Taratories Blog

"Remembering Wild Horses"

Recently, I had the unique opportunity to do a painting for someone based on the lyrics of a beautiful song called, "Remember Wild Horses" by Birds of Chicago."  I have never done something like this, but I was really excited about the challenge!  Here is the song and lyrics below...

Remember Wild Horses


First daughter of a Knight of Columbus

Friend to moonbeams and painters’ brushes

There was not a single one among us

Who thought she’d be alone


Now she loves her nieces and all her nephews

Green tea and the good view

Of the butterfly weeds and the coneflowers

Out back behind her home


Remember wild horses running

Oh! With the morning in their eyes

Ears pinned back on free land

Under free blue skies

You don’t have to wipe away your tears

Go on and let ‘em fall

You're just remembering wild horses is all


Down at the Whirlaway I saw an old buddy

Kind of laughing in his beer I said man what’s so funny

He looked up at me like he wanted to punch me

He said nothing’s funny not a damn things’s funny

I loved her so long I believed that she loved me

I promised her she promised me


Remember wild horses….


Well his mind was bright but his body played tricks

Would not be long before it flat out quit

Chopsticks in a bag of old leather

Alone in his room with the ghost of past summers

He can see her now he can see her now

Sunlight through her camisole

One hand over her eye to block the sun

Waiting by the window for her only one


Remember wild horses ...

I started with painting the girl who this painting was for first.  Then, I formed a circular frame around her head to frame her face.  Painting the horses in motion helped to show the wild nature of the horses.  I chose pink as the color for the horses and painted them in an ombre effect where each one was getting lighter and lighter as they went around the circle.


A coneflower was incorporated into the painting to go with the lyrics, and I also added a butterfly to give the background some life.


A little detail that I decided to add into the painting was the suggestion of forget-me-not flowers on her shirt.  I used this flower in particular because of its symbolism.

The last part was adding copper leaf to the top of what I had painted.  I'm not going to lie, I was terrified to do this part because once I applied the copper leaf, there was no going back.  I have used gold leaf before in my work, but only in little bits. I have never used copper leafing and never used it in such large masses.  I really felt like the painting needed another layer and some texture added to it and this seemed like the perfect solution.  As soon as I started laying the leaf down, the feelings of being terrified slowly turned to giddiness!  It is always good to take risks here and there because that is when pure magic happens.  After I finished applying the copper leaf, I realized that I never added stars in the sky and I was so excited that I could make it look like the copper leaf was dispersing into stars in the night sky!  In the end, it all came together as it should and I was very pleased.

"Remembering Wild Horses" 15X15

"Remembering Wild Horses" 15X15

Email me at taratories@gmail.com if you have any inquiries about a commissioned painting you are dreaming up.

My Grief Journey

Last night was a very special night for me.  I donated some drawings to a local organization and they held a reception for me where I shared about my life and work.  These drawings were done in 2002, 15 years ago!  This spring someone from my past mentioned that she had seen them when I initially drew them and that they have helped her in the grieving process through the years since she lost her teenage son in a tragic car accident.  I started thinking, "why do I have these drawings still stored in my studio when they could be bringing healing to others?"  

I decided I would find a local place where that would become their new home. I was connected to a place around here called the Grief Care Place in Stow, Ohio. 

"The GriefCare Place opened its doors in June of 1997. It offers a SAFE PLACE where those grieving the death of a loved one can find support, education, understanding, and a caring place to heal. The center serves individuals of all ages, offers a home-like atmosphere and is a non-denominational faith based organization where those of strong faith or those of none can come comfortably.  The GriefCare Place educates participants about grief and provides caring volunteers who walk alongside and companion them during the grieving/healing process."

Almost 18 years ago I had my first born son, Finn.  He was such a joy and I loved being a mother so much!  When he was around 6 months old I was already wanting to bring another baby into the world!  I found out I was pregnant soon after and, if that wasn’t exciting enough, this time we were expecting twins!  My husband Brad and I were elated and couldn’t believe our ears!  

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3 months into my pregnancy I went in to my check up and I had a strange feeling that morning before I went in that I wasn’t pregnant anymore.  When I went into the doctors office they did an ultrasound and it was there that they told me that the babies had stopped growing since my last appointment.  When I realized what this meant, my eyes welled up with tears and I couldn’t believe what was happening.  The feelings of shock and sadness overwhelmed me.  The days and weeks that followed were very emotional as I grieved the loss of my babies.  

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During that time in my life, I was in college in the process of getting my art studio degree.  I was taking a drawing class where we had freedom to draw anything we wanted to for our project.  One day as I was driving my commute to school, I had a vision of these drawings.  I feel like every once in a while God drops a vision in my head of something that he wants me to create and share with the world.  

