Taratories Blog

"Her Boxed Beaded Gown"

Recently, I was part of a local art show where this painting entitled "Her Boxed Beaded Gown" was displayed.  I met a local couple where the husband was a visual artist and the wife was a poet.  They had the idea of combining art and poetry together in a show!  They gathered a group of artists together and gave each artist the book of poetry called "Solitary Spin" written by Barbara Sabol to read.  We were to choose a poem from the book to use as inspiration for our art.  I found this poem called "Circa 1943" in the book and used it to paint from.  I used metallic paints on this one which gives the entire painting a beautiful shimmer!  This painting is now up for sale on my website and can be purchased HERE.

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Circa 1943

by Barbara Sabol

Day Dreaming on the side of Prospect Hill

my mother is caught by some Eddie with his lens

before the swirl of champagne, before the dishwater swill

(years before she waltzed with my father in her beaded silk)

 

my mother was caught by a beau, quick with his lens;

some Eddie, by the flirt of her eyes in the sepia still,

years before she waltzed with my father in beaded silk

she posed in her swim skirt, chin in her fists, a slight head tilt--

 

flirting with some Eddie, one eye squinting behind his lens

while she posed in halter top and swim skirt, her head at a tilt

(before the dusty attic moths have had their fill 

of her boxed beaded gown, its yellow silk.)

 

Before the attic moths had their fill of silk and lace

she sold cufflinks to my father at Swanks, downtown.

He whirled her around the hall in her beaded gown

and danced her down that hill, leaving just a trace

 

of her teenaged sepia image, blurred to white at its edge

like the swirl of champagne and an unbroken waltz;

caught in the gaze of the luckless him, whose camera left

the ghost of a girl dreaming in the long grass of Prospect Hill.

 

 

 

A Tree for Junior Power Kids

A couple of months ago some leaders in our church kids program asked me if I would help create a tree in the new children's wing of our church.  We had a tube to use as the form to begin.  I then had to come up with a plan of how we were going to make the simple cylinder shape transform into a tree.  

First we collected branches to use on our tree.  Then we made openings in the cylinder for the branches to fit into.  Next we spray painted the branches brown to match the same brown color we were going to be painting the trunk with. The branches came without leaves so we purchased silk leaves from the craft store and attached them onto the branches with wire.  We then secured the branches into the "trunk" and made the tree look as if it were going through the ceiling by only attaching a few limbs to the tree.

The easiest way that I could think of to give the tree texture was to use paper mache. We dipped pieces of newspaper in the standard glue/water paper mache mixture and started sticking them to the tree creating textured creases.  It was already starting to look like a tree trunk!

After that part was completed we moved on to the roots.  We twisted newspaper into long clumps taping them so they wouldn't unfold and tapering them at the bottom where the roots would end.  We then taped them onto the trunk and added more newspaper on top of the taped areas where they were attached to give a more gradual, natural slope.  After letting the paper mache dry, I painted the trunk brown and gave it a coat of polycrylic protective finish over the whole thing to protect it from little hands ripping into the newspaper.  Not to say that won't still happen, but it at least will help a little with that!  

I am so thrilled with how it came out!!  It is such a great addition to the new Junior Power Kids wing! My son was thrilled this past weekend when he was able to use it for the first time!

I also painted this cute little train that kids can pose behind for pictures for the "Creation Station" theme they have going on right now.  I was so happy to be a small part of making this new kid space a fun and exciting space to be in!  To learn more about Grace Church's Power Kids program here in Akron, Ohio, click HERE.

"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...

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Making Patterns with Printmaking

Today's art class was a really fun one.  We got to dabble in a little printmaking.  One of my students had a great idea to roll paint on the paper to add some color and texture to the background.  I just LOVE it when kids come up with their own awesome ideas to make an art project better! 

Instead of the traditional method of carving designs into a surface to create the designs, I went with a much easier and less dangerous option which was using foam stickers to create the designs.  They were to create two designs each that were both symmetrical in nature.  They started from the center and worked their way out on their design boards to create a symmetrical pattern.  They cut some of the shapes to form other shapes.  It was fun to see what they came up with!

After their designs were complete they used brayers to roll paint onto the foam shapes on their design boards.  Mixing colors with the roller is fun for all ages ;)

They then stamped their designs on top of their papers and I just love how they all turned out.  Every one unique from the next!

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This was, by far, one of my favorite art projects that we have done in my art classes and I would love to expand more on printmaking with them in the future!

Window Painting at the Akron Children's Hospital

This past week I had the privilege of helping my son and some others from his school paint windows in our local Akron Children's Hospital.  Our school has been painting windows at the Akron Children's Hospital at every change of season for years and I think it is such a great opportunity.  We were painting a fall inspired landscape in the windows of the Locust Street bridge.

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I just love opportunities to hang out with my kids during school hours and it was so much fun to work side by side with my son who is a little budding artist himself.  It was so much fun watching him dip into the paint with excitement and paint what he envisioned to be a cheery fall landscape.  

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As people passed by they had so many comments on how thankful they were to have something cheery to look at as they walked through this hall.  There was a young girl waiting for a couple hours to get some test results and as she was checking out our paintings we invited her to join us! She was so happy to be able to pass her time this way, and the children from our school also got such joy out of having her be a part of our group!  It was so good for me and our group of children to see how art can bridge the gap between people.  Art can speak to others like a friendly voice.  It can help cross all language or social barriers to help to form relationships where there might not have been any before.

I love opportunities to be able to bless others through art and beauty and serving others in this way is also a great reminder to me not to focus on my little problems, because there are children  in hospital rooms fighting for their lives right down the street from me.  We have so much to be thankful for, even in hard times, and I hope that I can always stay grounded in that.  

I feel like we are all paint cans, sometimes more full than others, sometimes less full.  Right now, my paint can is really full and I have a lot to give to others at this season in my life.  There have been many seasons where my paint can has been pretty low and I welcomed other paint cans to pour some of their beautiful paint into my life.  I want to always be thinking of ways to use the outpour of my life for others using all that God has blessed me with, because you never know, tomorrow I may not be able to give as much and will have to rely on others to lend me some of their paint.