S&H editor Ben Nussbaum and Portland-based artist Flora Bowley spoke about teaching, the link between creativity and intuition, and how limitations can create freedom.
You’ve been teaching workshops on painting for about a decade. How has your approach to teaching changed in that time?
Flora: I’ve learned a lot about teaching itself. I remember about two hours into my first class, I looked around and every canvas was brown. I realized, oh, I really need to come up with ways to teach people about things like color—such as mixing and not mixing—and so many other aspects as well. It’s been a very interesting journey to “teach,” and I put that in quotes, something that is so nonlinear and intuitive to me, and I hope will be non-linear and intuitive to other people.
Over the years I’ve tried to focus on how I can simplify the nuts-and-bolts part of painting in order to give people enough information to be empowered while focusing on freedom, intuition, letting go, and allowing it to be a process that isn’t technical. …