Annual Celebration Spotlight: Flora Bowley

Company/Business Name: Flora Bowley Designs
Name: Flora Bowley
Hometown: I’ve been living in Portland for the past 12 years, but I’m originally from Wisconsin.

Flora Bowley is a painter, permission-giver, gentle guide, and author of two books, Brave Intuitive Painting and Creative Revolution.

Blending over twenty years of professional painting experience with her background as a yoga instructor, out-of-the-box thinker, and lifelong seeker, Flora’s soulful approach to the creative process has sparked a holistic movement in the intuitive art world by encouraging thousands of people to courageously pick up a paintbrush through her books, intimate in-person workshops, and popular online classes.

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.

How long have you been involved as an artist? I’ve been painting since I was a kid. I studied painting in college and have been painting professionally for over twenty years since then.

What is your approach to design? I enjoy working in a very spontaneous fashion, allowing my paintings to evolve, both in color and design, as the layers build up over time. Typically, I start with a ‘more is more’ approach in my early layers, using lots of marks and vibrant colors, but as the painting evolves, I begin to let things go to create more quiet space in the piece. The whole process is a dance between letting go and adding in.

From what do you draw inspiration? My inspiration comes from the spontaneity of the intuitive painting process itself, along with my observations of the natural and urban environments I live in. I also glean a lot of inspiration from the music I listen to when I paint.

What aspect of your company are you most proud of and why? I’m really proud of how many people I’ve been able to inspire to try intuitive painting. I believe we all have infinite wells of creative capacity just waiting to be tapped and remembered, and from what I’ve observed, often people just need a little nudge, some simple guidance, and loving encouragement to get started. I’m happy to be that kind of creative cheerleader!

What other hobbies are you involved with? I enjoy traveling the world, connecting with other soul seekers, creating retreats, practicing yoga, spending time in nature, taking photos, discovering new music, dancing, and writing. And most recently, I’ve taken up the ukulele and started learning more about herbal-ism.

What impact do you see the IIDA Oregon Chapter having on the work you’re doing? I look forward to making new connections with designers. I’m a big fan of collaboration, and I’m always open to new ways of working together.

What is your personal mantra?: Make strong commitments, while staying open to change.

On a typical Saturday where can we find you?: You’ll likely find me surrounded by woods and water with my dog, Pearl.