One of the most relaxing painting styles that I have ever engaged in is based on Flora Bowley’s painting style. It was introduced to me by one of creative mentors, Kathleen Kvern, on a wintry weekend in Minneapolis a few years ago.
As I entered Kathleen’s studio, I was struck dumb and was completely intimidated by the sight of a 24″ x 24″ blank, white canvas hanging on the wall.
I was told to just start applying paint wherever I wanted to with no intent of an image. What!??Kathleen explained to me that the first layer of paint would either be cool colours or warm colours. My brain stopped. I still struggling with colour theory. Kathleen gave me several different explanations about basic colour theory. I finally was able to grasp it as I began to equate warm colours such as orange, yellow, red and bright green as summer colours that you would see at a campfire, the sunny sky and the buds in Spring on all of the plants. Cool colours were Winter colours such as the shadow of snow, the darkness of the sky and the contrast of the pines so blues, purples and dark greens make up the cool palette. Finally, understanding struck!!!!
After overcoming my initial intimidation, I set down my reservations and let loose! I was allowed and encouraged to collaging paper and other objects onto the canvas, use stencils and stamps, turn the painting around frequently and I learned to let go of a favourite spot. Working on two paintings at once allowed the the alternating warm and cool layers dry which prevented muddy messes.
I have come to love this painting style that brings calm and peace because I don’t have to have a definite outcome, I don’t have to try to control the image and it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Each layer creates absolutely new possibilities . I find that allowing the next layer to be applied I might come up with something even better than the wonderful layer that was covered up. I also know that the next layer may be even better yet. Perhaps the next layer covered up mistakes, places that I didn’t appeal to me and sometimes something even better happens to appear.
Enjoy the images, some are finished paintings, some are just in their beginning stages. I encourage you to give this a try!