Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Blooming Magical

I'm just gathering my self together to reflect on my trip to Estoril, Portugal.  

Where to start?  I'll start with the kitchen window as this just made me take a breath.... Oh to have windows that open inwards (why do they not do that in the UK? )   I was staying in a lovely Portuguese guest house apartment above Margarida's language school and it really was so charmingly lovely...  

I took the time before the workshop to write, journal, rest and recharge before Flora Bowley's Bloom True workshop, which took place in Margarida Alberty's  Art Studio.  

It was all just truly bloomingly lovely.  

Effortlessly, Flora coached us to not fear the blank canvas, to move with music and to begin by mark-making.  Such FUN.   I have never done anything like this before.  I have never been to an art class, nor have I painted 'large'.  She also planted the seed of non-attachment within a painting. What she meant by this was - to 'let go' within the painting and to not become attached to parts of the painting but to BE BOLD and MOVE forward as the painting constantly changes.  We were always turning the painting, to see what we could see, from another direction.  We also spent time looking back, from the other side of the room and this had a huge impact on me.  

In fact, it was quite an Aha Moment!

I reconnected with an urgency to paint and to have Flora's experience by my side, it was just wonderful.  We were only 9 in the class, so we had so many opportunities to watch her, ask her and just bathe in the lushness of her artistic flair.  

Changes to canvases were happening by the minute!

At the end of day one. Phew, that was some painting class.  
10am till 7pm

I began to see swirls and circles wherever I walked that night.  This was the local supermarket boarding.

Watching Flora paint was meditative, to say the least.

After 2 days, one of my canvases looked like this.  I would have liked to spend more time on this piece but I think I may leave her now and start on a new canvas, a much bigger one and just 'go for it'.  I love painting this way and I'm sure it will add to my Jules Dolly Art, but this releases another part of me that I never knew about!

My two finished pieces.  

Our group: (Margarida is taking the pictures) 

To complete the weekend, we went to a lovely Portuguese restaurant where we laughed and laughed (and enjoyed some sangria!)

I'm still floating and there's more for me to reflect upon, but I felt that I wanted to post my initial, raw, thoughts from the workshop in Portugal.  Thanks Flora, Thanks Margarida and Thank you creative spirits that were in the group.


  1. Hi Julia

    So pleased you had a bloomin time in Portugal! and your paintings are just lovely! Love the colours and the little face you added! I can imagine the benefits of being in a much smaller student group and having all of that painting time.
    It is amazing what you start paying attention to when you've participated in Flora's class - now you can see where I got the inspiration for my blog name! I love the way paintings emerge in such an organic way
    I'm sure you will continue to process your painting experience over the next few weeks, so I'll look forward to reading more about your bloomin adventures!

    Keep bloomin and painting LARGE! xxx

  2. Hi Swirly Girl, I sooo now know why your blog is that name.
    It has been a great experience and I think the sooner I start to paint LARGE the better. I'm so chuffed we've both experienced it and we can read each other's bloomin adventures. Hope all's good with you xxx

  3. Hi Julia
    Just home. It was a great weekend, love reading your blog, we did have fun, everyone was so lovely. It was such an amazing experience, just need to find the space to paint as real life kicks in! Tracey x

  4. Hi Tracey, so how did it all go? Canvases get home ok? It was great to meet you and now we can stay in touch. Take care x

  5. Thanks for visiting my blog today :)

    It sounds like you had a great time at the retreat, I have had urges to paint large lately too, maybe it's something I should try ;)

    Micki x

  6. Hi Julia, yes canvas came home fine, how about yours? Did I read somewhere on a blog you did the do what you love e course, if so would you recommend it? Haven't had any time for art yet but really looking forward to doing some painting. Tracey x

  7. Micki.... go for painting large, or at least larger than you normally would... it's releasing.... I love your blog, it's adorable x

    Hi Tracey, yes I did the e-course and thought it was really good.. well put together and lots to get you thinking about ... journaling, listening to others, guest speakers and interesting exercises... I have started a new canvas to remind me of all the things I did ..... I realised I should have taken more photos of Flora's canvas to remind me how it evolved.... Are you on Facebook? x

  8. Hi no not on facebook. I have got some photos of flora, could send them through email if you want. Glad your painting, I haven't had time yet but really want to! Getting ready for the exhibition now. Really got to switch thinking, its all monochrome with stitching. I really want to do colour now, but will wait untill next project in the summer! just signed up for dwyl ecourse.
    Happy painting Tracey x

  9. Why don't you look at the flickr page I set up and you can upload your photos there? http://www.flickr.com/groups/1668008@N24/
    Check it out... Tanja's added some great photos...
    I'm so pleased you signed up for DWYL ecourse, I think you'll find it really helpful. Happy exhibition prep! x

  10. Aren't her courses just fab! I loved all that freedom she coaxed out of us. We also got to run around a field pretending to be sheep!

  11. Hi Wright Stuff! Yes, Yes and Yes! I'm having a go at doing another one. I love her style of teaching and she is so inspirational x

  12. Hi Jules, so glad you had a great time at Flora's inspirational workshop, your paintings look beautiful and I look forward to seeing more.

    ( From Flora's workshop in Perth, Western Australia)

  13. Hi Shells thank you so much for stopping back all the way from Perth!!
    It was great wasn't it? Seems like a bit of a dream really. I'm going to hop over to you now. Jules x

  14. So nice to see work from other workshops that Flora has done and see similar ripple effects all over. I did the yorkshire one and it has really kickstarted my painting from a standing start. Love the canvases you have produced and "YAY' to painting big canvases !

  15. Hi starrybluesky, thank you so much for this and for leaving a comment. I loved Flora's workshop - it was just fabulous. Yay! to big canvases... I just keep getting bigger!!!

  16. Hi Julia...

    I haven't painted anything since our workshop....I've been too busy eating cataplana....

    Hope you are all fine! Hope to see you soon in sunny Portugal.... now it's true!.... ha ha...
    Miss you all!

  17. You certainly have been busy, I have seen the photos!!! It has taken me ages to paint another canvas, I think I wrote about it on my latest blog post... You can see it here. http://julesdollyart.blogspot.com/2011/07/dibbling-and-dabbling-at-my-painting.html

    Hope you're well Margarida, miss you too... you wonderful hostess and your mad chihuahua!! x


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