When I first had the idea for the Expressive Charcoal course – and then when I was putting it together – I hoped to open up my enthusiasm to others in fun, action oriented, accessible ways so they could make their own discoveries.

{Actually that’s a fair description of everything I do.}

When I actually started running the course, it was like the circle being completed – drawing after expressive drawing {and paintings too} emerging as the students dived in with enthusiasm.

Today I’m sharing a selection of student work from the course, to show the diversity of what has come from it so far, even though everyone does the same lessons. I asked each student to say a few words about their personal experience of the course, and I swear no one was paid. 😉


Colleen Penny

“So enjoyed this course…sometimes we need a swift kick up the behind to get us thinking in new ways!”

Colleen Penny


Judy McKenzie

“There was so much to take in and enjoy during and after this well constructed and beautifully presented course in charcoal. The medium now infiltrates, underpins and supports my work with other mediums. Tara has a sharing and teaching style that makes it safe to dip in and explore possibilities you may think are out of reach. I have gone on to take Life Drawing classes with a confidence I previously lacked.”

Judy McKenzie


“[The course] was really when charcoal and I became friends. I used to dislike the messiness, but there are no yummy black black darks quite as with charcoal! :)”

Barbara Marzell


Wendy Kleine

“I really loved taking your class! This is my favorite piece [from it]. It was done listening to music and was the mark making. I did four pieces and a company in Los Angeles called Leftbank Art took all of them to be reproduced and marketed, so yay and thank you thank you thank you!”

Wendy Kleine


“I am from a printmaking background and Tara’s course was just what I needed to loosen up and become more free and expressive. This is the first online art course I have done and thought it was well thought out with excellent videos and advice. I love charcoal now! Thanks very much Tara!”

Jacqui Riding


“The course was a fantastic experience for me. The forgiveness of the charcoal and Tara’s lively teaching made me feel free and very happy (I almost got high). I drew, for the first time, a series of animals I really liked.”

Marlene Solveig


“The lessons are very well-planned and easy to follow. The sequence of the projects helped me become confident with the medium while working at my own pace. It had been years since I had picked up a piece of charcoal. So, taking this course was a perfect way for me to challenge myself. This was my first online class, and I was nervous about sharing my work, but the group was very supportive. It was both helpful and interesting to see how other artists approached each lesson.”

Deb Claxton


“I have never really used charcoal before, only for roughly sketching  out what I would be painting in soft pastels. I have certainly never done a portrait before. Just for interest sake, that portrait is of my best friend and husband, André. Our kids love it. Tara opened my eyes and heart to the unexpected, exciting, challenging and very rewarding world of charcoal. Her teaching methods are easy to follow and I always feel very encouraged by her. Expressive Charcoal was brilliant!”
Charmaine Belterman


“Expressive Charcoal is an excellent e-course if you want to introduce charcoal and other mediums to your work.  Beginners and experienced artists will enjoy her well planned lessons. Thank you Tara for introducing me to Inktense Blocks and for encouraging me to play and be brave. I am now using charcoal on a regular basis in my mixed media work.”


It’s so easy to see the unique mark making and energetic imprint of each artist when you look at these images. We often worry that our work isn’t unique enough, or that we haven’t got to the root of what makes our art our own, but in truth it’s all there already; it might just need a little attention and refining.

Expressive Charcoal

Join us for Expressive Charcoal if you’d like to explore charcoal in all its expressive, messy glory – click the image on the left to find out more about it! {If registration is not currently open, you can join the waiting list to be alerted when it reopens.}