So it was pissing with rain when I woke up the other morning, and I was forced to abandon my original plans and stay in bed with my new Flora Bowley book and some breakfast.

Reading it brought back many of the things I learned in her class last year {goodness me, a year ago next month}, to the point where I was galvanised into leaping out of bed and spending most of the day in my studio. Hooray!

It seemed fitting to tackle this enormous bad boy, who’d been languishing reproachfully in the hall for the past eleven months after being started at said retreat. I felt it was safe to assume that it wasn’t going anywhere in this state by this point, but could at least be a springboard into something new. Not to mention a good exercise in non attachment {especially when you are told later on that it was better before you messed with it. Humph.}

Over the course of three hours I messed with it. A LOT. I referenced Flora’s book a lot too.

I tacked up this image on the right because I wanted to use the shape. I had a vague notion of abstract figurativism, a term I think I just made up.

I’m not sure how possible it is to learn from another artist without at least partially taking something from them that then shows up in your work, whether it’s colour choices, shapes, mark making or anything else. So by this point I felt it was way too ‘Flora’ and not enough ‘Tara’. {God I love those colours though.}

As Flora points out, “There is nothing wrong and plenty to be learned from looking at other people’s work and finding inspiration there; however, doing so has the potential to draw you away from your own voice. Notice when your creative expression feels forced, difficult, contrived, or simply not your own. Listen closely.”

Quite. I didn’t need to listen closely with the sound of my own self screaming in my ear that this was starting not to feel like me at all.

Or at least, kind of me, but also clearly Flora-influenced.

I kept swimming in and out of ugly phases and not knowing what to do and just diving in and trusting, and going away for coffee and snacks.

As it stands now it looks thus:

{ark. blurry. it’s a little sharper in real life}

I hung it up to see if it would speak to me more clearly from the wall than from the studio. Depending on the day I tend to ‘know’ it’s finished and love it to death, or feel very uncertain about the whole thing. I do like the ‘it could be a figure…. but IS it?’ quality. You could hang it any way up really.

Another telltale sign of incompletion {another made up word?} is that it hasn’t given me a title yet. There’s definitely something iffy about the top and middle right area. Today, anyway.