I began a journey four days ago. It was planned last year and I had been preparing for it ever since. This journey was going take me to unfamiliar, uncomfortable and unimaginable places where fear and failure roam, waiting to pounce when you are the most vulnerable.
I left home at 7:30am although my arrival wasn’t expected until 10:00am. I had never been here before and I didn’t want to be late because of rush hour traffic or worse yet, getting lost. I arrived early and waited in the car, finishing up my coffee and talking with myself about how good it is to do something new, to get out of my comfort zone. I waited and walked, capturing pictures of the newness, preserving this moment.
As the time drew nearer, I saw a few other people arrive, others just like me, carrying their dreams in back packs and their hearts on their sleeve, overflowing with anticipation and excitement. All of us, on the same journey to learn, grow and transform.
We gathered at the door, each of us looking for the paper with the secret code to enter the building, the code that could and would change us from that moment forward.
As I entered the building, I stood for a moment allowing my eyes to adjust to the dimmer light flowing in.
We all turned to see another door, this one, yes, this one is where the magic begins.
As we opened the door and walked through black velvet curtains, our breath is momentarily taken away. We’re greeted with an explosion of color and lights, Bohemian decor and music and the smell of freshly brewed coffee. A gathering has been planned with the utmost care.
We’ve arrived at Flora Bowley’s studio.
Each of us selected a spot and we begin to unpack our things and then tape our name card above the blank canvas’ already hung on the wall. Home.
then we are asked to gather to talk about what is planned for the next four days.
We spoke of paint, process and pilgrimage. We watched Flora as she began to magically transform her blank canvas and then we were turned loose to experiment and play.
This is the first canvas with four layers of paint, etching and mark making.
This is the second canvas using the same methods.
Calming the colors down and looking for areas of inspiration. First canvas.
And doing the same for the second canvas.
The canvas’ I brought home with me are at an awkward stage. There is no up or down orientation to them. The rules of composition are absent and color theory does not exist here. I don’t see the images that are hiding in and among these many layers but I know they are there, waiting to emerge with me, when I am ready.
This journey wasn’t about the canvas’ that I painted, the layer upon layer of color and marks. It was the emotions that flowed like a river through my eyes and hands as I moved from the fire of the warm palette to the calm of the cool palette. It was not a coincidence that this journey at this exact time released me from the “old” to the “new” and changed my perception of what it means to be bold, creative and intuitive as an artist and a human.
Thank you Flora for your guidance, wisdom, warmth and above all your sweet soul.