Flora Bowley's 'Bloom True' e-course

A painting in 12 stages

I promised I would post photos showing how one of my paintings emerged over the Bloom True Art course I did in June.

‘Emerged’ is the perfect word. Flora Bowley teaches you to add layer upon layer of paint. Averaging two layers of paint a week, the painting s-l-o-w-l-y transforms before your eyes over 5 weeks.

Quite often it looks nothing like you expected. Frequently, it looks a hell of a lot worse!

But you have to trust… be patient… and let the painting do what it wants.

This is what happened:

1. We started by dripping water onto the canvas and smearing it with warm colours…

Painting 1 - 1st layer (fluid acrylics)

2. Next we added some cool colours, experimenting with making different  marks and shapes…

Painting 1- 2nd layer

3. We kept flipping the canvas by 90 degrees…

Painting 1 - 3rd layer

4. And added a layer of black and white. (That was a bit scary – I wasn’t keen on how it looked)…

Painting 1 - B&W 4th layer

5. Layer 5 was one of favourites: we smeared translucent paint onto the canvas with our fingers and sprayed it with water to help the paint spread…

Painting 1 5th layer transluscent

6. Using sketches we had done in our gardens for inspiration, we added some outlines…

Painting 1 - 6th layer shapes

7. Then started to fill in the background (at this point, it felt like the painting would never end)…

Painting 1 - 7th layer

8. Just when I felt like giving up, something started to emerge…

Painting 1 - 8th layer

9. We add more detail to the background. (Oh God, I quite liked it and now I’ve just ruined it!)…

Painting 1 - 9th layer

10. Then simplified things again. (I’m still trying to decide which way up it goes)…

Painting 1 - 10th layer

11. Admission: There’s no photo for this layer as at this point, I had a meltdown. I tried to ‘finish’ the painting and HATED it. In a strop, I went out for a walk. When I came back (still fuming) an hour later, I couldn’t bear to leave the painting as it was, so I started furiously chucking paint at the canvas. After a while, I realised I quite liked what was happening. So I carried on.

12. I finally finished my canvas!…


Here it is hanging in my lounge…

Canvas in lounge (before)

It’s not at all what I expected. And it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. But I like how bold and colourful it is. It adds a quirkiness to the room, which I like.

So for now, it’s staying. (Even though I kind of half wish I had stopped at layer 8, dammit).

18 thoughts on “A painting in 12 stages”

  1. It’s a fabulous painting Katherine. Just the right amount of layers in my humble opinion. I love it. Would be proud to have that painting hanging on my wall. You should be feeling very proud of yourself. You deserve to be. X


  2. Personally, I like the way it turned out! But I really like some of the in-between stages too (6, 8 and 10). Because the painting looks so different at each stage, it’s nice that you took stage by stage photos: that way you still have the earlier layers preserved in a way.


  3. Congratulations : ) Ah, the life cycle of a painting. I can relate, especially to the “oh God, I quite liked it and now I’ve just ruined it…” stage. I’ve learnt to look forward to that stage (yes, really) because what follows is the “now I don’t care what happens coz I can’t make it any worse…” stage — and so often, that’s where the magic is hiding. Great post.


  4. I think it’s brilliant! I would love to hang all of it’s gorgeousness on my wall. Well done girl. And how fantastic that you’ve got a record of all of it’s metamorphosis. Beautiful. xx


  5. I’m curious if you have continued to paint after taking Flora’s course. I would be on a roll by now if I had created something so lovely.


    1. Hey Marge, thanks for asking! I would love to continue painting but I live in a tiny rented house and the only place I can paint is the kitchen, which is… tiny! So my painting has been put on hold for a while whilst I doodle and write instead. In the summer I’ll be able to paint outside of course, so watch this space :-)


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