...in the studio
Nancyanne Cowell, BFA (Hon) (Distinct), MBA, LFC is a Canadian artist, born in Ottawa, Ontario and lives on Vancouver Island. From an early age, Cowell began painting our relationship with nature in the Canadian landscape. Her Abstract-Impressionist paintings straddle the built and natural worlds we live in. With sweeping gestures and energetic passages, Cowell’s powerful and luminous paintings emphasize how our existence is inherently linked to nature. Her work ultimately illuminates the beauty of this relationship.
She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours and was granted the Award of Distinction for painting, from the University of Victoria. Cowell is recognized as an elected member of the Federation of Canadian Artists. She also earned a Master's Degree in Business Administration, with studies in Environmental Philosophy, which deepened Cowell's understanding of civilization and art making. A former career as an educator of environmental marketing and visual communications, enhances her studio work of painting. With preeminent author Ann Dale, in the fields of sustainable communities, Cowell was invited to create the art collection for the Edging Forward book and national multi-media project. Cowell has been featured in numerous publications and the Edging Forward art collection will be published and granted cultural interpretation. Other artwork is held in private and corporate collections.
Place. Space. Belonging.
"Creating in the 21st century, at a time when technology, our culture and our physical world are changing at rapid speed, I explore the bond between people and the powerful elements of the world: the weather, oceans, ecosystems and the vitality of the light that connects them. Painting beyond the conventional 'landscape', my brushes find moments of emotion and wonder expressing our interconnection with a place and time. When you look closer, you may find more than expected."
"Molded by the word, the process of painting is significant to my work. Each painting 'begins' with a title and the poetic quality guides how I respond. When I have a brush in my hand or paint on my fingers, my thoughts and feelings expand in every direction. The first letter is the beginning of my brushwork and inert forces and rhythms are stirred alive. The paint of Impressionism and the emotion of Abstract art, both appeal to my inner senses and what I am trying to do. I use thin and thick oils to reveal my experience of a space or place, which is more about our sense of belonging. In order to sense the land, I go for long walks. I breathe the air, listen to the particular sounds of a place, absorb the light and the movements. I collect things: maple keys, seeds, leaves, shells, odd bits and pieces from nature. For me, they hold the energy of a place and I paint from that energy. Often, I apply materials from nature, in my work. My light is the silent love that holds life together."
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 painting. Cowell’s powerful, yet tenderly painted abstracts 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 blood, 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 in painting, (with Honours and with Distinction), 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. This combination of fine art, ecology and business studies proved potent. Driven to inspire positive change, Cowell taught sustainability 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…
Stephanie Webb, BA, BFA (Hon), MA
Contemporary Art Critic, Writer
Chin Yuen Art, Article, "Women Hold Up Half The Sky", Featured Speaker, March 2016
Art Avenue Magazine, News Vignette, Federation of Canadian Artists, Mar/Apr 2014
SEASIDE Magazine, Article, "Time Suspended: Dust Motes, Dragonflies and Dandelion Clocks", Stephanie Webb, Jan 2014
Art Avenue Magazine, News Vignette, Federation of Canadian Artists, Jan/Feb 2014
CRC Research, Sustainable Community Development, News Blog, "integration, interconnection, inspiration", Dr. Ann Dale, Nov 2013
The Cordovan, News Vignette, "...fast on the rise", Issue 10, Winter 2013
Art Avenue Magazine, News Vignette, Federation of Canadian Artists, Sept/Oct 2013
CACGV Newsletter, News Vignette, July 2013
ISLAND Gals Magazine, Peer-Recommended Artist for Inspiration and Motivation, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Feature Article, Front Cover: Nancyanne Cowell, "moments", Volume 3, Issue 2, June 2013
SEASIDE Magazine, News Vignette, Seaside Arts Scene, Gillian Crowley, June 2013
Art Avenue Magazine, News Vignette, Federation of Canadian Artists, May/June 2013
CACGV Newsletter, News Vignette, May 2013
SEASIDE Magazine, Feature Contributor, Feature Article, Front Cover: 2013 Women to WATCH, "ReCycling Painting Series", 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", Stephanie Webb, Spring 2013
CACGV Newsletter, News Vignette, Apr 2013
Art Avenue Magazine, News Vignette, Federation of Canadian Artists, Mar/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
Permanent representation is established with the following galleries:
JDStevenson Gallery, Chemainus, www.jdstevensongallery.com
Exhibits and sells distinctive quality fine art that reflects thought and soul.
The Gallery-at Mattick's, Victoria, www.thegalleryatmatticksfarm.com
Exhibits and sells original fine art by Canadian and international artists.
Sooke Harbour House Art Gallery, Sooke, www.sookeharbourhouse.com
Exhibits and sells original fine art representing the Vancouver Island region.
Interpretive and cultural representation is established with the following public gallery:
Robert Bateman Centre, www.batemancentre.org