Secret Garden

Often when I meet other artists, they will reveal that their mother or father, or a grandparent is also an artist.  That is not the case with me, although my grandfather could draw horses really well for some reason.  He was a carpenter who once built all the bread boxes for The Columbus Baking Co. in Syracuse.




We are all creative types, though, the kind of people who like working with our hands/making things.




My grandmother did fine crochet work, as I mentioned before – she won first place at the New York State Fair every year in the senior citizen’s category.  She would spend the entire year creating a bedspread or tablecloth, like hours and hours of work, and if she made a mistake, she would remove three months of work just to make it right.




My mother can knit and crochet too, and as I mentioned before, she creates jewelry.  My little sister has an interior decorating business, which includes furniture refinishing.  My older sister is a kinesthetic artist – she is a gymnast who at fifty something can still rock a round-off/back handspring/back summy tumbling pass, as well as glide kip into giant swings on the uneven parallel bars.


My dad’s art is his garden.  Every year that thing produces buckets of produce – cukes, tomatoes of all varieties, peppers, onions, garlic, lettuce, eggplant, zucchini….etc., etc., etc.!!!




In addition, he has landscaped the homestead in DeWitt, NY with English walnut trees that have literally taken over the back yard, as well as a pear tree, apple tree, mulberry tree and I can’t remember what else.




The harvest is often given away because there is such a surplus.  The real fun begins when he and Mom, and Sophie make tomato sauce and salsa, and all sorts of other things that exist in a foodie’s paradise – the gift that keeps on giving, so to speak.



So here are some pictures of said garden.  Dad is not on social media nor has he ever attempted to use a computer, so it is fun to know that Vasil S. Tashkovski does exist in cyberspace.




And if the world ever starts to implode, and you wish to seek refuge with our family and these fresh vegetables, the secret word into our creative “speak-easy” is a compliment (as in, wow, this is the best garden in town!).  Lol-so true. <3




Pop Up




A lot happened last Thursday evening.  The third Thursday of the month has become synonymous with art receptions here in Syracuse, NY.  And of course, there are all sorts of social things going on including some that suddenly popped up.



Sandwiched in between my art reception at The Syracuse Tech Garden and the vigil, and subsequent wind down at Delphia’s in Chittenango for my dear friend Lynn Kurz (where I met her beautiful family for the first time), was a pop up art show at the Point of Contact Gallery in Syracuse, NY.




It was a juried show filled with some of the most incredible art by local artists!  My friends Angela Arrey-Wastavino and Davana Robedee showcased their work, as well as several others – some work I’d never seen displayed locally before.  Really brilliant stuff!




There was a silent auction for a series of 8″ x 8″ pieces made by the exhibitors.  I won this piece by Dana Bonn called Neon! I love it because of the numbers on it – love text/numbers in art anyhow but this is 768.  Seven is just a lucky number and six-eight is my birthday (June 8th) so that is really cool!



The show is already down, I’m sorry to report.  It was literally there and gone in like two days.  Such a shame, but I am so glad I got a chance to witness it.  Art in Syracuse is nothing to be afraid of – I mean, for those of you non-artists who think the scene is some dark underworld type thing.  It is welcoming.  I feel that part of my job as an artist and art blogger is to introduce you to these events.  While this one may be over, another will surely suddenly pop up again in the future!






Sentimental Journey

The last time  I saw my friend Lynn, we were laughing.  I don’t know – you might not think it’s funny.  The conversation was about irony, and death.  I said that I hope my last words on Earth are something really special, like I’ll be very old and in my death bed, and my future husband will have his arms around me and I’ll say something like,  I loved our life or thank you for the best life or some other hopelessly romantic thing-a-ma-gig, while suffering for endless hours before the end… and not oh, shit! like something out of an Adam Sandler movie.

Lynn said, “I hope I go quick with no last words at all.”

She died in a car accident on Monday.

lynn kurz

Life is just so full of irony.  This conversation started because I was telling her about another woman in our school district who had a tragic end a year ago.  And the reason we were inappropriately laughing at first, was because that was what we were about.  I would come to visit the people in the office at Lake Street Elementary because I so missed seeing them – I worked there part of the week for ten years, but I’m at the middle school now.  I’d pop in now and again just to bother them with silly stories of middle school angst-comedy and junk about my personal life.

Lynn even fell out of her chair laughing at least once that I can remember.

That last conversation ended with a hug and kiss on the cheek (and happy tears) because I said, “If anything like what happened to Colleen should ever happen to me, I want you to know how much you mean to me, how much I value our friendship, and that I love and appreciate you.”

And she said, “Right back atch ya, kid.”

Closure is a funny thing, isn’t it?  I seem to be able to say I love you to everyone regularly except my immediate family.  I guess I don’t ever think I will ever lose them for some reason.  It might be the spirituality in me, the idea that we will pick up where we left off when we are all in heaven or wherever we go when we are just light energy balls or what have you.

The way my family works is that the love is implied with bickering that results in comedy gold – stories to tell for centuries at the Thanksgiving lunch table.

