FIRST PAINTING FOR 2022
Welcome to another year. I promise you the titanium whites are going to flow in soaked expressions from florals to landscapes this year. Over the holidays I finished this painting, "The Blessed Bonsai", a wild bonsai I found in Saanich at the break of light after a heavy rain. A bumblebee was feeding from the pollen. In practice, I tend to move between Tonalism and my own brand of contemporary Luminism. Years ago, I found my own way of pulling light through canvas and hope to share this with you, as I work on the Sweet Hope project which will cumulate into a solo show. Be well. Stay safe. -Much light, N
NEW FLORALS, Sweet Hope Project
On the easel today! Wildflower portraits for the Sweet Hope project. Created with a dynamic palette using the Renaissance technique of Chiaroscuro, the luminous florals come to life in a burst of vitality. Unique to the composition will be painting the wildflowers framed in the circle of life, deepening our connection with nature's perennial cycles. The softened edges bring a calmness to the flower...much like how it feels when I touch them. Based on my coastal explorations of Vancouver Island, I'll be making many of these throughout 2022. Stay tuned! -Much light, N
PREMIER SOOKE FINE ARTS SHOW
July 23 to August 2, 2021
Attracting 10,000+ visitors, the Sooke Fine Arts Show is the region’s premiere art event and this year it is virtual, due to the pandemic. I am honoured to have two paintings juried and accepted into the shows' Dogwood Gallery. Framed in modern matte black, imagine the glow of this painting in your living space... inspiring your senses. The crest of the surf is textured from beeswax and the mark making was a delight to express. All the best to my fellow artists. -Much light, N
Sooke Fine Arts Show: https://sookefinearts.com/
EDWARD JONES CANADA, Installment & Representation
After a year of lockdowns, it is my great pleasure to announce a new corporate representative for my artwork: Bartosz Glodek of Edward Jones Canada in Cordova Bay, BC. Dwelling in peaceful inspiration, this unique skyscape painting will bring comfort and connection to visitors and clients. The ethereal shimmer of the iridescent sky, echoes the assemblage of abalone shells, creating a texture that can be felt as well as seen. An endangered species, the decaying remnants of these shells were collected over time from the Cordova Bay beach. Their beauty should always be remembered.
In the turning of the world's page, Bartosz now holds many virtual meetings with clients. He kindly chose this spot in the office to promote my work both in-person and virtually. I am so pleased and look forward to working with Bartosz in years to come. -Much light, N
FEDERATION GALLERY...2020 exhibits
Here I am working during lockdown on the new Sweet Hope collection for the conservation of bees; painting after making an encaustic wax pour with local beeswax.
Keeping with the times, I am honoured to be accepted into two on-line juried virtual shows with the Federation Gallery in Vancouver; each expressing reflections on the pandemic. Each painting recalls days spent walking under the skies among nature, to find peace among wild things. Happy to share that our entry fees raised funds for front-line workers! The Social Distancing exhibit is an international competition and the "Looking In, Looking Out" exhibit is the Federation Gallery's Victoria chapter spring show.
Much light and social-caring for each other during this time, and always..
'SWEET HOPE', a new project
Spring 2020. Over the next several years, I am making a painting journey for bee conservation and will be exploring both changing or restored wildflower habitats on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.
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 ecosysems — our own healing and nourishment.
To celebrate their life, I will make space in the composition for encaustic bees' wax. I find the beauty of molten wax elicits a graceful texture among the organic and the man-made. Perhaps this collection might spark hope to live, heal and work in harmony with nature in contemporary life. -Much light, N
UNIVERSITY FINE ART ACQUISITIONS:
(holistic harmony with nature)
To mark the 2019 year of 'Climate Awakening in Canada', the paintings 'Fusing Love' and 'Between Tomorrow' were purchased for curatorial acquisition into the permanent fine art collection for Royal Roads University, British Columbia. Five years in the making, the Edging Forward project with Dr. Ann Dale was an artistic and educational collaboration of research, artwork and multimedia...dedicated to Canada's changing landscape. "I am exceptionally grateful for this special honour. I hope the love and energy in these paintings will stir people's hearts towards the natural world and all its’ rhythms and sustenance.", says artist Nancyanne Cowell. The paintings are now permanently featured in the School of Environment and Sustainability for public viewing in the new Sherman Jen building. The university is located on the beautiful Hatley Park National Historic Site and on the traditional lands of the Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) and Lkwungen (Songhees) ancestors.
ARTISTIC ACCOMPLISHMENT AWARD WINNER:
(Designers' Choice Award)
The Sooke Fine Arts Show is the premier juried fine art event for my region. I am so delighted to be the recipient of the curators, 2018 Designers' 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, reminding us of our fragile built world. This architectural reconstruction is physical, yet gently stirs the emotional energies of the viewer, as they rise with the dragonfly's first breath - a moment of transformation.
UNIVERSITY FINE ART ACQUISITION:
(an artistic collaboration for nature)
Spring 2019. Such a very special honour to let you know that my painting 'Carbon Thoughts' has been purchased for curatorial acquisition into the permanent fine art collection at Royal Roads University, for public viewing. The university aspires to collaborations as the way forward to sustainable living and protecting nature. Located on the beautiful Hatley Castle National Historic site and traditional lands of the Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) and Lkwungen (Songhees) ancestors; the painting is displayed in the School of Environment & Sustainability, Sherman Jen Building. 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 wisdom 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.
CLASSICAL RENAISSANCE REIMAGINED: "Emily, Remembered"
In my studio, you are viewing a stormy niche in Cordova Bay on Vancouver Island, where Emily Carr used to plein air paint. Poppies and wildflowers now grow up the banks of the bay. To deepen the connection, I created an interplay between the perspective and the foreground on this panel-painting. Sweeping to the middle and to the left, one finds a serene pause in the distant scene. There is a rhythm of its own. The smaller, intimate scale elicits a more interactive response. 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.
SPECIAL EXHIBIT at THE BATEMAN GALLERY
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 project culminated in an extensive exhibition at The Bateman Gallery 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 and humanity 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 PROJECT
Fernweh Press published a beautiful exhibition catalogue of the writings and paintings that were created for the Edging Forward Art Collection and the featured exhibit at the legendary Bateman Gallery 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. 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 IN LIVING LIBRARY
Edging Forward by Ann Dale
As part of a multi-media science and art collaboration project, a series of nine of my large-scale atmospheric paintings (Edging Forward Art Collection) was academically published by Fernweh Press in the "Edging Forward" online living library - in the book art gallery. 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 development practices within their community. (The print book and ebook are a Peter Sibbald Brown design.)
The Canada Arts Council awarded Dr. Dale with the national Arts Molson Prize for Social Sciences and she has always integrated the arts into her research. Dr. Dale is Canada's Research Chair for sustainable communities and Nancyanne Cowell was selected as the artist to illuminate the Edging Forward multi-media project.
"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."...]
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 resort 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.