Taratories Blog

Let the Rain Reign

This past year I painted one of my sisters cradling her baby.  I have been wanting to paint my other sister as well and this week I decided to finally make that happen.  I used a photo of her face to use for reference.  Here are the beginning lines with the placement of her features and some art nouveau inspired designs circling around her.

Here is the first layer of paint and pencil on her face where I established the highlights and shadows.  One of my sons told me that it looked like she had sunblock on, and I agreed!  

She started looking more realistic after I added more layers of paint and pencil over her skin.  I gave her some highlighted hair and a flower as a focal point. 

Here is the first splash of color...

more color...

The left corner needed something and I decided this little guy would balance out the composition perfectly.  

I felt like this piece needed more texture and I found myself using paint that I had just used on my bird to add another layer to this piece.  I say "I found myself" because it happened so fast I didn't have time to discuss with myself if it would be a good idea or not.  I make a lot of calculated decisions in my art, but the most invigorating moments are the ones that I don't plan.  The decisions that are on a whim, that come from a feeling, that are a risk.  Sometimes it doesn't work out, but if it does it usually is my favorite part.  These spontaneous gestures may help me to find a new technique or find myself. They teach me to let go and lean on my creative intuition.  This week it rained on my canvas and there was nothing I could do to stop it.  Take cover my friends and let the rain reign.

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"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.  

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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.

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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.

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Stories From the Nest

Over a month ago, I decided that I was going to do a Mother's Day themed custom art piece that would be available for the whole month leading up to Mother's Day.  I have always loved birds and also birds nests and they seemed appropriate for all that encompasses being a mother.  There is such a calming and peaceful feeling that I get when I look at the resting eggs in their nests.  They symbolize life, children, and the wonder associated with all that is to come or that has come already.  I begun advertising these eggs with them being robins blue with the option of number of eggs in the nests.  It quickly evolved to more options!  Someone asked if I could make some pink ones for girl eggs.  Then there were twin children who were distinguished by difference of color.  Next, someone asked if I could do a smaller egg to symbolize a miscarried child and I absolutely loved that!  When that piece was shared on social media, people really connected with that idea and there were a lot of people following that piece wanting to have their heavenly babies included in their nests as well.  I also had someone who lost a child at a very young age that they wanted to have a part of their nest.  There were even nests with grand baby eggs.  I was so very touched by peoples stories and I felt a great connection with their lives as I was painting their eggs.  Art has a way of bringing healing by acknowledgement of what one has gone through.  I have found that as I do custom art, I find that it has a way of reaching into my heart as well.  These are some of the nests that I painted/drew...

I began this nesting by doing my first giveaway on Instagram which was so much fun!  The winner turned out to be my friend Audrey who was happy to win this to give to a friend. I loved this whole giveaway experience and I will definitely be doing it again!  

As I worked on my canvases, I clipped them on this wire in my studio until I was ready to mount them.

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I mounted them on wood with a staple gun and then wrapped them up in paper and twine for people for them to give as gifts or for them to open themselves.  

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I just love how some of these nests ended up being displayed in peoples homes!  These small canvases are perfect for collage walls which really seem to be "the thing" right now.  

Seeing my art in people's homes brings me great joy!  It is an honor to have something I have created on display for others to enjoy and connect with.  I hope these nests tell lots of stories without words to people.  I hope they bring deep joy and healing to others as well.