Taratories Blog

Island in the Sky

This summer I was commissioned to do a 5ft X 5ft Curiosity Portrait but without an actual portrait. My Curiosity Portraits are heirloom paintings, created on commission, and painted specifically for the individual.  I interview my clients to learn about their life and what makes them unique.  I then go back to my studio and find symbols and elements from my interview notes that I will then use in my preliminary sketches.  After brainstorming creative ways to combine the various imagery, I begin.

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The first thing that I painted was this whale. I’ve never painted a whale before and, I must say, it was my favorite part to paint! I asked her “what scene of a movie or book would you step into if you could?” She told me that she would step into the movie “Man on Fire” where a bodyguard fought for a little girls life. She loved the relationship he had with the little girl and how he gave his life for her. She talked about the memory of the time where she was on a swim team and didn’t feel like she could make it to the end of the lap. Her dad came to the edge and told her, “it’s ok, you can stop swimming.” She always wanted that kind of male presence to keep her safe. I represented this male presence with one of her favorite animals, a whale. She loves how majestic they are. The whale is rescuing her and will be holding up everything in this painting that represents her.

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When I saw the wall in the home where this painting would be hung, I noticed the design on the chairs in the room. Incorporating the design around the whale gave added a graphic element and also added some movement and depth to the painting.

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Then I painted a wash of blue over the entire bottom of the painting.

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She asked God if she were to be an animal what would she be, and He revealed to her that she would be an owl. I loved painting this great horned owl on top of its own little garden island.

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She has always wanted to see a hummingbird nest, and now so do I!

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One of her favorite flowers is the hydrangea…

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Her friend had a vision of her in a garden as a flower. This flower was no ordinary flower, but one that was larger than life! In her vision, God told the flower “I love you, you are one of my favorites.”

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This flower was the most time consuming element in the painting. To give you an idea of size, it’s about 3 times the size as my head. I probably spent about 30 hours on the flower alone! I layered colored pencil, paint, pencil, paint, and so on, until I achieved the desired look that I wanted.

At some points as I worked on it, it was very meditative and soothing as I worked on the repetitive petals, but there were some times that it was really hard to push through and work because it was feeling monotonous. Working on art is a very good discipline and it is a good feeling when you push through the hard parts and stand back to see what you have accomplished in the end.

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She requested that I incorporate these butterflies and I let the blue sky peak through the wings since it was the exact color that I needed for the butterflies. I surrounded the flower with the butterflies to give glory to the flower. I represented God’s favor on her with the gold dots falling from the heavens onto the flower.

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One of her favorite things to do as a child was to swing on her swing in her garden…

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Incorporating this caterpillar was another request…

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This is a photo of me and the painting before it was stretched and framed.

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Here it is in its new home! It was such an honor to do this painting and I can’t wait to paint more Curiosity Portraits in my lifetime. If you are interested in having me paint your story without words, email me at taratories@gmail.com.

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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!

"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