Taratories Blog

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.


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.  


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.

Custom Letters

The week I got back from France I was a part of a home boutique in the area where various artists and home businesses could come together and sell their products and services.  I have always loved personalized kinds of gifts, and custom letters seemed like a personal gift everyone could appreciate.  I started with spelling out the word "ART" to give examples of what they could look like, and then I took orders from there.


These were done in my mixed media technique of ink wash and colored pencil.  I used a font where I would have space to draw inside each of the letters.  I drew the letters free hand and then drew out different flower designs inside the letters.  I loved choosing a different color palette for each letter, and then enjoyed experimenting doodling around the letters.  I left the drawing incomplete at the bottoms of the letters because, when viewing art, I love being able to see part of the process of the artists' hand at work.

Here are some more letters...

Here are some of the letters in progress...

My son, Killian, even joined in one day and tried out his hand in his own letter...

These are a few examples of some of the letters that I did where flowers were not incorporated.  For some of the flower ones I had suggestions from people for flower type, or colors that they wanted included.  Others wanted the letters to reflect interests of the people the letters were being done for.  For the first one here, this person liked the color blue and Golden Books.  The second one liked country, amish, and blue and red.  This is what I came up with.  I loved the challenge of taking information from my customer and researching, thinking, sketching, and translating that information into a piece of art that still reflected me and my style even if the subject was not something that was of interest to me.  

I had an order that was done for a young lady for her birthday spelling out her name.  She wanted to use the designs that were in her bed spread.

She was so happy with them and it made my day to receive this picture on her birthday with her wide grin!  It is one thing to enjoy making art, but when it is used and appreciated by someone else it makes the whole process that much sweeter!  That is the cherry on the top.  It made me laugh when they said that they realized that her name could spell out "baby" so the letters will be used for many years to come!!!

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...