#198 Andrea Garvey: Living her Dream and Sharing Her Passion

California artist Andrea Garvey paints beautiful whimsical florals and figures. Her paintings have many layers and are made with acrylic paint and inks. She’s only been painting full time for three years, but already she’s teaching what she knows in online classes. During the pandemic, she also started painting during Facebook Live events. She now has a thriving Creative Community on Facebook.

Listen here or download from iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, CastBox, or Stitcher.

Andrea Garvey in her studio

Andrea Garvey

Summer Blossoms by Andrea Garvey
Summer Blossoms
Capitola Beach by Andrea Garvey
Capitola Beach
Serenity painting by Andrea Garvey
Tomorrow's Hope by Andrea Garvey
Tomorrow's Hope
Blooming Bouquet painting by Andrea Garvey
Blooming Bouquet
Layered Petals class
Andrea's Layered Petals online class starts on February 12, 2021 and is available for purchase now. See link below.
art journal by Andrea Garvey
A page from Andrea's art journal
The Whimsical Elephant online class by Andrea Garvey
The Whimsical Elephant online class
Andrea Garvey art studio
Andrea's art studio

Andrea’s website is andreagarvey.com.

Her online classes can be found here.

Her newest class is called Layered Petals. You can sign up for that right now with special early pricing. The class begins on February 12th. All the details are found right on the Home page of her website.

Her Facebook community is called the Andrea Garvey Creative Community. 

Andrea is on Instagram @andreagarveyart

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. This first tip goes out to the younger people out there. Andrea suggests that you take some business classes when you can so you can get into a business mindset. As an artist, you’ll most likely always be self-employed, and you need to know about setting up a business and doing your own accounting and marketing.
  2. Andrea started painting after her mother-in-law died and she had a dream about a painting. She worked on the painting for two months. She suggests that doing something creative can help others through the grieving process, as it helped her.
  3. After Andrea made her first painting, she started taking classes from other artists to learn more. She mentioned a few and I’ll put their links in the Show Notes for Andrea’s episode. They are Jane Davenport, Tracy Verdugo, Alena Hennessy, and Betty Franks. Many artists offer online classes too, so you can still learn while we aren’t doing things in person as much.
  4. I’ve said this many times on this podcast, and I’ll say it again. The only way to get better at your art is to practice, practice, practice. Andrea gave herself a challenge to draw a flower a day for a year. Doing something like that will definitely get you better at making art.
  5. Andrea said she learned something from artist Ardith Goodwin about trying to come up with your artistic style. Ardith suggested going back to the kind of art you made when you were very young and examine that. You may find the colors or motifs that you like to use. I interviewed Ardith in Episode #51 and she goes into great detail about how she found her style. You can listen to that episode here.
  6. Make what you like, and don’t worry if you like many things. It’s O.K. to make many different subjects, no matter what art you do.
  7. If you’re a painter, a great way to practice your art is to make small works on paper rather than large canvases. Andrea also noted that she can be more daring on a smaller piece on paper and try new designs or materials. You can even sell your small works so you have lower-priced art to offer.
  8. Work on more than one art piece at once, so you can take a break and go back to one later. You’ll often see something new that you can add to.
  9. When Andrea first started creating online classes, she just used google or youtube to find out how to do things. You can find how-to’s for just about anything online.
  10. If you teach online and you have a community of artists who follow you, ask them what kind of class they’d like from you next. Why not get the suggestions right from your students?
  11. Andrea will write blog posts for her website, then she will repurpose those into newsletters. You don’t have to write different things for every platform. Reusing them just makes sure your content gets out to more people.
  12. In Instagram, there’s a fairly new feature called reels. It’s just another way of adding video content to your feed. Andrea uses this rather successfully, because she has realized that in the algorithms, posts with reels are favored over other posts. You can post a 15 or 30 second clip and add music to it. She uses the time-lapse feature on her phone, which will automatically speed up her video to make it match 30 seconds. The other cool thing is you can put a cover photo on your reel, in case the start of your video looks a little weird.
  13. Don’t be afraid to ask another artist for advice. Artists are very generous with their knowledge. However, don’t just ask for their time for free. Offer to pay them for an hour or so, or at least take them out to lunch.
Flora Bowley
#197 Flora Bowley: Painter and Author Helps People Expand their Creativity
Flora Bowley

#197 Flora Bowley: Painter and Author Helps People Expand their Creativity

Flora Bowley is a painter, instructor, and author. Her new book comes out in March called The Art of Aliveness. She’s spent years traveling and teaching, and her classes have expanded to include so much more than painting, like music and movement to help her students embrace their creativity. Her next online class is a 30-day creativity class that ends with a 4-day virtual retreat.

