Interview with Artist Flora Bowley
Popular art instructor, Flora Bowley provides details on her art career, online art classes, in-person art workshops, and offers advice for aspiring artists.
Flora Bowley Bio
Blending over twenty years of professional painting experience with her background as a yoga instructor, healer, and lifelong seeker, Flora’s soulful approach to the creative process has sparked a new holistic movement in the intuitive art world — empowering thousands of people to courageously pick up a paintbrush, often for the first time.
Flora lives in Portland, OR. Her own vibrant collection of paintings can be found in galleries, shops, and printed on unique products around the world. Find out more at www.florabowley.com.
Please tell us what you do?
I’m an artist, author, and guide. I run in-person painting workshops in my Portland, OR studio, as well as holistic creativity retreats around the world. I’m also a yoga teacher, and I’ve always enjoyed weaving body-based practices and spirituality into my art classes. I’ve created five online courses and written two books, Brave Intuitive Painting and Creative Revolution. I passionately believe that we are all born with infinite wells of creative potential just waiting to be tapped and remembered.
Flora Bowley’s Art Background
I’ve been a maker, mover, and out-of-the-box thinker my whole life. I did everything I could to spend as much time as possible in the art room in high school, and I graduated from college with a BFA in Painting and Drawing. However, I learned most of what I do and teach through experimentation and many many hours of painting on my
When did you get started with your business?
From a very early age, I’ve always thought selling the things I make was a pretty exciting way to make money, so I figured out many creative ways to avoid getting a “real job” as an adult. I started having small art shows in coffee shops and cafes when I was twenty years old and eventually started selling my paintings in galleries. I made my first website in 2004, and by the time I was thirty, I was squeaking by as a full-time studio artist. Around that time, I realized I being in my studio alone all day was a bit lonely for me, so I began my teaching and sharing my painting process. I absolutely love teaching and all the different ways I’m able to connect with people through books,
retreats, and online courses
How do in-person workshops compare with your
I really enjoy the balance of teaching in-person and online. The online courses allow so many more people to access my work, which is great on many levels, and the income I receive there is much more passive. However, I will always love being in the room with people. That’s where I get the most inspiration and feel the most connected to what I’m teaching and how I want it to evolve based on the experiences I’m seeing people have. I put a lot of love and energy into making my in-person events truly special because I recognize what a big deal it is to take a week out of your life to do anything! Lately, I’ve been finding new ways to weave more community giveback projects into my
workshops, and that’s feeling really exciting.
Is it getting more difficult for artists to successfully
offer courses and workshops?
The online course world has drastically changed in the past eight years. When I launched Bloom True, there just weren’t that many artists teaching online (especially intuitive art), and I think people were really hungry for it. Now the market is pretty saturated, so I’m grateful I established myself early on and gained a very loyal community along the way. Like I mentioned, I take a lot of care to produce high-quality courses and events, and I think that’s really important if you want to stand out online these days. Having original content, high-quality videos, a confident presence on camera, and a well-organized way of getting content to your people are all will all really make a difference. Thankfully, there are lots of great online course platforms these days. When I started, I had to build a custom earning site, which I really don’t recommend.
With so much information online now, do you think
it’s still a good idea for artists to publish books?
I think there will always be a place for art books simply because art is such a visual and tangible thing, and people will always love to hold these books in their hands. I’m happy I wrote my books when I did because they allowed me to put a stamp on my style at that time. I don’t think art books are very lucrative, but I like to think of them as (really big) beautiful business cards. Many of my workshop and online students find me through my books.
How important has social media been to growing
your art business?
These days, social media plays a huge role in my business. It’s just where people are looking, and artists have the benefit of having inherently visual content, so that makes it easier to plug in. It’s definitely a great way to stay connected to the people who are interested in my work, and I’ve always enjoyed taking photos and sharing my thoughts, so it’s easy for me to produce ongoing content. In many ways, social media has completely changed the way artists can show up in the world. We no longer need traditional galleries to have our work seen, so I find that very empowering. I think Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube are all potent platforms for artists to utilize these days. Instagram is my personal favorite.
You are clearly a very successful artist, what
advice do you have for artists who want to create a
business around their passions?
Don’t wait to start until you have it all figured out, but do wait until you have your own distinct style and voice. Be in action in small ways every day and cultivate a practice of listening to your intuition and heart. Don’t get caught up in all the make-money-quick formulas. Instead, come up with creative ways to be a creative entrepreneur! Know that it’s not an easy road, but the rewards are incredible.
The Bloom True E-Course presents a groundbreaking, transformational approach to painting and living that celebrates intuition, connects body, mind and spirit, and allows unique, expressive paintings to emerge naturally. Brimming with gorgeous, high-definition video demonstrations, unique creative lessons, inspiring prompts, interviews with fellow artists, in-depth Q&A sessions, and enough encouragement and inspiration to last a lifetime.
Flora Bowley Links
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