About Tara

artist. teacher. creative encourager

‘Where I create – there I am true’

Rainer Maria Rilke

Tara Leaver

Hello artist friend

I believe there is art inside you, the art that only you can make.

If you’re reading this, you’re an artist for sure. {Even if you can’t bring yourself to use that word yet.}

My work is all about supporting you in bringing out the part of you that fully knows and expresses that.

The part that reveals your inner world through paint in all the ways that are joyful, rich, fulfilling, rewarding, and true to you. Not copied, not overly influenced, and carrying your unique and distinctive signature.

If that sounds exciting but possibly like a tall order, you’re in the right place.

I’m an artist, teacher, and all round creative encourager living on the coast in the UK. I have an ongoing love affair with the sea {hi, yes, I am a Pisces 🐠}, and my life’s work is making art and helping other artists make theirs with greater ease, more freedom, and less demons.

Through the support and guidance from my blog, Artnotes, and the Happy Artist Studio, I can help you to uncover that, bring it out, and let it shine. 

I have some training in traditional approaches, and I touch on some of them in many of my courses – just enough so you can make art that works; not so much that you feel stifled and unexpressed.

But what REALLY interests and excites me about making – and teaching – art, is uncovering and expanding that place inside you that no one else has access to.

The art that is the deepest, truest expression of YOU.

Tara Leaver

The phrase ‘Happy Artist’ came about because of what I was seeing again and again in my work, and of course experienced myself: so many artists feeling the call to create, and stumbling over self doubt, uncertainty about what was ‘theirs’, fears, old stories, and any number of other ‘demons’, as I call them. 

I started the Happy Artist Studio because the world needs more of us to be answering the call to make our truest art and thriving in that, in our own unique ways.

“Tara is so passionate about what she does and so generous in sharing her process, you can’t help but catch her enthusiasm.  And she leads by example – constantly seeking to learn and to grow herself.  She has a wonderfully approachable manner and never sets herself on a pedestal.  And she’s a total cheerleader, super encouraging … always happy to give help and advice.”

Helen Agarwal

Dixon Hill

A bit of back story

I suffered from depression for almost twenty years. I lost my art for a long time, partly because survival mode was often taking up all available space, and partly because the depression removed access to it.

Creativity is the antithesis of depression, and it can contribute to healing, if you let it.

During my more lucid periods, I promised myself that if I ever made it out, I wouldn’t let it go to waste. I’d use my experience and learnings to do two things, which eventually became like a motto:

Make Art, Help People

I didn’t know exactly what that would look like, but I trusted it would unfold.

Eventually I did make it out, with a combination of approaches and a lot of work, and these days depression is no longer a feature in my life. And I do make art, and I do help people, although I couldn’t have imagined it would look like this!

Art played a huge part in the long journey out of it.

Other things helped too – Tai Chi, Reiki, finding a wise mentor, intensive long term inner work, starting a new life by the sea, and making some significant lifestyle changes – but the art has been with me since I was old enough to hold a pencil, even if I couldn’t always access it.

Maybe you’ve never been depressed. But I’m guessing you know what it’s like to lose your way.

And if you’re here reading this, and are ready to commit to your art in a way that truly expresses you, I’m here to help you listen and take action.

Action is where change happens, and for some of us art is the doorway, the path and the destination.

Your art, and your happy artist life, is waiting.😊👩🏼‍🎨

Tara Leaver in studio

How I developed my approach to making art

I found myself at a significant crossroads on my art path when I had taken a million courses, knew how to put a painting together, and was ready for ‘more’.

But deep down I knew I hadn’t quite hit my true uniqueness as an artist yet.

My work was still too woven through with those I admired or who taught me. I knew I’d need to dig deeper if I was going to fulfill my dreams of becoming a full time professional artist with integrity.

So I spent a year doing a deep internal dive into myself as an artist, and it changed everything.

My art evolved significantly; I was able to create work and approach galleries {my personal choice} with confidence; and, most crucially, I knew deep in my bones that I’d found a permanent wellspring of integrity from which I could always operate as an artist going forward.

It’s not an easy path to be an artist, but all of that made it much easiER!

And that journey prompted me to create the Happy Artist Studio, so I could help other artists in their own evolution.

Let’s talk about what I mean by ‘happy artist’ for a minute.

Being a happy artist is not about ‘being happy’ all the time!

Sorry! 😉 But we all know that’s not a thing.

It’s about cultivating a life where your artistic expression is so deeply embedded into your day to day that there is no clear line where art ends and everything else begins.

Art is a non-negotiable in the happy artist’s life, whether that means it’s your career or an extra but essential well-filling part of your life.

I will never suggest that making art is a continually happy experience – sometimes it’s excruciating! – but when you’re making your art consistently and with integrity, that’s a very good and reliable way to up the happiness quotient in your life.

I don’t make art every day, I don’t love everything I make, and I don’t have fun every single second of it.

But I’m self expressed, and it only expands, deepens, and becomes ever clearer.

Because I’m a happy artist, my life is better. It really is that simple.

Art doesn’t fix everything, but it makes a fundamental and significant difference.

I want that for you. If it feels right to you, I’d love for you to join me. There are various ways to do that, but let’s keep this simple for now.

If you’d like to get to know me a bit better before making any financial investments, I invite you to sign up for Artnotes. 

Artistic Freedom This Way!

Pop your details in the boxes Artnotes - stories and insights about the artist life to help you find  your way, and practical ideas you can take into the studio.

PLUS - latest blog posts, occasional free email series on topics that help you as an artist, and new offerings, direct to your inbox.

Ready for your next step?

If you’re ready to take your art beyond copying, to create ‘you’ style art and a sustainable practice, I warmly invite you to check out the Happy Artist Studio membership.

Inside you’ll find:

  • self study courses
  • a friendly, supportive private community
  • monthly inspirations
  • a Q&A library
  • two foundational courses to set you up for your own happy artist life
  • insights into the real ups and downs of being a working artist, direct from my studio

… and lots more!