I started a painting ages ago which was supposed to be, well actually, I’ve got no flipping idea what it was supposed to be. It was one of those testing times when the genius idea in your head is not what appears on the canvas. In the end I gave up and it languished for many moons on the floor of my studio.

Then recently, as is my wont, I decided to gesso over the whole thing and start again. Here it is, pre-gesso {not pretty}:

Gesso plus new colours at random:

The more time passes the more I’m learning about my own process. It will always be evolving of course but certain threads remain constant.

I notice that when doing certain things I am smiling or dancing while I’m painting ~ these must be ‘my’ things I guess! When I’ve tapped into creative source and it’s just flowing through me. I love this photo – so scrummy:

Shapes repeat themselves, as do colour choices. Often there is collage, although not on this one. I also get a really strong urge to draw and write on them.

I went into one of my painting trances after first consciously deciding to just dive in and pick colours, brushes and other tools as the feeling arose, not to question anything but just to keep moving and adding and wiping and smooshing.

There was already lots of great texture from the painting beneath it. I wrote ‘rise’ because I was thinking about the lotus flower and how it grows from the mud but looks so beautiful and clean. It represents purity in Buddhism.

Tara’s Genius Tip Of The Day: use chalk to draw in ideas before committing to them with paint. It shows you what something will look like and is really easy to rub off with a cloth. I painted over my chalk lines {more or less} and then rubbed away the chalk when I felt happy with it.

I’m sure I didn’t invent this but I did make it up for myself, and it’s the best way I’ve found to try out composition and subject ideas that I need to see ‘down’ before I know if they work.

I’ve been wanting to paint a lotus for ages, but all my efforts looked like artichokes. There is a hint of artichoke here but I’m happy with it all the same.

So I was pleased with the composition and the areas of dark and light, but it didn’t feel quite pulled together enough. I asked the painting what it needed {yes, really} and it said ‘more white’, so I went back in with some white lines and circles, which I then went over again with pencil.

This painting took several weeks and also just a few hours, paradoxically. I’m really pleased with it!