While I was in Kauai last year I fell in love with these paintings. The vibrant colors jumped out at me. They made me feel happy, my heart light. I did not even know the artist's name. A few months later I heard that Flora Bowley was going to be giving a painting workshop in my area. I looked her up and recognized her paintings.
I attended Flora's Bloom True workshop at Gina Armfield's Artinfusio in Malibu. Gina told me I was the first to sign up.
Twenty of us made our marks to lilting music in this sunlit room overlooking the Pacific. I am not sure that I am more creative in a group but I do love the energy that comes from a room full of artists creating.
To keep us centered and to unlock our creative energy we took stretches and breathing breaks led by Flora, a former yoga instructor and dancer.
From start to finish not only did she share her process through demonstrations but she offered words of wisdom that applied to painting as well as life. Flora exudes life and sage wisdom far beyond her years.
You would never know that she began teaching a little over a year ago.
This is a woman who loves her work! Can you tell?
We were told that WE ARE ALL ARTISTS , that THERE ARE NO MISTAKES,
that every mark is supposed to happen,
to LET GO OF NEEDING TO KNOW WHY.
How is that for openers?
Here she is still playing, adding marks and variation. Flora believes that it is through the layering process that you get intensity. With NO ATTACHMENTS, which is different from not caring, we layered paint making different marks, every mark being an opportunity. We made marks, marks and more marks with our fingers, brushes, stamping, etching and spraying with water.. It was a PROCESS ORIENTED experience vs goal oriented. She called it spiraling in, a fun playful exploration.
On the second day Flora talked to each of us individually asking WHAT IS WORKING, not what is not working. This was the spiraling out process. Time for thoughtful, choiceful marks making.
An example of her workshop title, Flora blooms true.
"LET GO OF THE THINGS YOU LIKE TO MAKE ROOM FOR THE THINGS YOU LOVE," Flora.
Included were affirmations we wrote and read to the group, free writing exercises on prompts Flora gave us and sketching. This is the demo painting she created. It was like watching beauty unfold.
MY CANVAS #1
We all worked on two 30" x 30". Step one was to move paint around with two warm colors, a spray bottle and foam brush.
I added layers of colors and various marks throughout the first day. At the end of the day it looked like a tangle of color. I had no idea how it would transform the next day.
Flora suggested we commit to something, knowing that it could change. I found an image in a book I loved and committed to it here, blocking out some areas so the image could be clearer.
My end product, unfinished, waiting for the next steps.
Which morphed into this.
Added my marks to create this. Both paintings are still in process but I love the colors and know that what is there needs to be there.
I was reminded once more to let the process lead me, to leave the critical mind behind, to be curious about what comes from within and notice where it takes me, to let the next step emerge rather than try to force it. That's a lot and it's a lifetime worth of practice. I love it!
Thank you, Flora for your generosity.
Thank you Gina for providing the space, comfort and chocolates.
May our paths meet again.