Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What I Really Got Out of Flora Bowley's Course

A photo from our Bloom True Retreat Oct. 2013
Yes, I did enjoy peeking into how Flora creates her magical paintings and her videos on being bold and tapping into intuition.  But what I see as Flora's true greatness is her ability to lay a foundation that encourages people to actually be brave- to hang their vulnerability out there and have it received with acceptance, support and encouragement. 

What you might not know is that Flora sets up the container and then steps back and lets it all bloom on its own.  The best stuff happens not in sitting at home watching the videos on your computer, but in behind the scenes in the facebook group. (Flora doesn't regularly participate in the group-but she sets the tone and lets us go.)

I thought I would just learn to be a better painter (I think that happened too) but what really mattered to me was what I never expected, like...

* Making New Friends-I met another artist in the group who lives in my area and now we regularly get together to share ideas.  We're even planning ways to collaborate on classes and other good, juicy stuff.

* A Cheering, Support Group-If I have a question about art making or business, the Bloomers are my go-to group.  They are an open, generous gaggle of amazing people. Want to know how to hang your painting, mix paint, finish your edges, or buy canvasses cheap?  How about what to do when you have a show tomorrow and your prints just came back looking like crap?  How do you get started in getting license agreements?  The Bloomers help each other figure it all out.

* Facing Down Fear-I distinctly remember the first time I posted one of my paintings in the Bloom True Facebook Group. I was so very nervous and afraid of critique. I anxiously watched my computer, wondering 'will they like it, think it's horrid?  Ignore it?' What an amazing feeling to experience the support and encouragement that arrived. They gave me courage that I could do this.

* The New Life that is Blooming because of this class and this group. The group has been a sounding board for me as I launch my own creative endeavors.  As someone in the group put it, "Because of this group, I feel like anything is possible."  And it's true.  I took the class last October and our group is still going strong.  Spinning into sub-groups like....

A Painting Circle-Where people issue painting prompts and share their work

A Card Exchange-This was our first post-class event and we swapped art with each other.  I now have a beautiful assortment

A Business Sharing Group-For help on things like starting your website and selling your work

A Retreat-Planned for October this year and hopefully will evolve into an annual event

All of this has evolved because of one thing, I signed up for an online course with the hope that I could learn new techniques and make beautiful art as Flora does. But I found a safe space.  A sense of community.  New friends.  And, I get to see and experience their process (and unbelievable artwork) every day, even a year later.

I signed up to be an affiliate for Flora because I believe that what she does matters and it made a difference in my life and in the lives of those I have the honor of witnessing Bloom.  If you'd like more details on the class itself, please feel free to contact me at haveallthis@gmail.com.

Or, be bold and dive in!  You never know where that one small step may lead you (I do know it's leading me to Connecticut next month on an art retreat with fellow Bloomers...)  

Update for 2017, Flora's classes are still going strong and I continue to recommend them to my students. Here, 4 years later, I still maintain friendships and connections with members of this group and feel like it was the true beginning of my creative career. If you've never painting before, do not feel intimidated. You could not be more welcome and supported then you will be in this group.
 
You can find info.on the most recent online course right HERE.

And here's a little Preview Video so you can get a feel for Flora's Classes

 

2 comments:

Karen Cannon said...

What a beautiful blog post! As one of your fellow "bloomers", I wholeheartedly agree - we do have a great fellowship of supporters that have developed from our class last year....I feel very lucky to be a part of this community of artists!

Kelly Diemond said...

Thank you Karen! I love to see people cheering each other on and expanding in new directions. I'm honored to be blooming with you!