I just think it is important to live life with love.  Art is love.  Life is love.  My summer has been the best summer of my life for many reasons.  It is kind of like – not just a new chapter in the book of my life, but more of a sequel – Karen Tashkovski-Visual Artist Part 2 or something like that.  But for Lynn there are no more chapters.  It’s over and that is just so difficult for me to comprehend.  Her journey is complete and that doesn’t really seem fair.

Going back to school will be challenging now because this type of tragedy affects people in different ways.  I’m hoping it brings us all closer together.  That we will remember to care about each other more.  Remember to always be kind and grateful for the experiences we share.  That the universe puts people together for a reason and it’s not always the reason you think.  It could be learning or it could just be friendship.

At the end of every year, I tell my students that I will always be here for them if they ever need me in the future.  Meaning to assist them with preparing a portfolio or to listen to their stories about the high school.  I say it with such conviction that I know it will happen – unless I win the lottery and become a philanthropist and fairy godmother.  Now, that would make a great chapter in my book.  Yeah, I would totally read that book.

Calling hours are tomorrow from 5-8 pm at Zimmer Funeral Home in Chittenango, NY.  The funeral is Tuesday at 10 am at St. Patrick’s Church in Chittenango.

Donations for the funeral arrangements will be accepted here –

Me & My Friend Baseball


The sweeper in soccer is a defensive player who usually works her magic to intercept the ball when the opponent has penetrated the line of defense.  This player can also move the ball up field and even score on occasion, and is typically one of the fastest players.



In baseball, a pinch hitter’s role is to bat for another player.  Usually this person is an outfielder who is also a good hitter.  And yes, I am as well-versed in sports as Amy Schumer’s character is in the movie Trainwreck, lol, which is to say not at all. I had to Google search these definitions because I was trying to create a sports analogy that defines my role in the new art exhibition at the Syracuse Tech Garden (235 Harrison Street, Syracuse, NY 13202).


Forty-six paintings are on display in The Boys of Summer: Baseball Meets Art with a reception this Thursday, August 20, 2015, from 5 – 7 pm.  Steve Nyland is the curator.



My role in this show is a blend of  sweeper and pinch hitter.  I added thirty-two paintings and paper collage pieces to round out the show and fill the walls.  My watercolors were untitled before and now they have baseball themed titles – cliché, perhaps but whateves.  I think it is kind of hilarious and fun, and makes me feel like a part of a team, the way Amy did during the climax of what was really a pretty terrific rom-com.



Steve is also sharing his paintings in the art show, which will run through October 9th if you don’t have a chance to make it to the opening.






Blue Skies

heart shaped cloud

Summer’s been fabulous so far – and still another month to go of blue skies, great sunshine, relaxation and good times with good friends.  A blissful adventure where I am an active participant in life, leaving not much time to make new art.  The Futura series will have to wait, lol.


I’m currently waiting for someone to come over and interview me for an article for this magazine called Women of Upstate NY.  That’s exciting!

My art exhibits are still up at Natur-Tyme through the end of September, and at Sullivan library through August.  I will be doing a presentation at Natur-Tyme during their community day event on Saturday, August 15th.  I have art for sale on and on my shopify site as well.  So a lot is still happening.  And there is always another opportunity lurking around the corner somewhere.


It is really such a blessing to have the body of artwork at my disposal because making art is sort of a passive thing – you must step away from your regular life and find a corner of the universe that is quiet for hours and hours, and sort of fall into yourself.  Spend time contemplating thoughts and feelings then work them out in an abstract configuration.

And…I am really preferring to be present right now.  To not think about past events or get caught up with what may or may not happen tomorrow.  It is a happy way to be, to enjoy the people around you and feel blessed for your life and everyone, and everything in it.

Which is the reason why I have no blog to present about the Macedonian Festival at St. George Church last weekend.  I folk danced my head off and it was so much fun to see my family and people who I don’t see often enough anymore.  Children of my childhood friends are all grown up and the next generation is in full swing.

I didn’t take a single picture of the event, as I had during Greek Fest.  Sorry to disappoint.


But it made me start thinking about family and family history and how that all ties in with my art.  I told you about my dad’s history already.  My mother’s grandfather came here in 1911, joined the US Army, became a citizen then brought his family over on a ship that docked at Ellis Island.


Later he owned at least two restaurants – or one restaurant in two different locations – The Owl.

restaurant 001

Do you see that black fan on the shelf?


Here it is again residing on my front porch.  It’s a time traveler that links my life to theirs.  I’ve brought it to school many times to add it to the still life display.  And many students have put it in painting and drawing compositions throughout the years.



I am loving my staycation.  The picture of family at the top of this post includes my cousins Jackie and Michele and their parents (and me and mine).  Their grandfather was my grandmother’s brother so we share this part of my family history and it has been such a great gift to spend time with them.  While so many of my Facebook friends traveled all over the world this summer, Michele came here.  She lives in Thessaloniki, Greece.  Jackie and I are already planning ahead.  We aren’t just going to talk about going there next summer.  We will be going there!


So maybe the Futura series will never come to fruition, but that’s okay.  The real future, one based on love for my family past and present is what I look forward to, and the ticket is a happy face, insuring me and as many people around me, a treasure trove of days filled with blue skies and sunny bliss.  Of course, the up side to that for those who read that I’m giving up on art is that I will finally be seeing the world with fresh eyes and I’m pretty sure art will follow!  So, no worries!