Messing around on the net looking for artists to inspire me I stumbled across Flora Bowley about six months ago. I think I typed ‘intuitive painting’ into Google and her name popped up. Her influence on my way of working since has been such an incredibly joyful experience.
I now know that Flora Bowley is at the top of the game in this genre but at that time I had never heard of her – hooray for the internet! Her paintings are an astounding blend of movement, colour, imagery and freedom of spirit. And then there was this beautiful video Flora Bowley ~ Brave Intuitive Painting on Vimeo https://vimeo.com/58224937 – I had to find out more!
Two weeks later Flora’s book ‘Brave Intuitive Painting’ dropped onto the doormat.
I read it cover to cover the day it arrived and then spruced up a space in the house. It was winter and although I call myself artistintheshed it was basically too chilly to paint outside. I had been thinking about painting but not actually doing much. There was pretty much something on the go all the time but I wasn’t on much of a roll.
Things were about to change. I thought I would just try some techniques suggested in the book. Prior to this I had been working intuitively by making movements of paint onto canvas until something started to subliminally suggest itself. Usually the images would be linked back to memories of holidays or sometimes plants or flowers.
My paintings have always been intuitive. Here is an example of a painting created about four years ago.
This was painted in the garden on a summers day, using plants for inspiration but as usually happens in my work the imagery moved on quickly from the starting point as I became immersed in shape and colour.
But I needed to move my work forward and to get away from using two dominant colours – I just needed some direction.
Brave intuitive painting gives many prompts and is so much more than a painting manual – it gently invites you to embrace a new way of being – it’s almost like being shown to how to wake up to the world around you and refresh the way you see things. The last time an art book made me think like this was John Berger’s amazing Ways of Seeing.
Flora’s mantra ‘Let go. Be bold. Unfold’ invites you to explore intuitively ‘to embrace the unknown’ and ‘make space for the unexpected’.
Here are a few examples of where my paintings went when I started to trust in the power of intuition.
Using some of the prompts in the book I started by making marks using tools found from around the house, to drip paint and to consciously layer acrylic to build depth. I was introduced to sponge paint brushes – now a real favourite -and the marvels of the water spray bottle! And I was reintroduced to the playful joy of finger painting.
Flora shares some of her techniques to help you free up and move away from the fear of the white canvas and paper. The book also invites you to get out into the world and to be inspired combining this with prompts to encourage you to think creatively and work towards exploring your own unique voice.
My verdict is a resounding 10/10 for this book and since reading it I have been lucky to take part in Flora’s Bloomtrue e-course. I will be reviewing the impact of that experience on my painting in a later post.