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Artist Showcase: Interview with Flora Bowley

January 23, 2013

Flora Bowley Artist and Painter.   Interview on Beautiful Hello Blog

Hello!  I am so excited to introduce you to Flora Bowley!  She is an amazing painter who paints with intuition and a beautiful outlook on life.  Her work can be seen in homes, galleries, hotels, businesses (like, say, Rachel Ray!), around the world.  Flora has recently published a book called Brave Intuitive Painting and teaches workshops and online classes about painting and art.

I love getting inside the mind of artists I respect.   Flora was super generous with her time and has answered some questions for us!  Enjoy!

Flora Bowley Artist and Painter.   Interview on Beautiful Hello Blog

When did you begin creating artwork?

I think I was born holding a crayon. Ha! No really, I have always  been creating in some way or another.  As a kid, I was really into  making “sculptures” and jewelery out of mud, sticks and seaweed.  I  even used to try and sell them which I find really funny…always  the entrepreneur.  I was also very into watercolors, markers,  crayons as a kid…pretty much anything that made color.  In high  school, I was admittedly the art teacher’s pet.  I assisted her in  hanging all the shows and somehow convinced the principal to let me  hang out in the art room for large parts of my day.

Honestly though, I never grew up thinking I could make a living as  an artist. I thought that honor was reserved for about ten people  in the world and surely I was not one of them.  So, I entered  college thinking I would become a graphic designer.  I will always  be grateful to my drawing teacher who, after observing my use of  color during a figure drawing class, pulled me aside to tell me  very pointedly, “You are a painter!  You must paint!”  From that  point on, I took as many painting classes as possible.  I had my  first show at a coffee shop when I was 20 and sold a number of  pieces.  That is when some sort of light bulb went off for me and I  decided I could actually make a living as an artist.  That became  the goal and I never looked back.

Can you describe your creative process?

My creative process is extremely intuitive, forgiving and  free-flowing. I allow my paintings to emerge naturally by building  up many layers or acrylic paint.  I never start with a plan,  because it’s simply more interesting to me to NOT know what is  going to happen before it’s actually happening.  This allows for so  much more freedom and the ability to improvise and be spontaneous.    At any given moment, anything is possible and there is really no  way of making a “mistake” which I love!  If I don’t like something  I’ve done, I simply cover it up or transform it in some way the  next time I add a layer.   I always work on more than one painting  at a time so the layers have time to dry while I’m working on the  other paintings.  I also rotate my canvas many times and radically  change the color scheme throughout the process just to keep things  fresh and unexpected.  The whole process becomes kind of a metaphor  for living where bravery, playfulness, curiosity, honoring  intuition and being open to change are greatly rewarded.

Flora Bowley Artist and Painter.   Interview on Beautiful Hello Blog

What inspires you in your day-to-day life as an artist?

Gosh, so many things inspire me! I’ve always been really inspired  by the natural world and the cycles of life found there.  Things  like seed pods, cocoons, sprouts, blooms, branches and birds have  been themes in my work for many years.  I’m also really inspired by  music and I have a really hard time painting without it.  I allow  the rhythms, beats and lyrics to literally move my body and brush  around the canvas.  Music helps me get out of my head and into the  rest of my body which is so helpful in my process.  Lately, I’ve  also been really inspired by geometric shapes, graffiti, feathers,  shamanic symbols and florescent colors.  I like finding inspiration  in unexpected places too, like reading between the lines.

Do you have any tips for overcoming “creative blocks”?

Yes!  I teach painting workshops all around the world, so helping  people through creative blocks is one of my specialties.  I believe  most creative blocks happen when we forget to trust ourselves.   When we start to question what we are doing, why we are doing it  and what to do next, we remove ourselves from the creative  flow—the intuitive place where we KNOW what to do without  over-thinking.  For me, this “knowing” place is deeply connected to  our soul which is deeply connected to everything around us.  When  we open ourselves up to this connection and feeling of belonging,  trusting our inner voice and intuitive urges becomes much easier.

Some ways I help people find this connection is through intention,  affirmations, ceremony, breath, movement,

music and poetry.  I also  have my students paint with their eyes closed or with the  non-dominant hand to help them free up. I encourage my students to  “dance” the paint across the canvas as they follow along to an  awesome song. There are so many ways to access this place of  freedom, but it all comes down to TRUST…and momentum :)

Flora2
What advice do you have for marketing yourself as an artist?

The first thing I would say is to focus on creating the work and  developing a style for a good while before you start to focus on  marketing.  I’ve noticed lately, that a lot of people are anxious  to create a business out of their art before they have really  developed themselves as an artist.  I think this is a major pitfall  and probably the source of a lot of frustration.  Although I did  start having shows early on, I also worked as a waitress, massage therapist and yoga teacher for many years as I was learning about  paint and finding my voice.  Slowly, I worked my other jobs less  and less as my art started to support me more and more.  It was a  VERY gradual process over the course of many years and I’m grateful  for that process.

