Art Exhibit to Celebrate the Solar Eclipse

Celestial Art ExhibitIn 1990, Mary Chapin Carpenter released a song that, in my mind, was one of the most masterful examples of storytelling ever composed or performed. “Halley Came To Jackson” was a heartfelt folk melody inspired by the literary works of Eudora Welty. Welty’s writings recounted the arrival of Halley’s Comet in 1910, through her recollections of growing up in Jackson, Mississippi. The song begins with the lyrics:

Late one night when the wind was still
Daddy brought the baby to the window sill
To see a bit of heaven shoot across the sky
The one and only time daddy saw it fly

Later, the song narrates:

Now daddy told the baby sleeping in his arms
To dream a little dream of a comet’s charms
And he made a little wish as she slept so sound
In 1986 that wish came ’round

"Rare December Moon" - Collage Artwork by Clare Murray Adams
“Rare December Moon” – Collage Artwork by Clare Murray Adams

Halley’s Comet graces Earth’s skies only once every 75 or 76 years, meaning a child witnessing its celestial journey in her father’s arms in 1910 would not see it again until she reached the age of 75 or 76 in 1986. This is an indisputable scientific fact.

Mary Chapin Carpenter’s eloquent portrayal of this scientific truth, however, touches our hearts in its poignancy and personal meaningfulness. Art moves us to experience nature and scientific phenomena with emotional depth in a way that reaches beyond its scientific narrative. Through art, we are moved to engage with nature and scientific phenomena on a level that transcends mere facts, reaching into the realms of heartfelt connection and emotional resonance.

"We Are Stardust" Painting by Sally Lytle
“We Are Stardust” Painting by Sally Lytle

From ancient primitive art to the Renaissance and beyond, artists have expressed their fascination with the sky and universe in diverse ways. As anticipation for the 2024 total solar eclipse grew in my community, I sought to join fellow local artists in continuing this tradition. The “Celestial – Exploring Cosmic Curiosities in Art” art exhibit was born, aiming to evoke a similar impact as Mary Chapin Carpenter’s song did for me in 1990. An eclipse or a comet – both are celestial events that leave a lasting impact upon us as we experience them, recognizing the awe inspiring majesty of the sky.

My artist friends did not disappoint in creating a varied and inspired body of work. Every artwork offers a unique perspective, inviting viewers to contemplate the wonders of the sun, moon, stars, planets, galaxies, and more. As Stark County, Ohio finds itself within the “Path of Totality” during the remarkable solar eclipse event on April 8, visitors will enjoy this thought-provoking and visually stunning celebration of human inquiry and creativity. Artists featured in the show include: Clare Murray Adams, Emily Vigil, Scott Simler, Brenda Case, Iszy Rucker, Tom Wachunas, Chris Wurst, Sarah Shumaker, Tom Delamater, Keeli Serri, Sally Priscilla Lytle and BZTAT.

There will be an opening reception for the art exhibit on Saturday, March 30, 2024 from 5:30PM – 8:30PM. The exhibit will be on display until May 24, 2024. The first 20 attendees will receive a free pair of ISO certified eclipse glasses. Additionally, there will be a “Celestial Independent Film Festival” presented by The Cut Cinema on April 6, 2024, from 6 PM to 9 PM, which will be an exploration of the mysteries of the sky and universe through the lens of independent filmmakers.

Will you be inspired to create and articulate your own fascination with the heavens above? The sky is the limit…

Life is an Adventure!


BZTAT Studios, located in the new Canton Creator Space at 730 Market Ave S. in Canton, exhibits artwork by local artists, including wall art, sculpture, jewelry, wearable art and other unique art gifts. Canton Creator Space is a brand-new collaborative workplace and gallery for artists and creative entrepreneurs. Open to the public, Canton Creator Space allows visitors to experience a behind the scenes view of the dynamic world of local artists and enjoy a more personalized arts encounter beyond typical galleries and museums. The gallery is open 11am-5pm on Mondays through Fridays and 12-5pm on Saturdays.

Some things to know about my “Paint a Portrait of Your Pet” Art Mini-Retreats

I have been doing Paint a Portrait of Your Pet! Art Mini-Retreats for a number of years now, and people seem to enjoy them a lot. I will keep doing them as long people want me to!

What is a “Paint a Portrait of Your Pet! Mini-Retreat”? Basically, it is an all day (6 hours) workshop where you learn to paint a portrait of your pet in my unique style while enjoying creativity in the relaxed environment of my art studio. No artistic experience is required – beginners and pros can work together, and both will leave with a painting that they can feel proud of.


