It’s just a matter of practicing and showing up. The more you paint the easier it is to find your voice. The more you speak and write and talk and sing the easier it is to feel comfortable in yourself in those ways.—Flora Bowley
Flora Bowley is an artist, workshop leader, yoga teacher, healer, lifelong truth seeker and the author of Brave Intuitive Painting and Creative Revolution. Flora lives with her partner, Jonathan, his son miles, and their dog, Pearl, in Portland OR.
What time do you get up?
It depends, but typically between 7 to 8 a.m.
What time do you go to sleep?
Again, my life seems to ebb and flow quite a bit with difference projects but I like to be in bed by 11ish.
Is your creative work your full-time job?
Do you wait for inspiration before you begin or do you begin regardless of inspiration?
My greatest source of inspiration is often the process of creating itself. I know if I just start, the inspiration will eventually follow.
How many hours a day, on average, do you do your creative work?
Between painting, writing, and teaching, I typically spend about four hours a day on my creative work. The rest of the day is taken up with an assortment of other biz related tasks.
At what point are you done for the day?
I’m really working on better boundaries and adjusting my workload right now, because I have a bad habit of over working until the job is done. Often, this means, I’m working 10-12 hour days, which is definitely not the look I’m going for.
Do you work primarily in the morning, afternoon, or evening?
Typically, I work in the mornings and afternoons, but if I have a big project, my work often overflows into the evenings too.
Do you have a daily routine for your creative work?
Between fluctuating projects and my own tendencies towards “going with the flow,” I really struggle with having a solid routine that I stick to. Again, working on it!
How has your creative process changed over the years?
For many years, my focus was just on painting and selling my original paintings…the simple life! Then in 2010, I started teaching workshops, and everything really shifted overnight. Suddenly, I was traveling all over the world to teach, while simultaneously writing my first book. Fast forward to now, and I have three in-depth e-courses, two books, a monthly online subscription program, a variety of licensing projects, regular in-person workshops, and my own painting practice. Needless, to say, I’ve been pretty busy for the past seven years.
Do you have a dedicated work space?
I have a beautiful, large studio across town where I teach and paint, but I tend to do my writing on my dining room table. My studio has served me really well for the past few years, but we’re actually in the process of building a new studio in my backyard, so I don’t have to travel across town. They are pouring concrete as I write this.
If yes, do you have anything in your work space to encourage creativity?
For sure. The aesthetics and energy of my studio are really important to me, and since I teach a lot of workshops there as well, I designed the whole space to feel incredibly nourishing and inspiring the minute you walk in the door. The space is filled with large white globe lights and lots of twinkle lights, so those create a pretty magical feeling. I also have a few large altars filled with inspiring objects, tons of plants, comfy seating, a tea zone, and positive affirmations all around. I also have a great sound system, which is an essential part of creating the atmosphere…especially during dance breaks.
How do you stay focused in a world of the internet, social media, interruptions, and other distractions?
Great question. It really is such an issue these days, isn’t it? I’m definitely on the learning curve with everyone else, so I don’t have any magic formulas to share. However, I do create certain boundaries for myself when I find myself in an unhealthy loop. For example, I often remove Instagram and Facebook from my phone for many days in a row just to give myself a break from it all. I also love leaving my phone at home when I go out to socialize, and I don’t charge my phone in my bedroom anymore. It’s far away in the kitchen so it’s not the first or last thing I do in the day. When I’m working, I allow myself to check in periodically, but it’s usually to post vs. scroll.
How do you maintain your creative energy?
My overall health has a really big impact on my creativity. When I’m rested, eating well, exercising, meditating, and getting time in nature, I naturally have way more energy to put towards my creative endeavors.
What other activities do you engage in to encourage your creativity outside of your creative work time?
I tend to get my best ideas when I’m out of my head and moving my body, so dancing, yoga, working out, and walking my dog all provide fertile ground for ideas to flow. There’s also a lot to be said for creative community. I’m surrounded by a lot of makers here in Portland, and I gather so much inspiration by simply being in their creative presence.
The deeper stuff...To listen to the conversation with Flora on The Creativity Habit podcast:
Every Monday a new interview.Conversations about art, creativity, and courage.