2015 part two // taraleaver.com

For Part One of this year in review, go here.


green waves

>> Returned to the blog with this post about the frustration I was experiencing of not being able to express what was going on inside me. I’m usually pretty articulate about things {a good education, years of therapy and a love of words can take credit for that. Oh right, and an unusually high intelligence ;)}, so this was unusual and weird, and pretty uncomfortable. At the same time I knew something was coming, and it was incredible to see my internal process mapped out by my external art process in this way. The painting that came from this is a marker for me between making art as I was {which felt good, but not completely free}, and making it as I truly wanted to.

>>And then, boom. Suddenly I did have something to say. I spent weeks crafting that post, and it received an unprecedented response. It was probably the moment I realised, if not quite consciously, that I wanted to make changes in the way I was working and what I was doing, underlined by who I was discovering myself to be. As I put it then:

I only know one thing for sure right now, and that is that change is here. It’s inside me and around me, it’s showing up in my deeply shifting desires and compulsions, my processes, my art, my writing, my way of being in the world, my inquiries into what life is for and how best to live it. And it no longer supports what I’ve been doing in quite the way that I was doing it.

It was also the moment I realised I’m not an entrepreneur. Which was significant because I’d been running in certain circles online that were all about that. I gained many things from it, but in the end something in me demanded to be heard – this is not your way.

>> Sold a large painting {a diptych in fact} unexpectedly! This is unusual, so worthy of note. 🙂


clear water

>> Found a glimpse of clarity in amongst the tangle, and took some more time out.

>> Started a personal blog, unrelated to what I do here, which was something I’d felt pulled to do for a long time, but which I’d never found the courage to begin. Even now only a handful of people know about it, and thinking of anyone reading it makes me feel sick. I figured I’d start it, keep it private, not offer any means of interaction {comments/contact page}, and just write what I felt called to write and see where it took me. I still don’t feel ready to open this to a wider audience; it’s extremely inward focused and I imagine pretty tedious and navel-gazey to anyone who doesn’t know me well. I have/had plans to share it in my Artnote, but that feels just too big and scary, and I’m definitely not ready for or wanting any feedback on it right now. Strange to publish something you don’t really want anyone to see, but what can I say, I am strange. 🙂

>> Bought myself a ukulele on a sudden whim, after feeling pulled towards making music. I’m not a natural musician by any stretch, but developing my creativity in this direction has been so much fun, not least because it doesn’t ‘mean’ anything; I don’t have any secret hopes for it to become anything more than a fun creative thing I do sometimes, just for myself. This is so important when so much of what we do becomes attached to other things, like earning and sharing with a wider audience. Those things are good in their own ways, but having something just for you is, I think, essential.



>> Wrote a post called It’s Enough To Do It For Love, which isn’t my best post ever but was significant because it was a step into the shift that had been coming, the one that would mean me being and working in the world in a different way. So much of our lives, in my experience, are bound up by rules we don’t even know we have half the time, and sometimes the permission we need to NOT do something a certain way or for a certain reason needs to come from someone else before we’ll give it to ourselves. This post was about that, as well as about the realisation that I’d been coming at things from an angle that was almost but not quite me {something I was now internally much clearer about}.



>> Ran Abstractify again, for what I felt would likely be the last time {and filled the class as I’d hoped using my magic system ;)}. As things stand at time of writing, with things looking so different now, I think I may have to retract that and reopen it. I have felt guilty about saying it would probably be the last time in case anyone felt pressured to take it before it disappeared. We can’t know where our shifts will take us.

>> Had a huge revelation about who I am and how that’s perfectly ok. I read an article about a nun who lives as a hermit {but still uses the internet! lol}, and it was as if a switch flicked inside me. I’d often joked about being a hermit, but suddenly I found I could completely own it. As is often the case with these kinds of ‘real-eyes-ations’, nothing really changed on the outside, but on the inside everything was different. I was suddenly free to be exactly as I am and no longer felt a need to justify it or awkwardly laugh it off. It just is what it is. Even some of the guilt I’ve carried most of my life around disappointing people by not being what they wanted to be lifted. It truly was a door opening to a new world.



>> Went away for a solitary week to a cottage on a farm in the countryside with no technology, to revel in my new found hermit status, and see how far it wanted to go. It was blissful and showed me a lot of ‘new’ things about myself.

>> Color for Clarity, a colouring book for adults to which I was asked to contribute along with five other artists around the world, was released. This is one of my favourite projects ever, and a sign of my increased interest in collaboration, which has been an undercurrent of this year. I’m not really one for feeling proud, but if I was, I’d feel so proud about this. {I have been asked to contribute to something else as well, which I’ll be able to tell you about in the new year.} If you purchase or have purchased a copy by 1st Jan 2016, email me the receipt or a photo of it and I’ll send you a free gift to go with it!

>> Wrote this post, about some course correcting I feel it’s time for, concerning how I work and what I write about here. Looking back it was clearly coming, and I’d even already spoken about it a couple of times, but I hadn’t seen that all these signposts linked up.

>> Sold another large painting, making two sold this year. This is nothing compared with many artists of course, but since I don’t generally advertise it was really lovely to see these two go to homes where they’d be loved. Not to mention bringing in some funds and clearing a little space!

>> Decided to join Susannah Conway’s course, the Inside Story. It’s the first creative online business course {of many!} I’ve taken that finally switched my internal guidance system into All Systems Go. It has been the ultimate in permission to do it your own unique, possibly somewhat erratic {ahem}, way. One of many outcomes from this so far is that I had my second major work related aha moment {the first being in January}: my work in the world is becoming less focused solely on art and more of a ‘creative umbrella’, underneath which I can share everything I do and love about living an integrated creative life. I haven’t quite got the vocabulary for this yet, but I can feel myself moving in a direction that’s more about offerings that support you in integrating creativity of any and all kinds into your life as a means to becoming {or perhaps more accurately recognising that you already are} whole. It’s not about abandoning the art, just embracing a wider scope.


three oracle cards // tara leaver

>> Decided to create my own oracle card deck, which entirely unexpectedly proved to be so popular it became a catalyst for a course around making your own. I’m currently putting this together and am very much looking forward to running it in February.

>> After the popularity of last year’s impromptu creative planner, I made a new, updated version, which is even better and has again been well received. It’s available here if you’d like a free copy. I’ve filled in mine and it’s wonderful to see where I’ve been, to celebrate the things I’ve done and experienced this year, and to gather in one place all the things I’d like to do for the coming year. It’s so easy to forget.

>> Started a new series of interviews here on the blog – another piece in the collaboration jigsaw that feels really good. I had avoided this for years, feeling that I wanted my blog to just carry my energy, but suddenly I found myself really wanting to share the work of others I love and admire here too. I wanted to ask some unusual questions and share with you a diverse range of artists I’ve met online.


Phew! So that’s my year, in not any kind of nutshell! Overall I can see a huge shift in how I experience myself and consequently what I want to be doing in the world, and how. I also made some of my best art ever this year, which feels good.

Tomorrow is one more post in which I’ll be looking at some other things – surprises and disappointments, what inspired me, and what’s coming next year. There’s also a little survey I’d be most grateful if you’d complete; it’ll really help me clarify where this new direction I’ve talked about will take us, and I’ve devised a draw with a rather nice little gift for three people who complete it. 🙂

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little romp through the past twelve months. I’d love to know if you’ve learned anything new or found anything of particular interest, and if you’re inspired to do your own, please link to it in the comments!