Nancyanne Cowell  
Fine Art Studio

 
   MEMORIES, and studio news

 

                                         
   
   
   
                                                                             

 

'SWEET HOPE',  a pilgrimage with bees...

Spring 2019. Over the next several years, I am making a painting & bee journey into wildflower habitats with unique coastal ecosystems on Vancouver Island. The  'Sweet Hope' series will nurture a reconnection with the mystical bond we have with bees  —  a bond that is lost and dangling in today's times.  When I think about these little ones, I know them to be living nectar; bringers of life. But my heart also understands bees are part of the ordered whole, a sacred system of meaning. For it is plant species that sustain our ecosystems — our own lives, our own healing and nourishment. 

 

Bring me closer to the wisdom hidden within your wings.  Bring us to love.

 

Some sort of universal truth keeps tapping on my bones.  To touch one petal is to touch everything.  Do bees see more than we do?  Do they sense more than we do? Their song and dance are lovely, while working everyday. I want to reach enough of their being to then touch us. I will make space in the composition for a material I feel holds an ancient understanding of being – encaustic bees’ wax. I find the beauty of molten wax elicits a graceful texture between the organic and the man-made. During the course of this immersion into the sacred work of bees, I hope this collection might spark hope to live, heal and work in harmony with nature in contemporary life.    

 

UNIVERSITY ART COLLECTION ACQUISITION

Summer 2019. Such a very special honour to let you know that my painting 'Carbon Thoughts' has been acquired and accepted into the permanent fine art collection at Royal Roads University, for public viewing.  Located on the traditional lands of the Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) and Lkwungen (Songhees) ancestors and families; the painting is displayed in the School of Environment and Sustainability. I am deeply grateful to the university for this exceptional honour, for the painting can now exist to celebrate the wonder of nature in the hearts of students, educators and the people for future generations.   


Carbon Thoughts.  A whirlybird key has within it a maple. We experience the teeming aliveness of the seed when tumbling in front of my country's Parliamentary Library and Peace Tower  giving life to knowledge and compassion. I'm creating in the 21st century, at a time when Earth, nature and our culture are rapidly changing. Our collective journey is at a precipice. Part of the Edging Forward Art Collection, I had to paint what my heart feels and what my soul is trying to understand.  Like love, profound beauty can be powerful.

 

 

 

SOOKE FINE ARTS SHOW AWARD WINNER:
(best artwork for artistic accomplishment & originality) 

 

The Sooke Fine Arts Show is the premier juried fine art event for my region, beautifully curated and displaying 385+ pieces of artwork. I am so delighted to announce that I am the recipient of the curator's and juror's, 2018 Designer's Choice Award for "best artwork that embodies an emphasis on artistic and technical accomplishment; is advanced and displays originality."  In 2019, the painting "Between Tomorrow" (oil mixed-media), was showcased to represent the region's 33rd premier art event. The painting was on the front cover of the exhibition catalogue, all domestic and international social & print media, as well as  digital-street boards in the Greater Victoria region.

 

Between Tomorrow. The miracle of a birth in nature took hold of my heart and I felt that space and design had to profoundly influence the composition.  The orientation and physical format of the canvas-frame became as important as the brushwork.  Presenting a five-foot 'landscape' as a 'portrait', asks the viewer to relate to the paintings on a visceral level; thus eliciting an intuitive personal response and connection between their body and the subject.  Compositionally, "Between Tomorrow" is made with two built canvases assembled together, presenting a physical, horizontal seam where the canvases meet.  This architectural reconstruction is physical, yet subliminally references both the built environment (manufactured canvas frames) and the horizon line (a fundamental element of traditional 'landscape' painting).  It gently stirs the inquisitiveness of the viewer, when blended with the luminous birth of a dragonfly's first breath of fire and water. The wings are created from the seed of a maple tree. We affectionately call him Danny. 

 

 



CLASSICAL RENAISSANCE REIMAGINED: "Emily, Remembered"

Living in our world of traditional landscape painting, sometimes I receive interesting queries about my panel-paintings. This is a niche in Cordova Bay, on the west coast where Emily Carr used to plein air paint.   Instead of one painted image of a 'traditional' landscape scene; I want my panel-paintings to deepen the connection by interplaying perspective, foreground or nature's cycles of time. To the middle, to the left, to the right...a serene inner pause, to the distance, to the front. There is a rhythm of its own. I also like the idea of finding sweet spots for those tiny less noticeable treasures I collect on my walks or find in my garden.  Inspired by the multi-panel design found in classical Renaissance altarpieces, this is a contemporary approach to capturing the spiritual quality of nature, I so enjoy painting. The smaller, intimate scale elicits a more interactive response.
 

