Art-5 & Fun


It takes my entire lunch period to prep for the class of twenty-three 5th graders – they are here every “A” day during 8th period.  This was yesterday.  Their clay slab/hand-built fish were ready to go home.  I placed an empty Wegman’s bag, along with their sculptures, grade sheets and the packets for the invention project at their seats.  It is organized mayhem, lol.



I say that in case you think the room is messy, because it is not really mayhem at all.  They are a wonderful group of eleven-year-olds – smart, talented, happy people-pleasers.  I love spending time with them.  I give them a different assigned seat every class, so that they sit with different people each time.  They have to hunt for their seat.  It’s actually kind of fun.

I love how busy they all are in these pictures.  Everyone is completely on task.  The two students looking at the I-pad are checking the spelling of a word (above).  Only three students did not finish their invention drawings, which I will eventually combine to be sent to the high school print department to be made into a coloring book – hopefully by the end of next class.



They recently finished a landscape illustration using Grant Wood and Grandma Moses as references, and a wood sculpture using Louise Nevelson and Yayoi Kusama as references, as well as the clay fish and the Leonardo daVinci-esque invention.   


Next up is a mixed-media lesson referencing Faith Ringgold.  We will add a quilted border to a dreamy drawing.



Students meet every other day for one semester, which is different than elementary school where students meet once every six day rotation for the entire school year.

Fifth graders started attending Chittenango Middle School (instead of the elementary schools) four years ago. I teach the seventh section of 5th grade (Mrs. Samsel’s class) while my colleague, Joyce Backus, teaches the other six sections (in her own classroom), in addition to teaching all of the Bridgeport Elementary School students.

So fun! ❤





Reductive Birds

Here are some pictures of my Art-8 reductive bird sculptures.


I have nine students in each of two classes on “B” days – I can only do this with small groups because they are reductive sculptures – the bird is carved from a 4″ x 8″ block of floral foam.  The styrofoam is subtracted, not added. I use my teacher eagle eyes to watch over everyone and offer guidance one-on-one.


Students create a profile of a bird after selecting a resource picture – they draw it onto white paper that matches the dimensions of the block.  The drawing is traced onto both sides of the block.



Then students carve away the “not-bird”.  The head comes next and it takes a giant leap of faith because they must hack away at the drawing while carefully looking at the block from all angles, and trust that it will be a bird.  Once they start seeing the head and the beak forming, there is a knowing that it is happening!  Some students are better at sculpture than others, like teenage-apprentice Michaelangelos.  They help each other, which is so cool!


We use clay tools for this project and this time we borrowed goggles from the 5th grade science lab.  The styrofoam debris is a bit of a nuisance, but since the actual carving only takes four or five classes, it is tolerable.



The next class is all about the tail.


Then the wings and tummy.


And finally details.



I paint white primer on the bird sculptures (cheaper and thinner in consistency than gesso), so that the acrylic paint doesn’t soak into the foam.  The tech teacher prepares the plaques for us by drilling a hole to fit the dowel and students glue the bird onto it with Elmer’s wood glue.  The eye choices of glass jewels, wiggle-eyes or tiny compasses are fun.  The option to throw in some colored duck feathers was not taken this go-round.


The birds are on display at Chittenango Middle School for a couple more weeks then they will fly the coop. ❤

Fashion Connection

C by Bloomingdales cashmere cardigan, Rachel Zoe top, Rebecca Taylor pants, Calvin Klein booties
Rachel Zoe silk top, French Connection leather skirt, Marc Jacobs booties
C by Bloomingdales cashmere cardigan, Rachel Zoe silk top, 7 For All Mankind jeans, Marc Jacobs booties
Milly silk top, Trina Turk leather skirt, Marc Jacobs boots

Here are my most recent #ootd pictures from Instagram.  I am all about cashmere, silk and leather.  I spent the latter half of the day today cleaning my back room and cupboards, and thinking about supplies for next year.  Meanwhile, students are working on sculptures, inventions and paintings.  Lots of messy.  Thank goodness for art smocks and aprons…and DeWitt Cleaners!!!  One month of school left to go! ❤

Banana Republic cashmere cardigan, BCBGMaxAzria top and skirt, Karl Lagerfeld Paris boots
Trina Turk silk top, BCBGMaxAzria silk-velvet pants, Joie velvet sandals
Theory sweater, Trina Turk top and pants, Calvin Klein booties
BCBGMaxAzria sweater, dress, pants and sandals
JCrew cashmere hoodie, BCBGMaxAzria top, Free People leather skirt, BCBGMaxAzria sandals
BCBGMaxAzria jacket, sweater, pants and shoes, Bailey 44 top


Karen Tashkovski, “Ichi”, 2019, 8″ x 8″, encaustic & collage, $250
Karen Tashkovski, “Fuji”, 2019, 8″ x 8″, encaustic & collage, $250
Karen Tashkovski, “Ramen”, 2019, 8″ x 8″, encaustic & collage, $250

I am delighted to announce I have just completed a new series of encaustic & collage paintings!  Yesssssss!  They are fans – sensu in Japanese.  I was inspired by a call-for-Japanese-inspired-art for a group show, which will be curated by Jamie Santos at Kasai Ramen scheduled for next month.

