Taratories Blog

New Merch Shop!

I am so excited to announce that I have partnered with Society 6 and opened up a new merch shop! This partnership allows me to offer prints, canvases, and an amazing range of fun and beautiful products that features my whimsical paintings. I will be adding other products to my shop in the near future, and check out the other products available now and see what grabs your eye! https://society6.com/taradeetscreek

Custom Birds Nests

Back by popular demand for the 4th year is my custom birds nests!  In case you missed these last year, here is a little info on what these are about.  I make 9X9 inch mixed media paintings on canvas of nests with eggs representing children in them.  There are many customizations that I do to make these little gems as personal as possible.  These make great Mother's Day gifts or any day gifts and look great on a collage wall! These will be for sale for a limited time through May 6th.

1. Number of eggs- Depending on how many children are represented, I can paint as many eggs as you like!

2. Size of eggs- You can have larger eggs painted representing children, or smaller eggs painted to represent grand children.  Or you could combine and do both!  You can also use the smaller eggs to symbolized miscarried babies if you wish, I ask that you email me first to request unique customization like this before ordering.

3. Color of eggs- Depending on whether they are boys or girls I will paint either blue or pink.

4. Speckles- This year I am offering the choice of either brown speckles, or gold speckles if you are looking to add a little bling.

You can order these nests on my website www.taradeetscreek.com or by clicking HERE.


"Melancholy Mandrill"

Recently I painted a new animal painting to add to my collection that has been in the works.  I have always loved the look of Mandrill monkeys so I decided to use one for my next subject.  First I sketched out the basic placement lines of where I wanted the monkey and crowned african eagle to go.

I began the monkey by doing a layer of colored pencils on his face and body.  Then I followed the pencil with a layer of paint.  I continue the process of layering and building up the layers of pencil and paint until I achieve the results I want.

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The photo below is not quite done yet, but getting there...

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Almost there...


And finally there.  The cherry on the top was the details such as the little hairs on his eyes and nose and the reflections on his eyes.  The details are always my favorite and the parts that keep me chugging along when I am having a hard time pushing through.  Knowing I get to add these little details really put a fire underneath me to get to the finish line. Painting the texture of fur has been SO FUN for me! 


I always love a polka dot, and recently I am into pale pink combined with black, so this is what I chose for the background.


The background was done with a technique called negative painting.  An example of how it is done can be found HERE .  I also painted some imaginary fruit to add to the monkeys environment.


The intensity...


The final elements...


The finished painting...

"Melancholy Mandrill" 28X38 inches

"Melancholy Mandrill" 28X38 inches

This painting and others can be found at Artisan Coffee Shop at the Whole Foods Market in Akron for the whole month of April (1745 W Market St, Akron, OH 44313).

Blurred Lines

Last night I went to the Akron Art Museum for a panel discussion with some of the artists represented in the exhibit,  Beauty Reigns:  A Baroque Sensibility in Recent Painting.  This is the same show that I recently blogged about.  The artists a part of this art talk were Kamrooz Aram, Nancy Lorenz, and Susan Chrysler White.  They discussed what role beauty plays in painting today, and what stimulates contemporary artists to utilize bright colors and layered compositions, amongst many other things.  

There was some discussion about whether their work was ornamental, or decorative in nature.  Before the Arts and Crafts Movement, lower status was given to works of decorative art compared to fine art.  The Arts and Crafts Movement led to the decorative arts being given a higher status in society with a greater appreciation.  

Thinking of categorizing ones art into a certain category really made me think.  Lines are blurred so much in this day and age regarding what is considered art, or fine art, etc.  In the past, fine art was judged for its meaningfulness and beauty, and the the fact that it was in "good taste".  Today, there could be art with "bad taste" which could be considered avant-garde.  These avant-garde pieces could now be considered fine art.  The decorative arts were originally excluded from being considered fine art, but now there are no exclusions because the intention or concept of the artist is given priority, regardless of the way the artist chooses to express themselves.  

To an observer, a painting that is ornamental in nature that seems to have no meaning may be full of deep inspiration from the artist.  On the other hand, a painting that could be considered "fine art" may have no meaning at all.  Having these blurred lines for categorizing one's art can be freeing and at the same time, confusing.  Today, whether a piece of art is considered purely ornamental, decorative, fine art, or "beautiful" is up for debate.  Recently, I have been combining what would be considered "fine art" with design just to see what happens, and I am loving the results!  Art is always changing and I love living in a time of blurred lines!

Stages of "Into the Deep Blue"

I just recently had someone commission me to do a piece of art for them.  This piece was so fun to do because she let me have complete creative freedom and let the piece be a total surprise to her!  I was able to choose the size, medium, and subject matter and just go to town! I have never been given the chance to do something like this and, being that it was such a great experience,  I hope I have the chance to do something like this again!  I thought it would be interesting for people to see the stages that "Into the Deep Blue" went through.  I worked with a mixed media technique using inks and colored pencils to create a really atmospheric painting/drawing.  

This piece was 3X2ft, so due to the size, I created a grid on the canvas to help with the initial placement of my sketch.  After that I began drawing a few simple shapes that would be the focal points of my piece, i.e., the coral and fish.  Then I shaded all the areas that would be medium to dark in value to create a tonal background for me to layer on top of.  

After that first layer of neutral pencil, I went on with colors to start forming the subjects.  It is still a faint looking layer, but I hadn't added any inks yet.  The piece was already starting to take shape during this step though which was exciting.  The shapes were very abstract at the beginning which made it more challenging for me because I tend to work more realistically and precisely.  Letting go a little bit and just letting the scene be a little more ambiguous at this stage was a really good exercise for me.

This is the scary part... adding the layers of ink onto the drawing that was just done.  By adding the inks, the fish were already starting to pop and the abstract shapes were already looking less abstract.  I just love seeing the shapes morph as each layer is applied.  

Here is where I started to add some detail along the way which really made the coral and fish pop!  It is so hard for me to be patient up to this point because details are like the cherry on the top... the really fun part.  I probably rushed a little to get to the detail, as you can see, because the ink washes weren't even done yet, but I just couldn't wait!

Its all about the little details.  The highlights around the holes in the coral...

The scales on the fish...

Here is the finished product which I am really happy with!  I added a lot more blue ink and pencil to the background which helped give the piece more depth.  There were many, many layers of pencil and ink that made this piece what it is, but that is what makes the piece interesting to me.  I have always loved working in layers, compared to working in a more flat manor.  I love the depth that the layers bring.  I think my personality goes along with the way I like to do art.  I love dreaming of what's next, seeing the beauty of life unfold, and I love the journey!! 

Here are a few words from the person that commissioned me to do this piece...