Mount Adams Winter Scene (1937) was painted by Flora while studying at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, and is the only existing color work from his academy days. It may, in fact, be the earliest existing Flora work—period. (There are undated student-era sketches.)
The style, of course, does not reflect Flora's future direction. At the academy he was training to be a fine artist, and such were his aspirations. It's ironic that in the depths of the Great Depression, Flora—the student—was painting on canvas. By the time he was certified by the Academy in 1939, and throughout the World War II years when he was employed (successfully) as a commercial artist, Flora rarely, if ever, painted on canvas. Existing private works from 1938 to 1945 are on paper, artist board, cardboard, blocks of wood, onionskin, postcard scraps, vellum, and occasionally on the backs of convention brochures, printer's proofs, rejected drafts—anything with a blank surface. Wartime rationing had been imposed by the government, but it couldn't suppress Flora's artistic impulses.
The oil on canvas, which measures 26" x 32", hangs at the Flint (Michigan) Institute of Arts, where it is part of the museum's Regionalists Collection. The work is cataloged as a "gift of Pat Glascock and Michael D. Hall in honor of Pat’s parents Charles R. and Nadine V. Patterson." Flora fan Andy Gabrysiak dropped us a note: "I saw it there myself a few weeks ago. It's beautiful!"