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Brave Intuitive Painting-Let Go, Be Bold, Unfold!: Techniques for Uncovering Your Own Unique Painting Style Paperback – May 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

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 and

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Quarry Books; First Edition edition (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592537685
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592537686
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

229 of 235 people found the following review helpful By Gemma on May 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is visually beautiful and the author does a good job of describing her approach to "painting as a process of discovery". She has a calm and encouraging writing voice.

There is not a lot of instruction in this book, compared to most art instruction books. Some might call that lack of substance; others would call it elegant simplicity. The author is all about right-brain and intuition, so maybe she intentionally kept the words to a minimum.

There were some aspects of the book that disappointed me. First, the paper the book is printed on has a flat matte finish (not shiny). This has the effect of making the illustrations less vibrant than they could have been.

I was puzzled by the inordinate amount of space devoted to large life-style photos, at the expense of actually illustrating the text. Even when there are illustrations of the text, there are no captions so you have to guess which concept or technique the illustration refers to.

If you are wondering what I mean by "life-style photos", here are a few examples: a full page photo of the author doing yoga, another full page of the author swinging on a swing, and a page that has nothing on it except a photo of a candle and a short quotation.

There are also some odd choices such as the (presumably intentional) out-of-focus close-up of a painting detail that takes up most of pages 18 and 19. I was left scratching my head asking "What does that add?"

The part of the book that I found the most interesting is a series of 20 photos that show the author creating a painting from start to finish. But ironically (considering how much space is lavished on irrelevant life-style photos), the amount of space devoted to those 20 photos is two pages in total!
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205 of 210 people found the following review helpful By T. Adlam TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 8, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Length: 1:17 Mins
This book was an Amazon recommendation and I went in blind since there was no "look inside" feature; I decided to invest because I researched the author and found that I enjoyed her style, artwork, and energy. That said, this book certainly won't be everyone's flavour.

It focuses on aligning mind, body, and spirit more than on painting pictures. And the pictures you're asked to produce aren't necessarily photorealistic (or even illustrative), more ambiguous--almost abstract.

The book begins with a basic introduction and offers some advice on treating yourself gently, then it gets into a list of supplies:
* Painting surface*
* Acrylic paint
* Palette (not to be confused with 'colour palette')
* Foam brushes
* Small bristle brushes
* Fingers :)
* Rags
* Etchers (anything that can scratch or make marks on the painting surface)
* Stampers (anything that can be pressed onto the painting surface)
* Spray bottles

(And a personal suggestion: a basic colour wheel if you don't already own one.)

Each section which discusses the individual supplies offers some prompts on how to use it, such as (taken from the section under "Small Bristle Brushes"):
*Play with creating thick and thin marks in one continous line
*Skip the brush across the canvas to make smaller hash marks
*Write the first word that comes to mind

However, from section to section, some of these prompts overlap. I also noticed some repetition throughout, especially when it came to (literal) movement.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Rosenkrantz on May 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
I have taken Flora's excellent online course, luckily for me, as I live in Norway, far away from her workshops. When the course was over, I was so full of inspiration. So I ordered the book in order to stay inspired. And I must say, I'm not disappointed! In fact, I love it!

This colourful and aesthetically pleasing book offers lots of inspiration and prompts for taking flight and be brave in your paintings, and also in life. It's a wonderful supplement to the online course! However, I think that if you haven't taken the course or workshop you will still find what you need here to paint intuitively.

This book is not a traditional 'painting techniques' hand book, for the simple reason that it is about a non-traditional painting process, that is painting intuitively.

With that in mind, I think Flora gives you value for money. In chapter 1 (pp 11-37) she gives advice on how to loosen up and let go of those thoughts and feelings that are often stopping us from painting at all. Trust your inner voice and take it into your paintings. This 'psycho babbling' (as someone else put it) is in fact an essential part of intuitive painting and therefore an important 'technique'.

In chapter 2 (pp 39-83) you will find lots of practical advice on how you can use different tools to create variety and depth into your painting: foam brushes, bristle brushes, fingers, rags, etchers, stampers and spray bottles. She talks about many layers in the painting, colours and different kinds of variation, tips on how to move on when getting stuck etc., all beautifully and informatively illustrated.

Chapter 3 (pp 93-126) will give you more advice on the practical painting process, e.g.
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