 

 

SPECIAL EXHIBIT at the BATEMAN GALLERY OF NATURE 
Edging Forward: Reconciliation  Reconnection  Regeneration


October-November 2017.  This spectacular contemporary exhibit of writings and paintings by author Dr. Ann Dale and artist Nancyanne Cowell, celebrated art, nature and the future of humanity in a more sustainable world. Five years in the making, Edging Forward was an ambitious body of research, artwork and multimedia dedicated to Canada's changing landscape.  The community outreach project culminated in an extensive exhibition at the Bateman Gallery of Nature in Victoria, British Columbia.  Occupying two gallery rooms, the Edging Forward Art Collection was curated by Jaime Clifton-Ross,  B.A. (Hons.), MMSt, Research & Art Curator  With art and science blended together, embracing a wider more encompassing love for nature, Earth was at the core. We were thrilled to learn that visitors really enjoyed this event.  The opening reception at the gallery was amazing with people lined up out the door and on the street - an artist's dream come true.      


 

 

 

EXHIBITION CATALOGUE: EDGING FORWARD 
Fernweh Press published a beautiful exhibition catalogue of the writings and the paintings that were created for the Edging Forward Art Collection and the featured exhibit at the legendary Bateman Gallery of Nature in Victoria. To view, please click on the circle.

 

 

 

 

 


UNIVERSITY LIBRARY SHOWCASE GALLERY

Edging Forward: Reconciliation  Reconnection  Regeneration
This was the "Edging Forward" public exhibit at Royal Roads University, curated by Jaime Clifton-Ross.  Royal Roads University recently launched a Library Showcase for their innovative, real-world research and I am pleased to let you know that my artwork made the trip over. Dr. Ann Dale's research on sustainability for Canada was on display and the Edging Forward art collection was curated to encourage students attending the university to deeply engage with nature, art and knowledge. Furniture was nestled in pods near each grouping of the art collection, to encourage students to relax and be with the exhibit for long periods of time. Tables were grouped for students to work in their discussions. How wonderful, to see students absorbing the writings and paintings. (RRU rests on the traditional lands of the Esquimalt and Songhees ancestors and families).

 

 

 


FRONT COVER: EDGING FORWARD BOOK
Nancyanne's painting Where We Shall Weep & Laugh was published on the front cover of the book Edging Forward, by author Dr. Ann Dale. Both the print book and e-book are a Peter Sibbald Brown design, published by Fernweh Press. 

 

 


FRONT COVER: FOCUS MAGAZINE
Nancyanne's 'Carbon Thoughts' painting was published on the front cover of Focus Magazine, September-October 2017 issue.  Teeming with energy, a maple seed has within it a maple. This issue was primarily devoted to reconnecting people to nature, addressing climate change and promoting the Edging Forward Exhibit at the Bateman Gallery of Nature. A warm thank you to Leslie Campbell and David Broadland of Focus Magazine who chose my artwork for a relevant topic of our times. 

 

 

   
 

PAINTING SERIES PUBLISHED
Edging Forward by Ann Dale


As part of an integrated print, media and visual art project, a series of nine atmospheric paintings created by Nancyanne, was academically published by Fernweh Press. The author, Dr. Ann Dale has dedicated her life to studying Canadian communities and how they can transition towards more sustainable development paths. Edging Forward chronicles the various options that Canadians have to leap forward and actively implement sustainable community development practices. (The print book and ebook are a Peter Sibbald Brown design.)

 

"By responding to themes, legends and fairy tales within each chapter, I draw on relationships and interconnections between our built environment and the natural world. Water — as a symbol of renewal, cleansing and emotional energy; flows throughout the painting series. It is the source of all life. Making up most of the Earth and most of our bodies, water is a conduit between and amongst all species, communities and the biosphere. Painting beyond the conventional boundaries of the traditional 'landscape', my brushes found moments of emotion and wonder expressing these marvelous mysteries.  These paintings are an offering that we may find possibility — towards a fresh understanding of being. With our planet deeply seeking care, perhaps this project will stir both our hearts and minds to find meaning and strengthen our connection with the world around us."  - Nancyanne Cowell, Edging Forward Art Collection

 

 

 

 

 


FIRST SALE FOR JDSTEVENSON GALLERY
Life Is Calling was especially created for the "2016 Inaugural Exhibition" of the  JDStevenson Gallery, a premium boutique gallery on Vancouver Island.   At the grand opening, this painting sold within the first 20 minutes. I was so delighted. 

