Registration deadline for unique Bonifas workshop fast approaching

July 24, 2017  |  by Bonifas Arts Center

Anyone interested in joining the upcoming Helga Flower intensive watercolor and mixed media workshop must register by July 28 at 4 p.m.

Flower will teach artists to become more fearless experimenters Aug. 7-10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Bonifas Arts Center.

Artists will start with watercolors and later create mixed media art. Flower, who studied art in Germany, Canada, and throughout the United States, will give students at any level (beginners to advanced professionals) individualized instruction and critique, working with each artist’s specific goals and interests, she said.

Flower will explain every step for beginners, doing daily demonstrations, while advanced professionals can learn new techniques, she said. Artists will “try something new every day,” perhaps shifting from a focus on flowers to landscape to the abstract and beyond, so participants will try “many very different” techniques, she said.

Each day, Flower also will present a lecture so participants can learn about and discuss subjects that might range from framing to artists, from how to “loosen up” to “the art world” and more, she said.

Guided by her love of painting, Flower had already started painting at age five and never quit, even always doodling in grade school, completing drawings inspired by the subjects being taught, she said. As a child, she painted “constantly,” she said.

Flower, a native of Munich, Germany, also is the author of “Warchild: World War II and its Aftermath as Seen Through a Child’s Eyes” (autobiography). Even as a refugee of war, in Europe, outside of Germany, her parents dead, Flower kept painting, she said. “The little bit of art I was able to do, it was my salvation, so to speak … it was something nobody could take away from me,” said Flower, who came to the United States in 1957.

“Painting helped me survive” the “terrible” and the “gruesome,” war and nearby bombings, and “keep on going from day to day,” she said.

Flower has been teaching for decades throughout the United States and in Costa Rica and the Bahamas, she said, and no one signing up for the workshop should worry about their current skill level, since every artist is attending to improve. She wants all to feel comfortable and works to help artists relax, have fun, and concentrate on creating, she said.

Flower challenges herself, keeping painting a part of her daily life, practicing unique techniques, experimenting, and studying constantly, motivated by her own excitement as she seeks out newly released books—continuously bringing her newest insights to her students, she said. “There is no end to learning … I actually hunger for more knowledge,” said Flower.

Flower finds inspiration for her own creations in many places—her imagination, feelings, photographs, whatever “still life” surrounds her, and more, she said.

She loves painting familiar, everyday things but making them look “unusual,” and the mixed media techniques to be covered in the workshop can help artists achieve these types of effects, as can expanding use of color beyond the goals of realism, she said.

Visual artists can benefit from using their imaginations in this manner, from “going into the world of the unknown … painting the unknown,” said Flower, a leader in the International Society of Experimental Artists.

There are many things on this planet people don’t know or fully understand, and artists, inspired by imagination and reality, can create in order to expand what is understood, perhaps creating something that has “never been done before … something nobody has ever seen,” which many art-buyers value, said Flower, who divides her time between Sault Ste. Marie and Florida.

The workshop is $300 for nonmembers and $250 for members. Register at the Bonifas or online at, or call 906-786-3833 for more information.

Learn more about Flower and view her work at Sixty of her paintings also are being exhibited at the Lake Superior State University Arts Center Gallery in Sault Ste. Marie throughout July.


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