These drawings are self portraits where I express the process of my pregnancy.  The joy, the wonder, and finally, the sorrow.

My grief process didn’t end with sorrow.  There was more to my grief journey than that.  The way that I was able to find peace in my situation was through having my hands open to God. I needed to surrender the babies that I lost to the Lord because they are His anyway.  I felt like when I was able to release them to Him, that is when healing was able to take place.

After we lost our twins, I still wasn’t done with my struggles.  I wanted to be pregnant again right away so badly.  But that wasn’t what God had in store for me.  It was month after month of disappointment as I struggled to become pregnant again.  It was a constant state of surrender that I had to be in during this time as I had to trust God that he had a plan for my life. 

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Ecclesiastes 11:5 As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.  

It was a year and a half of disappointment month after month of trying to conceive and then finally I found out I was pregnant with my second son, Sully.  I was elated!!  It was quite a journey during that time of waiting and God really taught me a lot during that time of my life.  He taught me that His ways are higher than my ways and that I had to trust Him with everything in my life. It is hard to not have control over things and through this experience I learned that I had to give over the control to God.  I had to be in a constant state of surrendering to the Lord with my hands open to him instead of having my hands in a tight grip holding on to what I wanted for my life.  

Not every journey has a happy ending, but even in my case after being able to have kids, I still feel like I have to work at the idea of surrender.  I can live in fear worrying about all the things that could happen to my kids and keep a tight grasp on them and try to control things by worrying. Or, I can try to live every day with my palms open in surrender where I surrender my kids to God for Him to do with their lives what he pleases.  It is not easy to do, but there is a peace that comes from surrender.

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

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Since marrying my husband almost 20 years ago, God has blessed me with 4 boys who I adore and I am so thankful for every day I get to spend with my family!

Art has been a wonderful therapy for me to help me with expressing feelings and emotions that can sometimes be hard to express in words.  It is a way for me to permanently record my grief journey on paper.  I would encourage everyone to find a way to express your own personal journey in some tangible form because there is healing that comes when you are able to do that, and it will look different for every one.  

It was so moving last night to talk to people and hear about their own personal stories and I feel honored that I had this opportunity!

My first "Curiosity Portrait" with Cara Mancari

On my artist residency in Wales back in the fall, I used women's portraits to tell the stories of the Welsh folktales from the area.  Not only did I enjoy painting the portraits, but I loved reading a story and trying to visualize what that might look like in a painting.  One day when I was there I had an idea.  The idea was that when I came back to the States I would tell the stories of as many women as I could.  Right then and there I started formulating a list of questions I would ask the women that I interviewed.  

I decided that I would call these allegorical paintings "Curiosity Portraits" because there is so much mystery and curiosity held in these unique portraits.  One thing I have always been drawn to in art are the questions.  I love trying to figure out what the meaning is behind the paint and what story the artist was trying to tell.  

When I got home from Wales I was so excited to get started on my first "Curiosity Portrait" but I still felt like there was a piece missing.  I wanted something that would be a common thread that would be woven through all of these portraits but I didn't know what that would be.  So I waited, and waited.  Until one day in February I had an "aha" moment!  It all clicked and I was freaking out I was so excited!  

Before I went to Wales I had an idea in mind that I was going to pursue while I was there and it incorporated fashion.  I had brought with me a big envelope stuffed with inspirational images from fashion magazines and some pinterest boards full of great images I could use as inspiration. Although I didn't end up pursuing this theme in Wales, I still had these images lingering in my head.  This particular day in February I started thinking about these images and a lightbulb went off in my brain.  I thought to myself,  "I could tell stories of women through fashion!!"

And so it began.  My first model was the beautiful Cara Mancari...


I went on a little weekend retreat at the end of February which was the perfect time to work on this painting.  Before I left on my retreat I had interviewed Cara asking her a list of questions about her passions, memories, likes, dreams, etc.  I just LOVE this part of the process because I love getting to know people and what things come together to make them who they are.  I have always loved asking people questions because I truly love learning about people!  

At the retreat, I began by looking through my notes from the interview and writing down things that I could use as symbols and visuals to express some of the things she shared about her life.  Next, I searched inspirational images that I could incorporate into the painting.  Here is my messy table where I began a sketch to put all the pieces of the puzzle together.  It was challenging, but for some reason I really love the challenge! I love painting portraits but it has never felt like enough for me in the creativity department.  Having to take these steps of creativity is exhilarating for me and takes portrait painting to a whole new level.

I then worked out a color palette that I was going to use based on her answers in the interview.

