I was lucky enough to take a two day workshop from Flora Bowley this past weekend. She is everything she looks like in this picture and all the others I've seen previously on the web. She is energetic and enthusiatic and engaging, as well as creative and clam and clear. Just delightful. She had many specific exercises and a few surprises that I won't reveal here so future workshops can have that same leap of faith moment. It was great to learn how she thinks and even better to watch her create. Her painting process is unique and I know I picked up much that will ruminate and come out somewhere down the line.
For those of you that don't travel, or live near one of her upcoming workshops, she's just completed the making of an extensive online class that she'll be offering soon, and also has a new book coming out, so you don't have to miss out on the experience and the knowledge. She post the info on her blog when it's ready.
We had the honor of being the first class at Jenny's new Studio Crescendoh. It was a great environment in the heart of the Santa Ana Arts District. The room, with such great natural light was the perfect shelter for the great group of artists that came to play and bloom Flora style. I loved spending 2 whole days pushing paint and color around. I didn't bring a camera, (I used my phone to grab Flora in action for a moment), but Jenny sent this photo out of the class:
Above is one of the two canvases I worked on in class. I was trying to incorporate Flora's teachings into my style, not just emplement hers, if you're saying to yourself, "those don't look ver Flora Bowley-ish". One thing I have become good at over the years is enjoying the process and not having an end result in mind at all. It's the way I journal, so I think it's easy for me to look at playing in a larger scale on canvas the same way. I'm not sure what I will do with these paintings, but I know I'll be adding more paint. I'm thinking about cutting them up and making some really cool tote bags with them, or journals. Hmmm... so many options. Here are some closeups:
This is the second painting I worked on. It became my "Circus in the Sky", full of hot air balloons landing in a field of flowers. As well as being influenced by Flora, I was feeling influenced by my love of Jesse Reno's work, as well as painting alongside one of my favorite artist friends, Syd. I love her paintings, and we have had many brainstorming sessions where we discuss paintings I'm working on where she says insightful things that resonate with me. The best piece of advice Syd ever gave me was to "keep painting, and often". Flora said the same thing in our workshop. It's what I always say to students in journal classes. Journal ofen and you will find your style of play.
Speaking of journaling, here are a couple of recent journal pages that relate to the Flora class: