Flora S. Bowley’s paintings are bold, colorful and rich, while remaining thoughtful, delicate and playful. Her work is created through a unique process of spontaneously layering free flowing color and mark-making with carefully rendered organic forms. These forms or “characters,” such as wings, sprouts, stars, hives, branches, petals and pods, co-mingle with vibrant color fields to tell stories of magical places born from dreams, imagination and a deep connection to all living things. Flora’s large work on canvas and smaller works on bamboo are easily recognized and admired by galleries and art lovers across the U.S. She lives and works full-time as a painter in Portland, Oregon, where she is inspired by magical forests, abundant gardens and a vibrant community of fellow artists. Each winter, she leaves the Northwest rain behind to find inspiration in colorful tropical locations. She is excited to blend her passion for art with her love of yoga and people into her brand new workshops, “Bloom True: Intuitive Painting with Soul!” Visit her online at www.florasbowley.com and www.braveintuitiveyou.com.
Getting Perspective and Working with What's Working
We often look at the world through a critical lens. Traditional art school critiques encourage us to find what is not working in order to learn from these "mistakes." What I am presenting here is a new approach. I am kindly asking you to reprogram your response style; instead of focusing on what is not working, ask yourself, "What is working?" This is an extremely important step in this process. It keeps you focused on the positive aspects of your work and offers you a starting point or a portal back into your painting. "Working with what is working" is especially useful when you are feeling stuck or uninspired.
What is Working?
After you have built up a few layers with a variety of marks and colors, spiral out by moving to the opposite side of the room, or to an entirely different room. Now soften your eyes and take a fresh look at your painting. Ask yourself, "What is working?" What is the first thing you notice? It can be anything. It may be one square inch of your canvas where the colors blend together in a certain beautiful way. It may be one interesting shape, a small area of etching, a dynamic line, or the way two colors vibrantly react next to each other. I also encourage you to ask yourself, "What has been the most enjoyable or interesting part of this process?" You may find that you really love spraying water, using your fingers, rendering certain images, or dragging your rag through wet paint. Pay close attention to these joyful moments... they are an essential part of "what is working" no matter what your painting looks like.
Be easy on yourself at this point. You are deep in the process of creating. Your paintings are not finished. They may feel ugly, chaotic, or overwhelming to you, but remember each and every mark is simply an opportunity. Most new creations go through an "awkward teenager" phase as they mature and figure out who they want to be. Don’t judge them. Support them. Be patient with their process, and remember there are no mistakes. Growing up takes time.
Thank you, Flora, for sharing your brave, insightful journey with all of us.
For me, this book is a much needed reminder, to let go of everything I think I know about creating and just enjoy the process.
In this book Flora shares an insight into her painting process and life as an artist in an incredibly open and generous way.
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This book is by far my favorite. It is written by an excellent artist whose talent is ingrained in her everyday life, thoughts and dealings with others. Read morePublished 14 days ago by summersu
I've just started reading this book and can't put it down. I might even do the online course! Thanks Flora. Very insightful.Published 2 months ago by Trudy Woodward
Flora is awesome! This book is great on it's own, or to accompany one of Flora Bowley's online or in-person art workshops. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Rachael
I bought this for my wife. She like the authors enthusiasm and fund examples. She has many different ways of starting a painting and what to think about as you make your journey.Published 3 months ago by Ronald K. Ridley
i absolutely love flora bowley's brave intuitive painting. the color. the texture, seen past the smooth pages. the quotes. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Suzanne Stovall