When you feel authentically ready to show and promote your work, I  suggest putting together a really simple and beautiful website that  highlights your work in a non-distracting way.  Blogging is also a  great way to share your story and keep things fresh for people who  are interested in what you are doing.  There are so many ways to  connect online now through social media, etc.  It’s an amazing and  powerful time to be an artist as the world is literally at your  fingertips!  But again, doing the work in the studio should be  taking up more time than doing the promotional work on your  computer.  At least that’s my opinion.

What advice would you give to young artists starting a career in art?

I would say much of what I said in response to the marketing  question, but I would also add that passion, dedication and belief  in what you are doing are the key ingredients to success.  If you  are not extremely passionate about making art, it’s probably not  the best career option for you.  It’s certainly not an easy way to  make a living, but if you have to create art to feel like  yourself, that is a very good place to start!

Flora Bowley Artist and Painter.   Interview on Beautiful Hello Blog

Thanks Flora!  That was so insightful and encouraging.  I can’t wait to get out my brushes and start painting with a little less stress and more expression.   Check out more of Flora’s extensive portfolio here.

Also, don’t forget about the Fresh Start Art Sale going on right now!  Amazing artwork and crazy prices.  I’m cleaning out my studio and these babies have gotta go!

Have a beautiful day!

FreshStartGraphic

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58 Comments leave one →
  1. January 23, 2013 2:27 pm

    Thanks for featuring Flora Bowley. Her book has inspired me and others. Intuitive painting is simple, but not necessarily easy. My own painting is often called intuitive… you can see an example on my blog at the moment… but to guide others in this path is a true art. Thanks to Flora for her ideas and advice on marketing (or waiting).

    Like

  2. January 25, 2013 8:03 am

    What a terrific, refreshing interview! I love the thought, “I believe most creative blocks happen when we forget to trust ourselves.” And I appreciate the idea to allow artistic growth to develop naturally rather than be run over by the marketing part. Thanks to both of you for sharing Flora’s vibrant art and words.

    Like

  3. January 26, 2013 11:07 am

    Wow, I love these paintings so much, what a talented artist! Great interview, it makes the pieces even more engaging :)

    Like

  4. January 27, 2013 5:30 pm

    What beautiful works of art. I would love to hang a few of these in my home. Stunning!!

    Like

  5. January 27, 2013 5:56 pm

    This is a gorgeous and wonderful post, Emily!

    Like

  6. January 27, 2013 6:02 pm

    Your art work is outstanding!

    Like

  7. January 27, 2013 6:26 pm

    Reblogged this on Music Vision Sound.

    Like

  8. January 27, 2013 6:49 pm

    You did a great job of drawing out some very Interesting Insights with your questions. Awesome write-up!

    Like

  9. January 27, 2013 8:56 pm

    I love those brilliant colors and the randomness of your compositions.

    Very stimulating, but easy on the eye.

    Nice work.

    http://cartoonmick.wordpress.com/about/

    Cheers

    Mick

    Like

  10. January 27, 2013 9:08 pm

    Very cool, and great creative wisdom for anyone in any fields. I write, and I love learning from painters i.e. the mention of layering, and finding the right layer. Thanks for sharing the interview.

    Like

  11. January 27, 2013 10:13 pm

    Thankyou for this blog, I love the colours and shapes. She is so right about the approach to making your living from art – such good advice for the up and coming. Tony

    Like

  12. January 27, 2013 11:48 pm

    The paintings are just beautiful.. love the colours!

    Like

  13. January 28, 2013 4:21 am

    Great paintings.

    Like

  14. January 28, 2013 4:43 am

    Two questions I would like to ask the artist are,

    “In early twenties surrealist artists focused on, and by the early 40s had successfully exhausted the theme of intuitive painting and writing. How is your approach to art different from the Surrealist Manifesto of 1924?”

    “Intuitive surrealist writing died out very soon after it appeared almost a hundred years ago. Why – in your opinion – intuitive painting lives on?”

    Like

  15. January 28, 2013 6:01 am

    Hey great post right there! I am following you now, if you ever want to know about Ocean Paddling then follow us back. Cheers!

    Like

  16. January 28, 2013 7:07 am

    Very inspiring work and life.

    Like

  17. January 28, 2013 7:10 am

    oh mine, id love to paint too, and i think your style is same to me. really love this blog!

    Like

  18. January 28, 2013 8:22 am

    The motivation you influence upon your students is inspiring, these are such amazing paintings :)

    Like

  19. January 28, 2013 9:24 am

    congratulations for your inspiration!!!the paintings are so powerfull!!!

    Like

  20. January 28, 2013 11:31 am

    Beautiful, contemplative, complete

    Like

  21. January 28, 2013 11:33 am

    Great post – both informative and inspiring!

