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This post is by Jo Collyer, a participant in both the Creative Spark ecourse and Artist Inspired, and a generous {and trusting!} volunteer practice client aiding me in my creativity coaching studies. I am overjoyed to share her story today, in her own words, not only because she helps to make it possible for me to do what I love, but more importantly because she demonstrates so beautifully how embracing your inner creative, or your inner artist self, can change and benefit your life in so many ways. 

I invite you to read and enjoy her eloquently told story {she is also a writer} and her gorgeous art, and allow it to open up doors of possibility within you too.


Blind contour drawing of Ganesh by Jo Collyer

Blind contour drawing of Ganesh by Jo Collyer

Fresh from finishing a period of creative consultation with Tara Leaver I am left slightly grieving my loss. From  the moment of the first blind contour drawing I did in her Creative Spark course, I was hooked on the style and teaching of Tara. She is giving and generous in her instruction and feedback. More than that, her sheer enthusiasm  and authenticity are apparent and contagious. When I look back at my first blind contour drawings, created in the Creative Spark course, they still raise a smile.

Creative Spark was my first online art course, and it was certainly a good fit. I had barely raised a paintbrush in the past thirty years (unless it was to paint a wall;-)), let alone allow myself the decadent pleasure of such a regular creative practice.

The Creative Spark course allows you to tap into your inherent creativity.

That font that lies within us, pulsating and ready to be released if only given permission and a few little tricks to assist. That’s what Tara’s course offers. Lots of ideas, techniques and inspirations to get all the creative sparks going.

It was a bonus that the online group that accompanied the course was also delightful, friendly and supportive. Actually, probably not so much a bonus as an indication of the safe space Tara creates. After the course finishes you get to join an ongoing Facebook group, where the support and encouragement continues.

I will be dramatic now, and admit, the Creative Spark course kinda altered the direction of my life. I am not one to expose myself. Posting my various scribbles and paintings, daily, was therefore a somewhat liberating experience.  I even posted some stuff on my personal Facebook page, I was that intoxicated and bolstered.

Klimt-inspired mermaid by Jo Collyer

Klimt-inspired mermaid by Jo Collyer

It shifted things. My career, gone somewhat stale after motherhood, got a new perspective. Making art in a supported and creative inspiration feast opened my eyes to the things I wanted and didn’t want in life. Although changes are small for me, (and  I have come to accept I do change slow), they are no less significant.

My creative journey continued, when Tara offered her inaugural Creative Spark participants to trial her Artist Inspired course.  I was beyond thrilled. I knew it would be awesome. It was. Each lesson delves into the story and style of historically significant artists. Old habits die hard, and despite myself, I was sceptical, based on my lingering doubt of my own creative talents, that I could possibly produce anything ‘in the style of’ a renowned  artist. But you know, I did. What’s more I loved the results. That would have been enough for me (although I do love  the positive feedback from the online group), but I have received positive feedback from family and friends too, completely unsolicited, making it all the more delicious.  I still look at those videos for inspiration. They delight me, as does the play time that generally follows.

Yes. I still play art. Regularly. It is an integral part of my week.

Without it my mood is typically affected, in the negative. Much like my yoga and writing practice they are key elements to my equanimity.

I am a firm believer that in life, we need outlets that make our soul sing, or at the very least, offer us solace. I like more than one outlet, because, hey, a fall back position is a good thing to have. Also, I have attentional issues. 🙂

I have been doing yoga for many years and it has supported me through some pretty funky times in my life (funky bad, not funky grooves). It is an added delight that Tara supports the idea of a connected practice. Connect to self, connect to others, connect to your surroundings. Connection to your creativity is yet another delight to be tasted and enhanced by first connecting to yourself and environment.  If it’s something you feel the itch but don’t know how … embrace the Creative Spark course.

Live it, breathe it. Throw caution to the wind and allow Tara to take you on the most amazing discovery of your own latent talent, just like she did for me.


While I blush in the corner, you may like to take Jo’s words to heart and find out more about the Creative Spark ecourse, which is now available as a self paced course {with support!}. To find out more, click here. You can find out all about Artist Inspired here.