The art of Nancyanne Cowell  






SEASIDE Magazine | Your West Coast Culture | 

January 2014 Issue , p.53


By: STEPHANIE WEBB, BA, BFA, MA, Contemporary Art Critic & Writer



"...artist to watch...[vibrates with energy]"


Inspiring audiences and collectors, Nancyanne Cowell is an artist to watch. Advertised as Valentine's Featured Artist of 'ecoscape' paintings, by Sooke Harbour House Gallery, her paintings will be exhibited there during early spring. With preparations for the show in their final stages, I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview. Intentionally playing with the theme of romance for this series, what I saw was a revelation in red.


The palette is sensuous. Exploring the colour of passion to its fullest, each canvas is brimming with luscious, deep shades  burgundy wines and burning reds with bursts of cinnamon  embracing lighter hues featuring dusty rose, pink and peach; all are off-set by hints of blushing flesh tones and flashes of thistledown white.

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.


Ever concerned about how we interact with and within the environment, Cowell uses her work as a means of communication and this series does not disappoint. It is a contemplation of the Valentine theme of love, loss and longing and a gentle, yet powerful, reminder that time cannot be suspended; it flies and is precious.


Exhibition at Sooke Harbour House Gallery during February and March. For more information visit





CRC Research website | sustainable community development 


Posted: Nov 2, 2013

By: DR. ANN DALE, Canada Research Chair on Sustainable Community Development



"...her art 'allows' us to see landscapes in different ways..."


Nov 2 Integration, interconnection, inspiration


There are many recent conversations about integrating the arts into sustainability, cities and resilience. I know of one artist, Nancyanne Cowell, who fundamentally integrates the environment into her art, referring to them as ecoscapes. Her art ‘allows’ us to literally see landscapes in different ways, and is always accompanied by a story. She and I will be collaborating on my next book, exploring co-creating through the integration of art and research, to be titled, Edging Forward. Click on the link below to see the ecoscape connected to this painting.


ReStoring Series


Wrinkled Douglas Fir, create little niches in the shoreline for our repose.  Primordial energy circles the rise of the rock, calling the prevailing winds to bust out of the Pacific clouds. Beneath soles, heaving, reaching roots are held down by the bones of our Earth, in decay.  Even for just a moment - to touch a remnant of our abalone, an endangered species, is to find a trail to our hearts.  Irresistible to the senses, naked leaves lie scattered, reconnecting us to our collective life.  Our meaning of place.



ISLAND Gals Magazine |Real Women Real Stories | Front Cover: Nancyanne Cowell | moments

Volume 3, Issue 2, June 2013, p.29


Feature Contributor: NANCYANNE COWELL, Artist, painter



"Writing our lived moments...the interconnectedness of all life..."


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


After a rewarding teaching career filled with awareness for our human condition, I turned and embraced my life long practice of painting. I am doing this with enormous commitment and many years of research to work with. Life has its way of calling out. Mine was the roar of an unstoppable dream.


I am inspired to paint the serene beauty our 'living ecosystems' provide. My paintings hold rhythmic energy of a potent moment with nature…cradled in transformation. In a world seeking care, I am painting at a time when technology, our culture and our physical world are changing at rapid speed. Sensing and absorbing ecosystems, my paintings examine the interconnectedness of all life. Everything we celebrate and suffer by being mindfully alive. 


I make paintings as a series and each one is like a small ceremony. The series is then posted to my website. With the depth of experiences life takes us through, this becomes another layer for making my art. Writing our lived moments...more likely a gathering of pooled thoughts.


SEASIDE Magazine |Your West Coast Culture | Cover: 2013 Women to Watch

March 2013 Issue, p.40

Feature Article: RECYCLED the garden

Feature Contributor: NANCYANNE COWELL, artist of ecoscapes 



"begin by titling...poetic quality guides how I respond"


"Writing this month’s article was special for me, as I painted a series of glass vases, living in the perennial garden. Being a lover of gardening, mixing shapes with perennials is a natural extension of my artistic thinking. Perhaps gardening is hope, in its purest form." 


Spring has flung open her door. The first daffodil  a landmark amongst the blue boxes brimming with glass, flattened tin and crumpled plastic.


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.


Just to see the vase standing there, hugging the rocks is to feel a squeeze of my heart. The twirled glass handles curling well above the elongated body, rise tall from four corners of glass feet, seemingly cemented. Like slippers aside a bed, the vase appears comfortable here. Stretching forward, I touched the blemish where once was a crack. The vase found its sense of place amongst the luscious leaves of my perennial garden. Claiming its spot. This led me to imagine a garden drunk with vases, criss-crossed with stone paths, secret, and scattered between the waking, then sleeping, perennials.


Over time, a collection of garden vases formed a curious community  each with its own personality. Some stand in honesty, both flaws and perfections offered as an open vessel. Others hold the innocence of freshly plucked sweet peas, purposely out of reach of the daily deer crossing. And when the garden looks tired, robust vases are stuffed with yellow long-stem silks, smiling like a Mona Lisa in disguise. It is a perpetual symphony of vitality!


The domesticity of the vases shimmering in the garden lured me to create a series of paintings, reflecting their not so little personalities. The rhythmic ease of the pulled paint was infectious, and making the series was like a lyrical ceremony. With vases swaying to "Tango Trance" and wiggling to "Salsa Spell", the nourishment of one's soul is well worth exhibiting to a wider public during the month of March.


y.a.m. magazine | YOU AND ME :: Living Smart

July/August 2011 edition

Feature Article: Custom Homes | Painting: Unveiling Your Voice, by Nancyanne Cowell