Taratories Blog

Custom Wedding invitation

Recently these two love birds got married and I was able to make their wedding invitations a little more personalized that the typical invitation. I used photographs of them to work from in their wedding attire and painted them separately in their oval frames.  


I love how they turned out on the wedding invitations! I just think it is such a unique idea and the watercolor sketches really make them lighthearted and fun!


They even used them for the cake toppers!  I love it when things are repurposed for different uses like this.


I used the original painting that I did for the commission as a gift to the lovely couple.  I also included the addition of a portion of a bible verse and their wedding date.  It was such an honor to be part of their special day in this small way!  


Plein Air Painting in Peninsula

Ever since I have lived in Akron, I have wanted to do the local Plein Air painting completion in the neighboring town of Peninsula.  Every other year it didn't seem to fit in with my schedule, but this year there was time to squeeze some outdoor painting in.  "Plein Air" is from the French expression, "in the open air."  I am not a landscape painter by any means, but I do love a good challenge.  I really like to push myself into new territories every once in a while because it forces me to grow and learn and to get out of my comfort zone.  

I woke up early and headed over to the Peninsula Art Academy where we were to bring our canvases to get stamped and get a map of the area.  I drove around for about a half an hour to find a good location. First I started off in town, but there were already artists situated on the side of the street in what I thought were good locations, and I didn't want to intrude into their spaces.  I was happy though, because I had envisioned myself by a lake somewhere in peace and quiet where I would not be disturbed.  Eventually I found that picturesque lake I was hoping for at Kendall Lake.  All that was there was a few fishermen on the dock so I figured I wouldn't be bothered there. 

I found an area that had a great view of the water and I started unloading my stuff.  It was muddy, but I was prepared with my waterproof hiking boots so I didn't mind at all.  As I started to set everything up I thought to myself, "what in the heck am I doing?  I have a million other things I could be doing right now and here I am standing in the mud setting up an easel."  I pushed that thought aside and indulged in the moment.  Doing things that are not practical are sometimes necessary for the soul.

I began painting.  I absolutely loved being in nature and hearing the bullfrogs and watching the red winged black birds fly around me.  It felt like I just pushed pause on life and was able to breath clearly.  It was a little cool, but sunny, so pleasant.  I soon got in the zone, and that's when they started coming... the visitors.  People were curious as to what I was painting and began to strike up conversations with me.  

One man told me that he was an artist and used to work for American Greetings.  He went on to tell me that because he had to do his art for a job to please others, it ended up killing his creativity and left him not wanting to be an artist in the end.  So sad.

Another man told me that he used to come to the lake with a friend of his and sit on the bench nearby.  They used to paint there together and did not communicate with words.  The friend of his was Chinese and spoke only Mandarin, so they connected through art which transcends all language barriers.  His friend since passed away.  This story was so touching.

I had many other interesting conversations with people while I was there and found out from the park volunteers that there are baby eagles in a nest nearby (which they were right because my family and I went looking for them where they said they were, and they were there!).  Near the end, a man stopped by to observe and his dog planted a hot steamy one right behind where I was standing!  He was so embarrassed and I was glad that I was almost done painting!  It turns out that the most inspirational part of Plein Air painting was the conversations I had with people, which was the very thing I was planning on avoiding!  

My painting is now for sale at the Peninsula Art Academy (hours: Wed-Sun 11-5pm) and there will be an artist reception next Friday on May 26th from 6-9pm where they will announce the winners of the competition.  Hope to see you there!

Photo credit for all photographs: Cara Mancari

Two Birds of a Feather Flock Together

My most recent class was a Valentines Day couples class.  I have never had a couples painting class before and I just loved how fun it was with the students and their partners!  The subject they had to paint was a beautiful watercolor swan.  

I gave them 2 different blues and a green to mix for their water and they were able to find their own personal color mixture that they used to paint the water.  We even used some purple in the shadows on the swan, but for the most part we left the white of the paper show through for the body of the swan except for some shadows from the feathers.  Watercolor is so different than any other paint medium in this way because you don't use white paint, you just use the white of the paper instead which I love. 

I adore how they turned out!  Each couple painted their swan in the opposite direction from their spouses swan to form a heart when put together.  I love how each painting was different with their own personalities.  I definitely want to have more spouses attend my classes together in the future.  It is so great for couples to experience creativity together!  If you are interested in booking a class here in Akron with your favorite couples email me at taratories@gmail.com and we can set that up!  My March art class is now open for registration and I am really excited about it!  Click HERE for more information and to sign up!

I have this "Flying Swans" painting that I did on my residency in Wales that I am selling prints of.  The prints are 24X12 and cost $29 each.  I add gold leaf to every print along with a golden signature.

swan web.jpg

The swan print was inspired by my painting entitled "The Green Man's Daughter."  This original painting is available for purchase and I am also selling prints of it as well.  Print sizes: 11X14- $39 and 18X24- $69.  These unique prints also come with gold embellishments.  Email me at taratories@gmail.com if you are interested in purchasing any of these prints!

Revival Art Show

After coming home from my artist residency in Wales, I needed a way to show my friends and family what I had been working on and an art show was the perfect way to do that.  On November 26th, Small Business Saturday, I had an art show opening reception at a boutique called Revival here in Akron, Ohio.  Revival is a really cool little shop that sells vintage and new clothing and accessories along with other unique finds.  Every month they have a new artist showcase their work on the walls of the shop.  


Since most of my art up to this point has been commissioned work for people, I have never had a large enough body of my own personal work to display in a gallery.  I have had one or two paintings hanging in a gallery at a time, but this was the first time I had enough pieces to have my own exhibition.  I just loved the idea of having my first show in a boutique!  I love the idea of someone who would just stumble across my art because they are looking for a vintage frock, or come nose to nose with one of the women in my paintings as they sift through a rack of clothes. This was a great experience for me and has prepared for any future exhibitions.

It was so thrilling for me to have some of my models show up for the event and see their faces as they looked at my paintings for the first time.  Here is a quote from Audrey, the girl featured in my painting "In Her Mind's Eye" featured below:  "It is so surreal to look at that face. Your ability to capture a person and put them on canvas amazes me. I'm thankful to be part of your journey to Wales!"

I had a table with examples of 18X24 and 11X14 print sizes, and some fashion illustrations for sale.  

My favorite part of the whole night was having my sweet sister, Erica, with me all the way from North Carolina!  She was my right hand man and did everything from refill people's wine to wrap up art that sold like these two little guys that she is holding.  She was a huge support to me and I couldn't have done it without her!  So thankful for such a great sister!


Another highlight of the evening was having local singer songwriter, Jenny Baird, play music during the entire event.  She really made it feel like a party in there and I enjoyed being next to her all night and hearing her sweet voice. She is so talented!

I was busy the whole night doing fashion sketches of people who came to the show.  I had a line that wouldn't end the entire time!  My hand definitely got a work out for sure!

These two women were awesome with their fun hats and personalities!  The painting I did of them was definitely the most fun to do!  There was such a great crowd in the room and I really enjoyed meeting lots of new people!  For more information on booking me for live fashion sketching at events like this click HERE.

What a great night!  I am so thankful for everyone who came out to support me at my opening.  I feel so loved!  The art will be hung in Revival (822 W. Market Street, Akron) through the end of the month if you weren't able to make it.  There are still originals available for purchase and prints available of all my work.  Email me at taratories@gmail.com for any questions.  

Photos credit: Cara Mancari

Photos credit: Cara Mancari