Taratories Blog

"Bleeding Hearts"

Recently I did a commissioned painting for a man who lost his daughter to cancer this past year.  In this photo there is a father sharing a sweet moment with his daughter who was battling cancer at the time that this was taken. He is a photographer and normally is behind the lense, but for this brief moment he was the one captured on film instead. 

Using my typical circular designs, I framed the faces and sketched in the placement of everything on my canvas.  I began layering skin tones first with my paint and colored pencils.

I developed his face first and then moved on to hers.

The joy captured in their expressions in this moment in time was so touching.

Changing the color of his shirt helped me go with a monochromatic and more subdued color palette.  The shadow where there heads are touching really became an important element of this painting because it gave some important depth and contrast.

After searching and searching for the perfect flower to include in this piece, I stumbled across the "bleeding heart" flower and right away knew this was the perfect choice because of its symbolism.

The person who commissioned me to do this painting asked me if I would make sure the designs weren't distracting from the faces.  So instead of color, I chose to paint with gold to be used as a neutral inside the outer circle.  

I then began painting in the flowers and designs.  I chose the white "bleeding hearts" with tips of red to help tie in the little sliver of red in the camera.  I struggled so much with picking a color for the background behind their faces...

I needed a color that wasn't too strong, yet one that would be dark enough so that the heads would stand out from it.  I didn't want a distracting color, and I didn't want to clash with the colors I already had here.  So many things to consider.  I ended up layering many different colors of paint and pencil to achieve the color that I ended up with.  I just kept going with one more layer until it felt right!  

The blue washy background really made everything pop and tied it all together.  I was so glad to be able to be a part of this family's healing through the language of art.  As I painted this piece I found myself praying for the family and feeling my heart bleed...


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.

Beauty Within the Boundaries

Kids want boundaries.  In fact they thrive within boundaries.  I believe that we ALL need boundaries in our lives to have healthy, happy lives.  When there are no boundaries we can feel overwhelmed, insecure, unsafe, and uncertain.  

When I was in art class in high school I remember the projects my teacher would give us... Draw this still life, copy this photo, paint this landscape, sketch this figure.  Every assignment was constructed within some sort of boundary.  Within these boundaries I felt such a sense of freedom, and with less options for choices I was seldomly overwhelmed.  

I have always loved Art Nouveau and, recently, I have been trying to infuse some of the characteristics of Art Nouveau into my work.  After countless hours of pouring myself over Art Nouveau books I have been able to really understand all of the things that makes Art Nouveau what it is.  One of the things that is used repeatedly in Art Nouveau designs are circles.  I have tried incorporating circles in my work recently and I am LOVING the freedom it is giving me.  For some reason the rectangle shape of a piece of paper does NOT give me that same sense of freedom.  This circle has become my boundary within the realm of art.  I tend to get overwhelmed by a blank canvas or sheet of paper, and having to begin a piece of art starting with a circle has really helped!  When I decided to add the circle element, I had no idea that it would become a beautiful boundary for me, but it has!

Some inspirational art nouveau pieces...

This has been my circle template for the last few weeks for a new project I am undertaking.  Each design I am working on starts with this...

I am so excited to share the finished products with everyone once it is time, but for now, here is a little peak.