Taratories Blog

"The Fox and the Hare"

I began this painting with the idea of trying something new.  Animals are not something that I have not explored much before, but the thought of painting a sweet little hare was enticing.  

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I use a mixture of acrylic paint and colored pencil in my paintings. I started by shading with my pencils on the canvas and then adding a layer of paint on top of the pencils. I continue the layering process with the pencils and paint until I get the results that I want. 

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I discovered that the colored pencils are the perfect medium for capturing the texture of fur and whiskers, etc. which means my medium works perfectly with animals!  I can also achieve the glassiness of an eye with my paints and pencils.  The eyes seem to be the features that really brings the animals to life!

After I drew the hare, I naturally surrounded him or her in a circular frame which I usually incorporate into my work.  I sensed a look of alarm on the hare's face which is why I added a predator... the fox.  He is interacting with the hare, yet he is still separated from him.  He is protected from his environment inside the circle.  

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I just loved painting the orange tones in the fox and I just knew that a blue background would be the perfect compliment to his fur.

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I used a photo I took from time spent in Wales as inspiration for the wooded background.  I also added a sprinkle of gold speckles around him to create some movement and give the impression of fireflies, or fairies, or whatever you want them to be.  The pattern in the background brings more movement into the painting and cause the viewer to keep their eyes moving around the painting.  The pattern also adds to the story being told.  If you notice, there are hare silhouettes running away amongst the pattern which could be an omen of what is to come...

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The Fox and the Hare, 20X30 inches

The Fox and the Hare, 20X30 inches

Above is a picture of me with the painting right before I packaged it up and shipped it to its new owner. I literally sold it to someone as I was putting the finishing touches on it which was so exciting!  Someone reached out to me because she had seen my posts on social media of my progress shots and she was drawn to the painting for a couple of reasons. 1. she collects rabbits, and 2. Her maiden name was "Fox"!  How perfect is that!!

I never know how people will connect with my art which really shows me that I need to keep being true to myself, because there will be someone out there that may connect for reasons I would never think of.  Here is a photo of the painting in its new home and it looks like it was meant to live there!  It brings me so much joy when I see my art in other people's homes and is truly the best part of my job!!  

I am going to continue to try painting more animals and explore this idea of animals and their prey and hopefully build a collection. Stay tuned!  For daily updates on my process, etc. make sure you follow me on Instagram and Facebook @taradeetscreek_artist so you won't miss a beat!

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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.  

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

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"Instagraham"

I just finished a painting today of a beautiful mother and child.  I have found that the type of art that brings me the most joy to create is the kind that I have the most connection with.  I may or may not know my subject that I am doing a portrait of personally, but either way, when there is a mother and child in a loving embrace such as this, I feel instantly connected.  God blessed me four times with babies to snuggle and with each child it was a magical experience.  What I would give to go back in time and experience those tender moments again...

I took this photo of them when this baby was about a month old.  The fact that she was a first time mother made this moment I captured even more special.  

I worked in my medium of a mixture of fluid acrylics and colored pencil on canvas. Layer upon layer, and wash upon wash, I developed this painting and brought it to a soft and dreamy place.

For this custom painting, she requested blues and greens along with hydrangeas.  I incorporated hydrangeas in a more subtle abstract way in the background which gave some depth and texture to the painting.  I snuck in some bird silhouettes and added some touches of gold, of course.  These are two signature elements I feel MUST be included in the portraits that I do ;)  I played around with the composition with this painting and placed the mother and baby off center and coming out of the corner. I was pleased with how it turned out and I can't wait to do more!  I am taking orders for mother and baby portraits, but these orders will not be started until 2017.  To place your order email me at taratories@gmail.com or click HERE.  

"instagraham" 20X20

"instagraham" 20X20

Little Luv Bugs

Recently I had the pleasure of doing a pair of commissioned portraits for someone of her two daughters.  The person that had me do the portraits is the photographer of Luv Bug Photography .  What a gift it was to have gorgeous photos to work with!  The reason I changed the flowers on this photo was to coordinate with a family picture of theirs.  

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The reason I changed the flowers on this photo was to coordinate with a family picture of theirs.  Here is a look into the different stages that this painting went through...

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The second photo was just as dreamy as the first and really portrayed the true essence of childhood. 

I contemplated how I was going to paint her straw hat, and keeping the color of the canvas as the main color was my solution. I just added the shadows and highlights to it with paint and pencil.

I had a variety of ideas of how I was going to incorporate designs into this one, but I just felt that any designs added was going to take away from all that was going on.  I decided to just add some gold dots on some of the leaves to give the painting a little extra something and I'm really happy with how it turned out.  Sometimes less is more.  

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I had the pleasure of hand delivering these little 10X10 paintings to my client on her birthday! I felt so honored that she chose paintings from me as her birthday present to herself.  Please feel free to contact me through my website or email me at taratories@gmail.com if you are interested in a custom portrait for you or someone else.  

Plaza Mayor, Salamanca

Today I just finished a painting that someone commissioned me to paint for them. The individual spent a year abroad in Spain and wanted me to capture the Plaza Mayor in Salamanca, Spain on canvas.  It is a popular gathering area which is considered the heart of Salamanca and is regarded as one of the most beautiful plazas in Spain.  She wanted me to capture the plaza at night with people gathering among its shadows.  The prep for the initial lines took me quite some time.  I did a small sketch of the building and made a grid to enlarge it to its larger proportional size.  Getting the perspective right in this piece was crucial and, with all the detail in the building, I had to be as precise as possible with my measurements.  Once these lines were transferred onto the canvas I felt like the hardest, most important, job was done!   

It was fun to shift gears and start laying down a wash of yellow on the canvas.  I love technical drawing, but it can be strenuous on the mind, and my mind in particular needs a good layer of wash here and there to keep it feeling in balance.

After I laid down the first coat of paint, I mixed a darker yellow ochre color to start building up the shadows and painted that on.

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I then started adding a coat of black to all the areas that needed it and, in this stage, the sky felt very dark and ominous.

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I added another coat to the black areas which calmed down the sky a bit.  I contemplated doing a third coat on the sky, but I liked the way that the underlying strokes added texture and movement so I decided to leave it alone.  I was really pleased with the way that the yellow reacted when I put layers of black wash over the shaded areas.  

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I was holding off with the ground until I decided in my mind how I was going to go about painting it, but once I was done with the majority of the building I was ready to take it on.  More yellow wash was added to the ground.

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I then started painting vertical black washes over the yellow which would act as shadowed reflections from the building.

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I added more layers until I got the ground looking the way I wanted it to.

Lastly, I added some colored pencil details in the building and painted some silhouettes of the people congregating in the plaza.  She wanted her and her family painted in the crowd as well so I added some figures in color along with her and her family in the bottom right corner.  This painting was something totally different that anything I have ever done and it was a good challenge for me!

Plaza Mayor, Salamanca 34X21

Plaza Mayor, Salamanca 34X21

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!