    Like

  22. toliveinspired permalink
    January 28, 2013 12:48 pm

    Lovely post! I was lucky enough to take a workshop wtih Flora this past Sept and it’s clear as she teaches and does demos she is living her gifts and I am so happy she is wiling to share herself/her art/her process so openly with others

    Like

  23. vincedicaro permalink
    January 28, 2013 2:36 pm

    Thanks for this precious post. Very inspiring *.*

    Like

  24. January 28, 2013 4:03 pm

    Great piece! I love artist talk! This was very inspiring. Thanks for sharing. http://www.charliemccoin.wordpress.com

    Like

  25. January 28, 2013 4:50 pm

    This is a fabulous post. Flora is so inspiring! Thank you so much for this artist showcase. Love your blog and your work too, Beautiful Hello. <3

    Like

  26. January 28, 2013 5:57 pm

    I love your blog. The colors are so beautiful.

    Like

  27. January 28, 2013 9:22 pm

    thank you for this blog. it’s art indeed and it’s very helpful… :)

    Like

  28. January 29, 2013 8:03 am

    HEY!! that was cool!!! even i am passionate about painting and drawing..but the thing is i never got the right guidance and training!! even if it was by coincidence..this blog was inspiring!!! it thoroughly gave me an insight to one of my talents, waiting to be explored… :)

    Like

  29. January 29, 2013 1:36 pm

    Beautiful feature. Her artwork has such an interesting style.

    Like

  30. January 29, 2013 5:07 pm

    I had never come across with this artist before! It’s such an interesting concept.

    http://earthwithouteh.wordpress.com

    Like

  31. January 30, 2013 3:03 pm

    Hi Emily, I’ve just come across your blog in Freshly Pressed and I’m so glad I did. I didn’t know Flora Bowley until a few minutes ago and I’ve just bought her book. I’m a writer and some time artist and I live in France, near Paris. I look forward to reading more of your posts,
    Henrietta.

    Like

  32. January 30, 2013 5:30 pm

    Thank you so much for this! Flora Bowley is one inspiring lady. Now I want to go in my studio and play with paint.

    Like

  33. January 31, 2013 12:11 pm

    Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

    Like

  34. January 31, 2013 8:42 pm

    She’s very talented. Her paintings are exceptionally beautiful! This is truly an outstanding post! Well deserved on FP!

    Like

  35. February 1, 2013 3:40 am

    that’s really great paintings, i would be stay touch with your content for more paintings,

    http://pioneerurbanindia.wordpress.com/2013/02/01/android-games/

    Like

  36. February 1, 2013 10:10 am

    Insightful interview, insightful artist…
    Thanks for sharing this interview. I found the interview to be most inspirational. Now off to paint! Best Wishes and Congratulations on being FP’d!

    Like

  37. cruzrenilda permalink
    February 2, 2013 8:45 pm

    Reblogged this on Campo das idéias.

    Like

  38. February 6, 2013 4:57 pm

    Your art is the essence of color and composition………I love it

    Like

  39. February 7, 2013 3:40 pm

    Reblogged this on The Splendid Siren and commented:
    Beautiful Artwork

    Like

  40. peachcolored permalink
    February 9, 2013 10:52 pm

    Truly inspirin! Thank you so much for this article! <3

    Like

  41. peachcolored permalink
    February 9, 2013 10:53 pm

    Reblogged this on peachcolored and commented:
    Inspiring interview! Printed it out to read once in awhile! She’s so amazing!

    Like

  42. February 10, 2013 5:54 am

    Fantastic artest love her work thanks for blogging this i will check her out more

    Like

  43. February 10, 2013 5:55 am

    Reblogged this on kaidens blog and commented:
    Stunning art

    Like

  44. February 13, 2013 4:13 am

    wow! truly an artist! this is so inspiring! :D

    Like

  45. February 14, 2013 11:24 pm

    Feel free to interview sometime. Just sayin’. Tee hee.

    Like

  46. February 14, 2013 11:25 pm

    I meant to say, “Feel free to interview ME sometime.” Sheesh. Can’t type.

    Like

  47. February 27, 2013 7:33 am

    your blog is awesome. Ant the art work looks amazing.

    Like

  48. March 5, 2013 11:55 am

    Reblogged this on MOONWYND STUDIO | Photos Writing Art and commented:
    Great interview filled with inspiration! One step-at-a-time, for some of us. I’ve got the brushes, the palette papers, some of the acrylic colours I like, the borrowed and very large, wooden easel, the paper and the will, but the fear of failure is overpowering to me. What if my painting sucks? Answer: crumple it up and throw it away. And start again. Simple. (A lesson I learned at Graphic Art School so many decades ago, when I was in tears in a meeting with one of my instructors. That was her answer then, and it’s still echoing now.) Happy painting everyone and enjoy The Journey, not so much the end result. Play with it! Love MoonWynd

    Like

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