 

 

 

 

 

PUBLISHED in SEASIDE MAGAZINE

 

SEASIDE Magazine, January 2014 issue, published an article Time Suspended: Dust Motes, Dragonflies and Dandelion Clocks by Stephanie Webb, BA, BFA, MA, Contemporary Art Critic. [..."Many speak about the beauty of Cowell's paintings; however, for me, these canvases are more. Something deeper is implied. For example, in Timewriter (pictured), swirling brushstrokes of deep burgundy vibrate with energy yet are held in check by the areas of blush pink and incandescent cinnamon. These quieter spaces, or pauses, encourage contemplation. Also, the inclusion of other elements and motifs, such as dots and dragonfly, is telling. I am reminded of days gone by  when there was time to watch dust motes dance in the sunbeams, when there were opportunities to stare lazily at darting dragonflies and when I really believed you could tell the time by blowing dandelion clocks  and I mourn my loss of innocence. The dragonfly is a gentle reminder that change is inevitable. Like the circle, these ancient beings are often seen as symbols of transformation and connote the cyclical nature of life."...]

 

 


FIRST FLORAL SHOW for THE GALLERY AT MATTICK'S
This is from the first annual "Skies In Bloom" exhibit held at The Gallery, at Mattick's, a wonderful gallery in Cordova Bay, Saanich, owned by Dawn Casson. Dawn is a lovely soul. These are a few memories from my first floral show.  Amongst other interesting work from the gallery's artists, these are some of my floral paintings. Love the Japanese-inspired raku bell! 

 


PUBLISHED in ISLAND GALS MAGAZINE
Nancyanne was on the front cover of ISLAND Gals Magazine, Real Women Real Stories, in the June 2013 Issue 2, Volume 3.  This was the Publisher's Note: Vancouver Island, British Columbia ["Nancyanne Cowell, Peer-recommended as an artist of inspiration for her 'ecoscape' paintings and evocatively creative process. It has been an honour, privilege and delight to have Canadian artist, Nancyanne Cowell, as one of our feature contributors to ISLAND Gals magazine. Her authenticity and vision pours through both her written word as well as her thought-provoking and potent artistic expression on canvas.  ISLAND Gals looks forward to future collaborations with Nancyanne and remains supportive of her journey."] -Johanna Socha, ISLAND Gals Magazine.

 

 

 

 

   
PUBLISHED ARTICLE, SEASIDE MAGAZINE

 

SEASIDE Magaine, 2013 Women to Watch, March 2013 Issue; RECYCLED VASES...IN THE GARDEN - Nancyanne Cowell, Artist.  This was an extract, from the upcoming floral art exhibition [..."I found this most charming vase in the recycle, and took it home with me. And deep inside, where no one could see, several cracks appeared. Most delicately, I washed the curves with soap and water until they shined. Surveying the garden, my inner voice flickered and listened to the tweak of the creative moment. I knew. I stood the vessel into its place, its home  its new passage to be, residing next to the immortal Iris. I put fresh water and flowers in it every day until the cracks in the surface began to heal. Sometimes the vase felt vulnerable when seen inside, but I would place more flowers in, and fill it with my favorite song. It would be transformed again. It knows it is strong enough for anything."...] 

 

 

 

 

  
Y.A.M. MAGAZINE

Nancyanne's painting Unveiling Your Voice is on the wall for this featured Victoria home in Y.A.M. Magazine, July/August 2011 edition, with the Feature Article: Custom Homes. 

 

 

 

    
SOLO SHOW,  SOOKE HARBOUR HOUSE ART GALLERY
The award-winning Sooke Harbour House Resort is one of Canada's premier beach hotels with a large art gallery to wander through. This was a sweet mention in the Galleries West magazine for a series of florals I created for a solo show at the Sooke Harbour House Art Gallery, in the beautiful Garden Room with the river rock heritage fireplace.   An article written by Stephanie Webb, Contemporary Art Critic, was published in the SEASIDE magazine for this exhibit. The florals from this show are now sold out and I will be creating more.