Listen here or download from iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, CastBox, or Stitcher.

Flora Bowley

Flora Bowley

Flora Bowley painting Solace
Solace, 48"x48"
Flora Bowley Mirror painting
Flora Bowley painting class
Flora Bowley class
Class set up for painting and yoga
Flora Bowley class
Flora Bowley painting
Sunrise Sunset
REUNITE class by Flora Bowley
REUNITE class begins January 18, 2021
The Art of Aliveness book by Flora Bowley
The Art of Aliveness, Flora's newest book will come out March, 2021
Winterwash painting by Flora Bowley
Winterwash, 48"x48"
Flora Bowley
Flora Bowley
Flora Bowley
Deep Peace
Deep Peace
Painting by Flora Bowley
I Will Stand by You

Flora’s website is florabowley.com.

Her online classes, including REUNITE which begins January 18, 2021, can be found  here.

Look for her book titled The Art of Aliveness in March, 2021.

Flora can also be found on Facebook and Instagram.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. When Flora talks about her painting, she makes a distinction between her style and her philosophy. She has a certain style, but she wants to teach people philosophy that is, to learn to let go and let the painting unfold naturally.
  2. At the start of her classes, she often does an exercise where she asks her students to paint with their eyes closed. What she’s found is that the best paintings come from the feeling space rather than the visual space. She will turn on music and encourage people to just paint with the hands. The paintings end up freer and more expressive this way.
  3. Flora doesn’t want to bog down her students with too much instruction and rules, but she has realized that she needs to teach them a little bit about color theory so that they don’t put wet paint on wet and end up with muddy brown colors. She teaches them about cool colors and warm colors, and if you don’t mix them or layer them while they’re still wet, then you won’t get the mud colors.
  4. She recommends that you get 2-3 paintings going at once. This will give you a chance to stop with one, and work on another while you’re waiting for the first to dry.
  5. She’s also found that for most beginner painters, their paintings will get to a point where they don’t like them and they don’t know where to go next. She’s said that this happens all the time and they just need to keep painting, perhaps on a second or third painting to give themselves a break from the first. Usually when you go back to the first, you’re seeing it with fresh eyes and you now know what you’re next step or color should be.
  6. When setting up her painting area, she will put her canvas right on the wall, using two screws to hang it. She’s found that walls are more stable than easels, and the canvas hangs flat rather than at an angle. On the wall, she can also rotate the painting around to look at it from a different perspective while you’re working on it.
  7. Flora has a new book coming out in March, called The Art of Aliveness. It will help people to reconnect with their bodies and their inspiration, vitality, and connection. She feels that creativity in many different ways is an antidote and will help you to feel more alive.
  8. When creating online courses, remember that you can make it any way that you would like. It can be a two-hour class. It can be a two day or two-week class. Flora is starting one on January 18th called Reunite that will be 30 days of creative prompts followed by a 4-day virtual retreat. Who knows when we will be able to do in-person retreats again, so why not do a virtual retreat?
  9. Another thing you can do with longer classes is, you can let parts of the class become available at one time, and other parts come later. Of course all of it can be available at once, but if it’s a long class you may not want to overwhelm your students with too much content at once.
  10. Livestreaming yourself painting is a great way to connect with other artists and potential customers. You can do it on Facebook or Instagram.
Flora Bowley
#196 Lianne van Leyen: Sampler Reproductions and Historical Interpretation
Lianne van Leyen

#196 Lianne van Leyen: Sampler Reproductions and Historical Interpretation

Lianne van Leyen, who lives in Ontario, Canada, is a fiber artist who collects antique stitched samplers. She reproduces them into patterns that others can buy and stitch themselves. Her business is called 1897 Schoolhouse Samplers because she lives in an old one-room schoolhouse. Lianne also works at a living history museum, where she demonstrates cross stitch, quilting, and cooking.

Listen here or download from iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, CastBox, or Stitcher.

Lianne van Leyen

Lianne van Leyen

1897 one room Schoolhouse
The 1897 Schoolhouse where Lianne and her husband live.
Students at the 1897 Schoolhouse
Students at the 1897 Schoolhouse
stitched samplers
Stitched Samplers
1851 sampler
1851 sampler pattern
sampler pattern
1851 Pattern Back Cover
Lianne van Leyen sampler
Mary Ann Burton sampler
1897 Schoolhouse
The 1897 Schoolhouse in Autumn
Lianne van Leyen historical interpreter
Lianne as a historical domestic interpreter and cook at Upper Canada Village

Lianne’s website is called 1897schoolhousesamplers.ca

She offers some free sampler patterns on her website here.