One of the questions I asked her was, "what was your favorite memories from growing up?"  She told me that when she was a little girl she loved playing in the woods and she found these curved branches that she used as the top of her "house." She made her house and then found moss that she laid down under the branches to lay and play on.  Cara loved this imaginary play and I thought that would be a beautiful thing to capture in the painting.  

Here is the moss in her headpiece...

Here are the branches...

Her favorite bird is a blue jay so I perched him on top of the branches...

I asked Cara, "What about nature inspires you?  What are you drawn to?"  She told me that she loves asymmetrical patterns in nature.  So I painted a tree bark pattern on her clothing...

I asked her "If you could live in a scene of a book or a movie where would you live?" and she told me that it would be "Lord of the Rings" so I decided to add a hobbit house underneath the moss in her headpiece.  I also incorporated wild flowers in front of it because those are her favorite kinds of flowers.

Another thing we talked about was what dream she had for her future and she told me that she wanted to own her own interior design business.  She told me that Scandinavian design is her favorite kind of design.  I really didn't know what Scandinavian design looked like so I did research.  I just love learning about new things through art processes!  I found that in Scandinavian design a lot of black, white, copper, blush, and hints of blue are used (hence the color scheme).  Considering this, I thought that the copper on her headpiece and black polka dots would be the perfect elements to complete the piece.  Blush is actually her favorite color so that worked out nicely, and also the fact that she loved blue jays worked out well with the color scheme as well. I also hung the blue jay feathers from her head piece to bring more blue to the bottom of the painting. 

My favorite elements in the painting are the polka dots and the way that her face blends in with the blush background.  I love the subtlety of it and it veers from my norm. I would like to play with more subtlety in my future works.  Cara was thrilled with how the painting turned out and was so excited to see all the personal elements of her life story incorporated into the painting.  

When she saw it she said, "It's so cool because I feel like my life is a storybook, that my experiences and the details of my life are more than just subtle memories, but vibrant details and a part of who I am!" This quote really encompasses what I want people to experience through these portraits.  I want every woman to feel like she has a story, a beautiful story.  That her life is valued.  What is your story?  Email me at taratories@gmail.com if you are interested in telling your story without words.. 

Custom Fashion Illustrations

These last few weeks I have done a couple of custom fashion illustrations for some California beauties.  Nikia who is a style blogger at Themadmaven (@madmavenstyle on Instagram/http://madmavenstyle.com)  reached out to me about doing a fashion illustration for her.  She is getting married next year and had the vision of what she wants to look like on her wedding day and wanted me to draw it for her.  She supplied me with her Ersa Atelier wedding gown, a photo of herself, the braids she wants, and also the hair accessory to hold her veil.  I absolutely adore everything about this look!!

First I started sketching the basic lines of her on my paper.  First I drew her hair without bangs, but then she caught me just in the nick of time to let me know that she just cut some beautiful fringe that she would have for her wedding. I worked a little salon magic and "cut" some bangs for her.

Then I started developing my drawing and adding shading to it.

Then I drew all of the pretty little details on her "victorian meets folk" dress with pencil.

I couldn't wait to paint her beautiful copper hair!

Then I colored her lips, and inked some mascara and other details on the illustration.  

I used her hair piece as inspiration for the background and used a green to compliment the copper tones.  Of course I then laid the last detail down which was some gold details.  I just loved doing this piece and she was so happy to have her wedding look on paper to have for years to come!

Another custom fashion illustration I did was of Lisa of Evolution Vintage http://www.evolution-vintage.com . She has always wanted a fashion illustration of herself.  She supplied me with a photo to work from and I love her unique way of styling clothes.  She dresses very authentically and encourages others to do the same!

I mean, how fun are these striped socks paired with these SJP collection "Carrie" shoes?!

As I decided how to do the background behind her, I landed on using a vintage hanger as part of the design.  I repeated it and formed a circle out of them and added watercolor inside of the circle.

It is really fun do do art for people in the fashion world who really appreciate these fashion illustrations and who have such an amazing sense of style!  For any commissions, collaborations or questions email me at taratories@gmail.com.  

"Flights of Curiosity"

I am so excited to finally reveal the paintings that I did in Wales!  I have a new web page dedicated to the new collection called "Flights of Curiosity" found at http://www.taradeetscreek.com/new-page-1/ .  On this page you can see my art and read the stories that were behind the paintings.  I still have originals for sale and you can also order prints!  Please contact me at taratories@gmail.com if you are interested in prices of originals or prints or if you have any questions about the work at all.  If you are local to the Akron area, my paintings will be on display at Revival (822 W Market Street, Akron, Oh 44303) through the month of December.  Here is one of my paintings entitled "In Her Mind's Eye".  Go to my new web page to see the whole collection!


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