Bowlds hopes to help her art students discover creative potential


Pat Bowlds hangs her painting "Attitude: 13" at the Art Gallery of Viera in The Avenue.

Judy Berman

As a scientist, Pat Bowlds drew molecules. It wasn’t until the early 1990s, when she was working for IBM in England, that she first picked up a paintbrush.

Her first art teacher, Alan Roe, helped her realize that she could paint. 

“To discover something about oneself is an amazing experience, especially as you get older,” said Bowlds, a resident of Viera.

Now, she loves reinterpreting landscapes into a contemporary look “that has a touch of abstraction.”

“It’s never my goal to paint realism. The thing I love about abstract art is each painting is perceived differently, depending on the viewer,” Bowlds said.

Her painting on fabric, “Attitude: 13” of a teenage girl, is on display at the Art Gallery of Viera in The Avenue.

“This painting may establish a strong connection with the viewer and evoke a range of emotions,” Bowlds said.

‘With her childhood behind, the girl’s expression reveals a combination of scorn and disrespect. While she has an air of confidence, she is uncertain of her future.”

Bowlds learned this technique in a workshop and also teaches students in her classes at the gallery. She uses a wide variety of new materials and techniques, and teaches them how to supercharge their watercolors using inks and acrylic paints.

What she wants those in her classes to remember is “that creating art is not just for the well-schooled in art. Everybody is much more creative than they think
they are.”

“My teaching goal is to help them find that out.”

Bowlds draws on her experience as a college professor in organic chemistry when she designs her classes.

“My approach to education is different from a lot of artists, in that I document everything with things that they can take away,” she said.

She provides subject material so they can create their own ideas. She lists objectives, the end product, and how students can fix mistakes.

Barbara Rios of Eau Gallie met Bowlds through the Brevard Watercolor Society about four years ago. 

“We both want to experiment, to learn new techniques, new styles,” Rios said. “That’s what I love about her.”

Rios said Bowlds wants to share what she’s learned.

“She knows that there are different ways of perceiving how to approach something, that every outcome is different,” Rios said.