Her sampler patterns are sold wholesale to Hoffman Distributing. You can find stores that carry her patterns all over the world on their website.

Lianne is a historical domestic interpreter at Upper Canada Village in Ontario, Canada.

Here are some great takeaways from our conversation:

  1. Lianne is a collector of stitched samplers. In some cases, the samplers have the girl’s name stitched into it, and sometimes the date. It tells her so much more when she knows when a sampler was completed. This is something to think about when you are making art to give away or sell. I would definitely suggest you put your name on it and you may even want to put the date it was completed so that the new owner, and possibly subsequent owners will know more about when it was made.
  2. You may not be thinking of your art as something that will be passed on for years, but you really should. Think about the materials you use so that your art will last for a long time. For painters, that may mean spraying or brushing a finish on it to protect it from dust and fading. For jewelers, that may mean using a coated metal that won’t tarnish. For paper artists, you may consider using only archival papers that won’t fade or discolor over time.
  3. Lianne creates her patterns using PC Stitch, which is a cross stitch software.
  4. One of Lianne’s tried and true techniques when she is recreating a sampler is to walk away from it when she gets stumped. That’s great advice for all artists. If the colors don’t feel right, step away, and look back at it over the next few days, and chances are the colors that really feel right will come to you.
  5. Lianne has chosen to offer her sampler patterns only through a distributor. She used to sell them retail, but now just sells them wholesale to that company. This is a good option for her because they can get them in individual shops all over the world. This is something you will want to consider if you make things like patterns, prints, or merchandise.
  6. A lot of artists teach their art skills. Another avenue to look into is the demonstration of your skills. This is when you are making something, and talking through your steps for an audience. For demos, the viewers generally just watch you work rather than make the art with you. Lianne demos cross stitching as well as cooking at a history village. This might be something you would like to seek out once we are doing more things in person.
  7. Lianne is working with a local Economic Development agency in Ottawa which provides mentoring and business help for entrepreneurs. Look to your own city and county to see if they offer something like that. It’s a very good way to get assistance from experts who can help you get to the next level of your business.
  8. You may find that there are artist grants available from your city or county right now too. I recommend you apply to everything you find, because the more you go through the application process, the better you will be in describing your business and goals.
Lianne van Leyen

#195 Season 2 Episode Recommendations

For this end of year episode, I recommend 10 episodes from Season 2. These episodes include an illustrator and author; a painter with a unique colorful style; an expert collaborator; a glass artist and CPA who can help you with the year-end accounting issues for your business; an expert in handmade businesses; a creator of art classes; an artist who sketches the everyday and teaches classes; an oil painter; a mixed media artist who uses vintage papers; and an artist who paints abstract landscapes inspired by where she lives.  

Listen here or download from iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, CastBox, or Stitcher.

Season 2 Left Brain Artist podcast recommendations

Recommended Episodes

Lisa Congdon
Lisa Congdon
Melissa Doty
Melissa Doty
Sandi Keene
Sandi Keene
Hope Barron
Hope Barron
Deborah Engelmajer
Deborah Engelmajer
Kasia Avery
Kasia Avery
Danny Gregory
Danny Gregory
Katrina Berg
Katrina Berg
Jenny Brown
Jenny Brown
Doulene Walker
Doulene Walker

#194 Season 1 Episode Recommendations

For this special holiday episode, I recommend 10 episodes from Season 1. These episodes include an artist who creates art every day; an art show curator; an art gallery owner; an artist and podcast host; a tech-savvy artist; painters, mixed media artists, and instructors. 

Listen here or download from iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, CastBox, or Stitcher.

The Left Brain Artist podcast Episode 194

Recommended Episodes

artist Jennifer Love Gironda
Jennifer Love Gironda -- Episode 5
artist Nicole Galluccio
Nicole Galluccio -- Episode 7
artist Roxanne Evans Stout
Roxanne Evans Stout -- Episode 19
artist Trina Slade-Burks
Trina Slade-Burks -- Episode 29
artist Roben-Marie Smith
Roben-Marie Smith -- Episode 37
artist Ardith Goodwin
Ardith Goodwin -- Episode 51
artist Laura Horn
Laura Horn -- Episode 57
artist AJ Brockman
AJ Brockman -- Episode 71
artist Mary Price
Mary Price -- Episode 87
artist Sara Schroeder
Sara Schroeder -- Episode 97
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