Intuitive Painting

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!

A work in progress. On this piece I used acrylic craft paints, Golden liquid acrylics, different brands and thicknesses of acrylic markers, stencils, stamps. I am not sure what weight the paper is, maybe sketching weight, it is a journal that I got from I love their mission!
Thi s several layers in and jyst may be done. There is a collaged mental health survey on the right.
This is the result of using up a students’ paint that they left on their pallette. I added the metallic gold later.
This painting started as a to-do list. So many wonderful, accidental things occurr in the layering process. Once I begin to see images I start to enhance them. This may be done or I might work it some more.
Step 1: a warm layer with a collaged set of directions from a food box.
This is step 1 of a cool layer. I really liked the plants that I inked in but will go boldly forth and cover them with a warm layer. By building with translucent layers the plants may continue to show or I will make something else. “Oh, well” is a great attitude to adopt…
Vintage music paper, old receipts and mark making was integrated. I see that I ended up with three strips in the background. Go warm or go cool? Enhance one or enhance two?
The metallic markers really deepen colours, I love seeing the magic that occurs when laying new colours over previous layers.
Call this photo A. You can see the vintage music sheet that is collaged in one of the cool layers. See the progree in photo B.
This is photo B. It is a successive layer in which I outlined collaged papers. The stencils from the previous layer are still evident and I began to play with mark making in this layer.