Nancyanne Cowell  
Fine Art Studio

MEMORIES, studio news





Such a very special honour to let you know that the painting 'Carbon Thoughts' has been acquired and accepted into the permanent 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 Dr. Ann Dale and the university, for the honour of acquiring my painting to celebrate the wonder of nature in the hearts of learners and educators for future generations.  

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, our climate 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.




(best artistic & technical accomplishment) 


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 delighted to announce that I was the recipient of the Juror's 2018 Design Choice Award for "best artwork that embodies an emphasis on both artistic and technical accomplishment; is advanced and displays originality."  The painting "Between Tomorrow" (oil-mixed media), will be showcased to promote the region's 33rd premier art event in 2019.  


The miracle of a birth in nature took hold of my heart and I felt that space and design had to profoundly influence this piece.  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 into our world. We affectionately call him Danny. 




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.



Edging Forward: Reconciliation  Reconnection  Regeneration

Recently my personal interest in Canada's changing landscape led to an ambitious four-year public and academic art project: Edging Forward with Dr. Ann Dale.  The community outreach project culminated in an extensive exhibition at The Gallery of Nature in Victoria, British Columbia.  Occupying two gallery rooms, this was the 2017 "Edging Forward" exhibit curated by Jaime Clifton-Ross,  B.A. (Hons.), MMSt, Research & Art CuratorThis contemporary and multi-disciplinary educational exhibit was a celebration of art, nature and the future of humanity in a more sustainable world.   Art and science were blended together to reconnect people to their own hearts and minds about the changing Canadian landscape and nature.  A wider more encompassing love was at the core.  The collaboration, explored our relationships to one another, to other species, and to our planet.  Each chapter theme of the Edging Forward book was featured — with writings by author Dr. Ann Dale and nine of my large-scale atmospheric ecoscape paintings, (the Edging Forward Art Collection). 




Fernweh Press published a beautiful exhibition catalogue of the writings and the atmospheric landscape paintings that were created for the Edging Forward Art Collection and exhibit at The Gallery of Nature (Bateman Foundation) in Victoria. To view, please click on the circle.







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 the intent of the artwork. 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).




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. 



Nancyanne's Carbon Thoughts painting was published on the front cover of Focus Magazine, September-October 2017 issue.  A maple seed falling through the canvas, sweeping the skies of Canada's Parliamentary Library and Peace Tower — knowledge and compassion.  




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






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. 








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."...]



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! 


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.







SEASIDE Magaine, 2013 Women to Watch, March 2013 Issue; RECYCLED VASES...IN THE GARDEN - Nancyanne Cowell, Artist.  This was an extract, [..."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. 




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 Resort Art Gallery, in the beautiful Garden Room with the river rock fireplace.  With gratitude, an article was also published in the SEASIDE magazine for this exhibit. The florals from this show are now sold out.