...in the studio
From an early age, Nancyanne Cowell began painting our relationship with nature in the dynamic Canadian landscape. Embracing charismatic light, her atmospheric paintings sensuously straddle the built and natural worlds we live in — providing viewers with a rich nurturing experience. Using traditional oils with contemporary techniques, she combines timeless and modern elements. With sweeping textures and soft energetic passages, Nancyanne Cowell's powerful and luminous paintings emphasize how our existence is inherently linked to nature. Her work ultimately illuminates the beauty of this relationship. A series of her paintings is academically published, exploring a more sustainable world. An accomplished artist, she also produces collections that exhibit in public galleries. Enjoyed by many, her work is collected in private, corporate and public living spaces.
BFA (Hon) (Distinct), MBA, LFC; Award of Distinction for painting, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Victoria; Member of the Federation of Canadian Artists.
"Essentially, a painting must inspire the senses and pull on my emotions. Given today's times, I paint beauty from the shaping forces of nature: the weather, ecosystems and the vitality of the light that connects them. It is an ethereal vision of our living Earth in action. Throughout my walks, I embrace the clouds, breathe the light, feel the storm or pull of the moon. I gather keepsakes from nature, written thoughts and memories of the experience."
I paint as though I am walking through a place recalling the calm and chaos in the everyday sacred. The ethereal power of light guides me to express our oneness with nature and it's where I go to unfold our search for serenity. Using oils, I revive the tradition of sfumato; revealing soft, milky edges in atmospheric depth and I also use beeswax in the substrate. Space and design influences my art making. Often, reconstructed canvas-shapes provide the compositional surface for my paintings, enabling me to emphasize something special. The intuition of Romanticism and the emotion of Expressionist art, appeal to my inner senses, yet I find the light in 19th century Luminism art to be the most inspiring. My heart belongs to the sky. Appreciating the reverence, I create from that mystery.
by Stephanie Webb, BA, BFA (Hon), MA, Contemporary Curator & Writer
Mother, Scholar, Painter, Poet
Nancyanne Cowell is an inspirational artist of our time. Her stunning and sensuously vibrant ‘ecoscapes’ profoundly capture the cyclical nature of our existence. When handled with such virtuosity, Cowell’s subjects — love, life and death — compellingly speak to the fragility of the world, as we know it. Beginning with the word, she creates entirely from the title of the canvas. Cowell’s powerful, yet tenderly painted atmospheric paintings show evidence of making, unmaking and remaking, conjuring spectres of the inexorable passage of time. Yes, time is fleeting but, here, it is marked and recorded by the tempo of the brush … the whisper of a wing, a suggestion of a wave, an edge, flashes of flesh, drops of pooling light, hints of blue and pink: Am I beside a perilous precipice, at the edge of the world, witnessing a birth — the first breath — or caught in time, gazing deeply into the jeweled tones of a dragonfly’s eye? Bringing forth deep emotions, we are given space to integrate our own stories and experiences into these large-format ‘ecoscapes’, for they are mysterious and as multivalent as they are layered.
Born in Ottawa, Cowell’s early years were spent painting and examining the diversity of her surroundings, and it was here — growing up in the greenbelt of southern Ontario — that she became aware of the tenuous interconnections within ecosystems. Later, Cowell relocated to the west coast to undertake a BFA with Honours and was granted the Award of Distinction for painting, whilst concurrently studying Environmental Philosophy. Shortly thereafter, she earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, which deepened her understanding of society and, more importantly, continues to inform her art making. She is an elected member of the Federation of Canadian Artists. This combination of fine art, philosophy and business studies proved potent. Driven to inspire positive change, Cowell taught communications, sustainability and marketing at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Although this experience was wonderfully rewarding for her, when the ‘roar of unstoppable paint’ could be denied no longer, Cowell became a full-time artist. Now, she inspires by different means. Painting on canvas, Cowell creates life-affirming, atmospheric 'ecoscapes' that are never mournful but always filled with vitality — that we can, and will, bring ourselves back from the brink…
Bateman Gallery of Nature, www.batemancentre.org
Exhibits the collection of Robert Bateman and offers leading-edge exhibits of nature and public-education programs. Hosts featured exhibits of Nancyanne Cowell's painting collections and projects. "This is the only Canadian public gallery promoting artwork to inspire a generation of people to have a deep relationship with nature.", (Bateman Foundation).
