For this week’s TRIBE Tuesday we hear from Emily Mitchell, an art educator in Vermont, who stumbled upon my book, then took the E-Course, and ended up in my Boston retreat. She shares her journey below…enjoy!
I was introduced to Flora Bowley’s book at a 4 year old’s birthday party in December of 2012.
My friend, the host, showed me her art space and her books, and there was Brave Intuitive Painting sitting right in front of me. And. I. Was. Mesmerized. I completely ignored the rest of the party (kids? What kids?) and read the entire thing. I now consider that glitter-filled party the turning point in my art making, and the first step forward to greater risk, but ultimately, greater happiness and purpose.
I felt a deep connection to Flora’s art, but ultimately, I knew the approach she uses to make her art that was tugging at my heart. The play-full, intuitive process was something I tried before, and ALWAYS was the way I felt I had made the truest art for me. But I had put that aside for about 15 years to teach K-12 art and AP Drawing. Which I LOVED, and had great results for my students and career as an art educator. It even pushed me to be a better draw-er. But I knew it wasn’t MY true art heart.
Play was where my art heart lives, and I knew I needed to find it again.
I went home from the party and signed up for the January 2013 E-Course. The results of the E-Course (and eventually the [awesome] Boston 2013 Bloom True Retreat) are really innumerable. Excited and brimming with ideas, I would come home from work, take care of my family, and stay up until 11 painting in my basement “studio.”
I was dreaming about paintings.
The ideas simply released themselves and I would create without really being present, finding myself in another place or plane. And, because the work was coming from the moment, and not a rigid plan, I found I could solve problems more easily, both on and off the canvas. I was also more PRESENT in the act of painting, and eventually my family as well.
Before long I had over 40 paintings in my basement, which was causing a storage problem, so I found places to show the work. This led to letting go of the fear of sharing things the that I create. I had more confidence – an epiphany – I can make art that is important to me, about things I care about. It didn’t have to be about SOME. BIG. THING. It could be organic and true to what I had to say.
“I AM an artist,” because I am showing up, doing the work, committing to the process, trusting it, and letting go.
There have been two other great fringe benefits of this journey. People. I have made new friends, “virtual” friends, and re-connected with old friends from “past lives” like we saw each other yesterday.
I took the E-Course with my friend (and former student-teacher) AshleyAnne, and we have a new dimension to our relationship that is part mentor-mentee (not always sure who is whom!), kindred spirits, true friends, and artists-in-crime. There have been “virtual critiques” via email with a woman I met at the Boston workshop, and conversations about art on Instagram with kindred spirits I have yet to meet. It is a nice connection and community for this full-tome mom-o-busy-boys/anytime-I-can-get artist.
I am so appreciative of Flora’s willingness to share the process of both making art and being true and brave. Flora’s generous spirit has allowed me, and countless others, to grow, connect, work, and push forward. You have helped me listen to my heart and play while creating, and it has ignited a fire within me that I honestly did not know was there. Thanks for “coming” to that birthday party!
Visit Emily’s website at http://emilymitchellstudio.com.
Sending out big thanks to Emily for sharing her heartfelt journey with us here.
The next round of my E-Course starts in January, and registration is now open. You can also get a taste of Bloom True experience by checking out Bloom True Boot Camp: 30 days of prompts to ignite your creative fire.
Do you have a Bloom True story to share? We would love to hear your TRIBE story. Please click here and let us know about your painting adventures!