If you are interested in attending one of my mini-retreats, here are some things to know ahead of time so you are prepared for the event:

    • Although I have BFA and MA degrees in Painting, no one really taught me techniques of how to paint. Sounds crazy, but it is true. My education focused heavily on conceptual aspects rather than technical skills, leaving me to explore painting methods independently. I basically taught myself how to paint by trying to find ways to create effects that I saw in master artworks. This led me to develop a unique style and set of techniques that are very different than what you will be taught in other painting workshops. At my mini-retreat, I’ll guide you, step by step, through my methods, which may seem counterintuitive to you.  I ask you to place some trust in me and the process that it will turn out well, even if it might not seem like it will at first.
    • gray striped cat portrait painting by BZTATMy style is semi-abstract, leaning heavily into simplified shapes and bright colors. (See examples here.) There is not a lot of detail, and colors diverge somewhat from naturalistic colors. I don’t use browns, blacks or grays. I use what I call “plausible color”. For instance, a gray cat might be depicted in shades of blue or purple that, upon observation, could feasibly be interpreted as gray. Similarly, a black dog might be rendered in light and dark shades of blue that, when viewed, could plausibly appear black.
    • After you have registered, I will request via email that you send me a photo of your pet. The best photos are ones that show a clear frontal view of the pet’s face. It is best if the eyes are not too dark to see and if shadows do not obstruct the view. It is best to take photos when the pet is Black labrador retriever dog portrait painting by BZTATcalm and not too focused on getting your attention. With dogs, it may help to have someone else hold a treat in the direction of where you want them to look. Feel free to send me as many photos as you want if you are uncertain about their clarity, and I will pick the one that I think will work the best. I will take your photo and sketch the image onto the canvas for you ahead of time so that you can use all of your time for painting.
    • I use a process of building up color by painting many layers of varied colors on top of each other, always leaving some trace of the underneath layers. The canvas is painted black to begin with, and then basic shapes are blocked in with contrasting colors. Where shapes meet, a thin line of the underneath color is left showing to create contrast and texture. The first layers of color are typically pink and blue, with other colors layered on top later. This layering of color can take some time. This is why the workshop is scheduled for 6 hours!Take your time and don’t feel the need to rush.
    • My painting process involves layering multiple colors on top of each other to gradually build up richness and depth, always ensuring some remnants of the underlying layers remain visible. The canvas is painted black to begin with, and then basic shapes are blocked in with contrasting colors. Where these shapes intersect, I deliberately leave a thin line of the underlying color exposed to enhance contrast and texture. The initial layers usually consist of pink and blue, with additional colors added later. Sometimes the color choices may seem odd, but, again, I ask you to trust the process. This meticulous layering process requires patience and time, which is why the workshop is scheduled for 6 hours! I encourage participants to take their time and immerse themselves in the process without feeling rushed.
    • After shapes are blocked in and multiple layers are added to refine colors, details such as whiskers, noses and eyes are detailed in. Finally, the portrait is complete!

BZTAT pet portrait painting process

Participants are welcome to bring food and snacks and beverages. We don’t take a formal break for lunch, but you can take breaks whenever you feel like it. If you wish to order food to be brought to you, that is fine too. I want you to be comfortable and have fun as you create.

Are you ready to register? You can sign up here.

Register now

I am looking forward to creating with you!

Life is an Adventure!




“Out of the Back Room” Art Exhibit

“Out of the Back Room” Art ExhibitHave you ever wondered what lurks behind the door to an artist’s back room? If the “Out of the Back Room” art exhibit is any indication, there is tremendous depth and diversity of work hiding behind the scenes in local artists’ studios. For this unique exhibit, several local artists have dusted off and shared their favorite pieces of art that they have been keeping out of public view for one reason or another. The exhibit is filled with artworks that are both old and new, representing the best that Stark County has to offer.

“Out of the Back Room” opens January 5, 2023 in the BZTAT Studios gallery at Canton Creator Space during First Friday. The exhibit will remain showing through February 25, 2024. Filled with a variety of creative expressions, experiments, and treasured artworks not seen for a while, this show offers a unique opportunity for viewers to explore beyond what artists typically showcase in local galleries. Artists represented include: Christopher Triner, David Dingwell, Erika Katherine, Priscilla Roggenkamp, Sally Priscilla Lytle, Sarah Shumaker, Dave King, Tom Delamater, Iszy Rucker, Chris Wurst, and BZTAT.

BZTAT Studios, located in the new Canton Creator Space (720 Market Ave. S, Canton, OH), exhibits artwork by local artists, including wall art, sculpture, jewelry, wearable art and painted art gifts. Canton Creator Space is a brand new collaborative workplace and gallery for artists and creative entrepreneurs. Open to the public, Canton Creator Space allows visitors to experience a behind the scenes view of the dynamic world of local artists and enjoy a more personalized arts encounter beyond galleries and museums. The gallery will be open 10am-5pm on Mondays and 12-6pm Tuesday through Saturday through the duration of the exhibit.

Life is an Adventure!