Federation Gallery, www.artists.ca
Exhibits and sells original fine art representing elected-member artists; the Federation of Canadian Artists is the largest arts service organization in Canada. Hosts national-juried art exhibits and also offers online art-shopping.
Sooke Harbour House Art Gallery, www.sookeharbourhouse.com
Exhibits and sells original fine art reflecting the west coast of British Columbia, and also offers online art-shopping. The award-winning Sooke Harbour House Resort is one of Canada's leading premier boutique-hotels.
This is a selection only...of group, featured, juried or solo shows:
Federation Gallery, Vancouver, Federation of Canadian Artists, juried shows
The Bateman Gallery of Nature, Edging Forward Exhibit, Victoria
JDStevenson Gallery, Vancouver Island, group shows
Royal Roads University Showcase Gallery, Edging Forward Exhibit, Victoria
Academic On-line Art Gallery, Edging Forward Project, Ann Dale, Canada
Sooke Fine Arts Show, Vancouver Island's premier juried art shows
The Gallery at Mattick's, solo and group shows, Saanich
Sooke Harbour House Art Gallery, solo and group shows, Sooke
Victoria Arts Council Gallery, Look Show, Victoria
University of Victoria, Faculty of Fine Arts, solo show, Victoria
Edward Jones Investment, Lobby, featured artist, Saanich
Arts Center at Cedar Hill, group shows, Saanich
Saanich Municipal Hall Art Gallery, solo show, Saanich
Front Cover, 2019 Exhibition Catalogue, Sooke Fine Arts Juried Show, 'Between Tomorrow' painting, awarded 2018 best artwork for artistic accomplishment and originality
Royal Roads University Media, 'RRU Acquires Cowell Painting', by Ali Blythe, July 2019
Sooke Fine Arts Show Poster, 'Between Tomorrow' painting selected for 2019 poster to represent the 33rd Sooke Fine Arts Juried Show in western Canada, United States and abroad.
33rd Sooke Fine Arts Show Media, 'Between Tomorrow' painting selected for all domestic and international print media, social media, television and radio press, as well as digital street bulletins.
Quill and Quire Magazine, Review, Edging Forward book & art collection, Feb 2018
Front Cover, Focus Magazine, 'Carbon Thoughts' painting, Sept-Oct issue, 2017
2017 Exhibition Catalogue, Edging Forward Exhibit, Bateman Gallery of Nature, Fernweh Press Publishing
Chin Yuen Art, Article, "Women Hold Up Half The Sky" Exhibit, March 2016
SEASIDE Magazine, Article, "Time Suspended: Dust Motes, Dragonflies and Dandelion Clocks", Stephanie Webb, Jan 2014
The Cordovan, News Vignette, "...fast on the rise", Issue 10, Winter 2013
CACGV Newsletter, News Vignette, July 2013
Front Cover & Feature Article, "moments", ISLAND Gals Magazine, Peer-Recommended Artist for Inspiration and Motivation, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Volume 3, Issue 2, June 2013
SEASIDE Magazine, News Vignette, Seaside Arts Scene, Gillian Crowley, June 2013
CACGV Newsletter, News Vignette, May 2013
SEASIDE Magazine, Arts Feature Article, 2013 Women to WATCH, "...in the garden", Mar 2013
Exhibit-V, Art Connections, Ezine Article, ["...you can almost taste her paintings"], Stephanie Webb, Mar 2013
The Cordovan, Article, "You Can Almost Taste Her Paintings", edited by Chris Harbor, Spring 2013
CACGV Newsletter, News Vignette, Apr 2013
YAM Magazine, Painting in Featured Home, Home and Garden, July/Aug 2011
Where Magazine, Canada's Travel Planner, Vignette, "Featured Artist", The Gallery-at Matticks, July 2010
Saanich Newspaper, Article, "Painter Nancyanne Cowell", Island Life Style, June 2009
Preview, Art Gallery Guide, Vignette, "Featured Artist", The Gallery-at Matticks, 2009