Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Thinking BIG and being BRAVE, thanks to Flora Bowley

love in the layers
Notes on thinking BIG and being BRAVE.

Since I've been taking Flora Bowley's intuitive painting course, I've started to think BIG.  In the beginning of my encaustic career, I painted 3x3 paintings.  I was terrified of thinking about anything bigger than that.  It was overwhelming to imagine painting big.  Over time, I grew to like 5x5, then 8x8 and graduated to10x10.  I settled in on the latter two and have painted in that size for a while.  The biggest I had ever painted was 24x30.  Now that was big... and terrifying.. and there is only one.  I easily slid back into the smaller realm, the comfort zone. 
During the spring, Dick Blick had a sale on Ampersand Encaustic panels.  I bought 4 large 30x30 squares, 4 24x24 squares and 4 18x24.  Why?  No clue.  The prices were great and I guess I was dreaming that someday I would overcome small.  They sat in the garage in boxes - It was too much for me to think about what and how I would go about using such large white panels.  I knew there were there, ready for someday.  It was a small victory in and of itself that they were even in my possession. 
Flora wants her students to paint BIG - like 40x60 or 48 square.  The thought is to give lots of space to create, play and just explore.  I prepped a 24x24 panel with the initial layers of clear wax to start.  Definitely outside of the comfortable 10x10 size.  I did decide to pull out a 30x30, and I prepped that one too.  As of today, I have completed two 30x30 panels with paintings that make me smile.  The 24x24 panel is ready to go, but unused.. why?  It's too small.  At this point, I can't think about small, I want BIG, BIGGER.  Its so much easier to get some detail, add lots of color and interest.  I used to want smooth paintings... now I want ones with all the crags and crevices, pits and holes that make wax painting so luscious.  Starting with a large white blank panel - bring it!  The process of layering in color and marks to cover all that white is so fun.  I'm ready to get started on the next one.  No plan, no problem.  The painting is not going in a direction I like - no worry, it becomes another layer.  Its a way different way of thinking for me.  I like it.
We're visiting BRAVERY this week in class.  Yep, BIG is BRAVE.


  1. That sounds so freeing...I think I need to take this journey you're on someday. I really love what you're creating...

  2. This is really beautiful! Really love looking at your art work...youre so expressive and precise..I love that...and it definitely is quite Brave!

  3. Hi marji - your canvas is so beautiful. I am feeling so "stretched" in Flora's class too. When I bought my 24" square canvas, it felt enormous to me. Now I'm feeling like it's not big enough!! Off to check out today's lesson. xo


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