up with which makes sense because God created our minds so uniquely... "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;  your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14

Next was my adult class. I had 9 women sign up for this class and it was the perfect number.  It was a completely different experience for me and it was refreshing to teach an older crowd since it had been so long since I had done something like this! 

It was great getting to know some of these girls more in a fun and creative setting and I loved watching these masterpieces develop!

These girls really floored me with the fantastic designs they created from scratch and painted.  I couldn't have dreamed up more beautiful paintings!

They worked so hard and diligently and were most proud of themselves at what they had accomplished.

This class went so well that I intend to host more adult classes in the near future, so watch out for my announcements on Facebook and Instagram. Also check back on my website to keep updated on my art class page to find out when new classes arrive!  If you would like to be on an email list to be updated when I have new classes coming up, please email me at taratories@gmail.com or contact me through my website.

Making Patterns with Printmaking

Today's art class was a really fun one.  We got to dabble in a little printmaking.  One of my students had a great idea to roll paint on the paper to add some color and texture to the background.  I just LOVE it when kids come up with their own awesome ideas to make an art project better! 

Instead of the traditional method of carving designs into a surface to create the designs, I went with a much easier and less dangerous option which was using foam stickers to create the designs.  They were to create two designs each that were both symmetrical in nature.  They started from the center and worked their way out on their design boards to create a symmetrical pattern.  They cut some of the shapes to form other shapes.  It was fun to see what they came up with!

After their designs were complete they used brayers to roll paint onto the foam shapes on their design boards.  Mixing colors with the roller is fun for all ages ;)

They then stamped their designs on top of their papers and I just love how they all turned out.  Every one unique from the next!

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This was, by far, one of my favorite art projects that we have done in my art classes and I would love to expand more on printmaking with them in the future!

Optical Illusions

Today in my art class I exposed them to the artist, M.C. Escher.  I showed them a lot of examples of optical illusions and, of course, they were very blown away and mesmerized by what they saw! Op art is such a fun form of art for kids and it was so fun watching their little faces try to figure out what they were seeing in the artwork. 

We drew some simple optical illusions today drawing/shading 3D blocks that seem to be falling apart.

They were able to get creative with their backgrounds behind the blocks drawing whatever fantasy land they could dream up.  I like this interesting take on the blocks shown below.  This student wanted the perspective to be looking down through the hole like it was missing floor boards.  She shaded the abyss darker toward the center to give the illusion of the hole getting deeper.  

The color behind the blocks really helped separate the blocks from the background giving the illusion of depth and distance. 

I like the way they turned out and they seemed to be proud of them too!

Tropical Underwater Eggshell Mosaics

Today was the last art camp of the summer.  It was a beautiful summer day, and in keeping with a summertime theme we made tropical underwater eggshell mosaic canvases.  First step was to paint their canvases an ocean blue.  I explained to them what makes a good composition and they brainstormed what kinds of fish or other creatures they would draw.  The students then drew out their ocean creatures on paper and colored them with markers. They planned out their colors using markers so that they knew what colors to paint their eggshells.  

We have obviously eaten a lot of eggs in my household which turned out to be very beneficial.  They each received their own carton of eggs.  This part was tricky because it was kind of a guessing game as to how many eggs to paint of each color.  I just love that the cartons also served as holders for the eggs after they were painted!  We set them outside in the sun to dry while we ate lunch.  

With bellies full and hands ready to tackle the next stage, the kids started glopping on their glue and pressing down their eggshells in their penciled in designs.  This part was very fun for them, but also very sticky.  

It was fun to see it all come together in a beautiful mosaic of color on their canvases.  Some of them also chose to add shells, spanish moss for seaweed, and thin layer of blue glitter to add a little shimmer.  Some chose to keep it simple.  

I loved the way they turned out and love the way the colors pop on this clown fish against the ocean backdrop.  I am so thankful for all the enthusiasm that kids have when they create.  It really is contagious.  I love their imaginations and the freedom they give themselves within the realms of art.  I enjoy watching their personalities come out in their work and, in the end, I love seeing their faces light up in satisfaction as they look at their art and see what they have created.  What a joy they are, and what a great day!