Karen Tashkovski, “Shibori”, 2019, 8″ x 8″, encaustic & collage, $250
Karen Tashkovski, “Obi”, 2019, 8″ x 8″, encaustic & collage, $250

I love Japanese art!  I’ve introduced my students to it with many different lessons through the years, the most recent of which happened to be utilizing the fan as motif.  This was both inspiration and motivation for me to finally purchase some gesso boards, pull out the beeswax and immerse myself in the full sensation of creation.

Karen Tashkovski, “MIA”, 2019, 8″ x 8″, encaustic & collage, $250
Karen Tashkovski, “Geisha”, 2019, 8″ x 8″, encaustic & collage, $250

I love how each one of these new pieces is unique – I added elements of origami, kintsugi, and shibari, as well as nods to the specific landscape, sport, and artists (Yayoi Kusama, the Japanese artist who is known for her dot paintings) of the country.

Karen Tashkovski, “Sumo”, 2019, 8″ x 8″, encaustic & collage, $250
Karen Tashkovski, “Yen”, 2019, 8″ x 8″, encaustic & collage, $250

The very best part of creating art is relaxing into the process – allowing the inspiration to come rather than forcing decision making.  It transports to an other-worldly place where the art becomes the most important thing, where nothing else matters except oneself and the process.  The experience is pure joy; utter bliss. I highly recommend it.  ❤

Karen Tashkovski, “Shibari”, 2019, 8″ x 8″, encaustic & collage, $250
Karen Tashkovski, “Yayoi”, 2019, 8″ x 8″, encaustic & collage, $250
Karen Tashkovski, “Sensu”, 2019, 8″ x 8″, encaustic & collage, $250

School Fair 2019




Tonight’s the night for the annual Chittenango School Fair at Chittenango High School (150 Genesee Street, Chittenango, NY 13037).  It takes place from 5:30 – 8:00 pm.  This is my display – set up in the hallway between the two gyms.












New Library Landscapes



After two hours of hiking around Clark’s Reservation in Jamesville, New York, I was inspired, finally, to stop in to see the new library at 5110 Jamesville Road (DeWitt, New York 13078).  It’s called the Community Library of DeWitt & Jamesville.




Stephen Alexander Clark is an Assistant Professor of Painting at SUNY Cortland.  His work here depicts abstracted landscapes.  His interest lies in the topography of farmland, the configuration of stacks of firewood and the seeming randomness of camouflage patterns.



This artwork will be on display through June 2019.  It is located in a hallway that leads to the main library space on the first floor.







A piece by Pam Steele, who will exhibit in September, occupies the space as well. And an installation by Margie Hughto greets visitors at the entrance.  Both pieces belong to the library.


Click here for a complete list of future exhibitors.

The library is open Monday – Thursday 10 am – 9 pm, Friday 10 am – 5 pm. Saturday and Sunday hours will change come summer – they are currently Saturday 10 am – 5 pm and Sunday 1 pm – 5 pm.


This little trip inspired me to get to work on a new series of encaustic paintings.  Details to follow, hopefully, soon. ❤

Theory Week

Theory cashmere cardigan, Banana Republic T-shirt and pants, Marc Jacobs booties
Theory cashmere sweater, Trina Turk skirt, BCBGeneration booties

I am currently obsessed with Theory cashmere sweaters.  I have five and wore them every day this week.  Love, love, LOVE!!! ❤ . I guess I also love that it is still chilly enough to wear them to work, lol  (it is May, after all).

Theory cashmere sweater, Trina Turk skirt, Marc Jacobs boots

Love how you get one new thing and all of a sudden everything in your closet feels new too.

One more week until the school fair.  It is on Friday, May 10, 2019 from 5:30 – 8:00 pm at Chittenango High School.  On Monday, I will make final edits on what I will be bringing this year.  And after that, we will be on the tail end of the school year!

There is still a lot to do.  My Art-8 students are all making papier-mache sculptures or reductive floral foam sculptures.  Next week, 8th grade Studio in Art students are going to take a time-out from their still-life paintings to do a clay project and my Art-5 students are glazing clay sculptures.  We are very busy/very messy right now.  It is really fun!  I love my life!!!

Theory cashmere cardigan, BCBGMaxAzria top and pants, Marc Jacobs booties
Theory cashmere cardigan, BCBGMaxAzria sweater, Trina Turk top and skirt, BCBGMaxAzria sandals