“Where I create, there I am true.” Rainer Maria Rilke



I believe there is art inside you, the art that only you can make.

If you’re looking for help making art you feel happy with, without the formal training or the traditional, rule based approaches…

If you hear something within you whispering {or screaming} to make art in some form, even if that scares you…

If you want to make art that is uniquely and clearly yours {not the art someone taught you or another artist inspired you to copy}…

…then WELCOME. Because that is what we do here.

I’m Tara, I live by the sea, and I paint, write, teach, and do a lot of what I think of as creative encouraging. My approach is to create ‘sparks and springboards’; you won’t find five steps to a photorealistic portrait here, but you will find all sorts of things to ignite your excitement and bounce you into carving your own artist path.

There are really only two things to know about me to find out whether you feel I can support you on your artist journey. {Although if you would like to know more, see further down.}

  1. I don’t have any formal art training beyond an A level and a year’s Foundation course I took almost twenty years ago. Everything I’ve learned since then I’ve either taught myself or learned through taking informal classes and courses.
  2. I spent almost twenty years in and out of {mostly in} depressive episodes. My art comes from a place of wellbeing so I lost it for a long time. Which means I know what that feels like, and I also know how to – and that you can – get it back.

These days, art is an integral, non negotiable part of my life. And I don’t just mean painting, I mean art in the loosest sense of the word. I make art in the kitchen {well, sometimes!}, I take photos, I arrange my home {and rearrange it}, I put outfits together, I make weavings, I create courses, I write blog posts {I also wrote a book}, I collaborate with other artists. I know you do at least some of this already, even if you’re not calling it art.

Tara LeaverThere is nothing I can give you that you don’t already have, but I can help you draw it out {no pun intended!} if you’ve forgotten or can’t find it, or you’re feeling stuck, or all in a muddle and frustrated.

For me the most important thing about art is that it allows me to be myself, and it helps me develop that relationship. Everything I create stands on a foundation of freedom. I want ease, simplicity, and fun to be fundamental to my creative practices, habits and actions. I want you to feel those things when you think about, when you make, and when you look at, your art. And I believe you can. I share everything I know about this on this website, through my blog and my courses.

Art and creativity are one of many possible paths to freedom – of self expression and, ultimately, of self. I didn’t choose them as mine, they just are. If you feel like they might be yours too, you are SO welcome here. I will do everything in my power to help you discover that for yourself. Art will teach you so much about who you really are, not who you think you should be, or even who you want to be. It will give you self knowledge, and without that life becomes very small and limited by what others want from us and what we feel we ought to be giving.

I’m big on ease, freedom, experimenting and encouragement – and there’s a lot of that on this site! – so you might like to start here.

I look forward to meeting your beautiful creative self!

Tara :)

Tara is so passionate about what she does and so generous in sharing her process, you can’t help but catch her enthusiasm.  And she leads by example – constantly seeking to learn and to grow herself.  She has a wonderfully approachable manner and never sets herself on a pedestal.  And she’s a total cheerleader, super encouraging….always happy to give help and advice.

Helen Agarwal, Dixon Hill


“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”


Heart stone

a little more about me and why I do what I do

I’ve been making things with my hands for most of my life, although my Big Love is painting. {My other Big Love is the sea, which you will soon find out if you hang out with me for about five minutes. :) }

I love to learn, and have taken {and continue to take} all sorts of classes, in college and abroad, online and offline. I love experimenting with anything I can get my hands on, creatively speaking. In 2014 I trained with renowned creativity coach Eric Maisel in the name of better teaching what I’m learning.

Like any life though, it hasn’t all been sunshine, sea spray and painty hands. I went through clinical depression over a period of many years that caused my creativity to effectively shrivel up from neglect, and made me frequently too ill to function at more than a basic level, never mind break out the paintbrushes.

Having tried various forms of therapy and medication with no real success, the turning point for me was when I rediscovered my creative self alongside the development of a lifelong interest in alternative healing methods, including Reiki and Tai Chi. I have been exploring and combining the two areas for the last seven years, and it has changed everything.

creative action + connection practices = balance and harmony {ie. happy you :) }

I discovered this for myself, and I would love that for you too. There are infinite possible approaches to a harmonious life, and art is just one. If you think it might be for you, I am here to help reacquaint you with that side of yourself, with lashings of encouragement. :)

My intention is to inspire, support and empower you to rediscover what is already innately yours, whatever you may believe about your creative abilities. Even in a busy life, there is room for creative blossoming.


Art was my favourite subject in school but – probably thinking I didn’t measure up to the really talented kids in class – I didn’t continue with it after. With your encouragement through blogposts and your free mini course I am now sitting here next to an easel, five large canvases, an A3, A4 and A5 sketchbooks.  I have pencils, charcoal, watercolour, gouache, acrylic and oil paints. And it’s not just me. My partner, who believes he had never painted a picture in his life, has been doing a series of portraits.  In all of this neither of us cares particularly about the outcome of our endeavours. It is enough to just play with colour and medium and see what happens. I love it. It makes me feel great and I have rekindled a passion that I had successfully managed to pack away and hide for the last twenty five years.

So thank you for getting me started and making a difference :)

Elizabeth Milligan


Want more? Read this. :)Coffee in the studio // Tara Leaver

And here are a few posts by me around the web:

Creative Everyday {What to do when your creativity succumbs to winter}

Skinny Artist {3 simple steps to spark your creativity}

Scoutie Girl {various posts about creativity}

Kind Over Matter {The Lost Girl and the Magic Map – a more personal post}

Simple Daily Practice {the only podcast I’ve done!}

Tiny Buddha {Stop looking for your ‘thing’}

Medium {5 essential things to know about creativity}

This woman is filled with light and inspiration. The work she shares online is always full of her love of the sea with an air of simplicity and playfulness that just makes you want to pause and enjoy the moment.

Kristal Norton, kristalnorton.com

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Claudia Carr-Jones


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