In a recent interview on Marc Maron's WTF podcast, actress and writer Lena Dunham shared a thought about her father's profession as a painter. She said, "We have so many options now with media that being just being a straight up painter with brushes and paint is increasingly rare." The classic art form has given way to variety of methods to express your artistry, although when people imagine an artist, a person with a brush and canvas often comes to mind, coupled with the assumption, "I can't do that."
Flora Bowley believes you can. A professional painter herself, she believes everyone has the ability to explore their creativity if they are willing to create a daily practice to exercise the muscle. The process she works in is layered acrylic painting, which can change at any time. Not having an idea when she starts and letting go of the attachment to have it look a certain way clears the way for organic play and intuition.
After realizing life as a professional painter wasn't giving her the fulfillment she needed, she started Bloom True Workshops to teach her process to first time painters. She discovered an audience that craved a chance to bring tactile creativity into their every day lives—from moms who wanted to feed their own cup, to people who were once art school students wanting to reignite an old passion.
In her workshops Bowley says, "I want my students to get out of their heads. Getting into feeling their body is the goal, so I use walking meditation, yoga, and dance breaks. We stand when we paint to get bodies moving, instead of just hands moving, and coming from their center." Her new Creative Revolution E-Course is about how to incorporate creativity into daily life. Practices are simple and can be done at a kitchen table with different mediums and jumping off points. She said, "The art of aliveness is how to move through the day with a more creative sensibility—noticing color and shade and cultivating presence."
One exercise she offers is called Visual Riffing and you don't need anything more than a pencil and a piece of paper. A video of this exercise is available here.
Take a piece of paper and draw 12 boxes.
Pick a shape such as a triangle, a moon, or a line and put it in every box.
Now, riff off the shape. If you start with a circle, one box can be a balloon, the next can be a sun, and so on.
This exercise gives you 12 chances to do something different with the same thing and is a simple way to start using those creative muscles.