What do you dream of?

I’ll tell you that I’ve dreamt about being a painter for as long as I can remember. I didn’t believe that I ever would be for almost as equally long.

Thankfully something shifted.

I can’t remember the circumstances. You would think it would have been a dramatic epiphany, but no.

It could have been one of those tragic news stories we hear almost daily, an accident, a loss. It could have been a whispered story, a diagnosis, grief. If could have been words in a book, a poem, maybe even a quote on coffee cup.

The source is irrelevant but the message was clear.

Do I have any regrets?

In this moment, at this time, if I were the subject of the news story, if I received the diagnosis, or due to loss or grief wrote the story in the book – did I have any unfulfilled dreams? Were their holes in my life, a void, or a yearning that I was ignoring?

I felt confident that I had given my girls a loving foundation that they could build on. I was blessed to have met the love of my life and be in a supportive and tender relationship. I had traveled to wonderful places. I felt secure in the knowledge that I was loved and that I had served.

I could honestly answer that only one thing remained – that at that point in time, I had not given myself enough time to explore with paint.

Simple I know and maybe to some trivial but to me, my heart’s calling.

I can’t tell you how amazing it feels now to know that even though I dream and plan and desire to continue to love, serve, and explore life – I am content.

I have honoured that dream of mine.

It hasn’t been easy. I’ve had to make choices but I return to that shift, that feeling as a filter for my decisions.

lcglogoOne of my closest friends, (since we were 18), took the leap this past year to fulfill her dream. She purchased a gift gallery in her hometown, supporting Canadian artists and artisans, serving those looking for unique and hand crafted work. I watch her working her magic in her window fronts, with her displays and her impeccable customer service.

windowpaintingI’m so proud of her. I’ll never forget the nightmare that perhaps created her shift and I am so blessed that she is in my life.

This past weekend, our dreams merged. I am her feature artist for the month with my paintings hanging in her gallery. I had the privilege of spending the day in Maple Ridge painting at the Little Cricket Gift Gallery immersed in her dream and sharing mine with those who walked in the door.

Maybe our story will serve you today.

Dream big and take a step towards it, we applaud you.






I’ve had this torrid love affair with painting.

In the early years, we broke up — several times, followed by intensely passionate make up sessions.

It was guilt that held me back.

Guilt that I should be doing something else and that my love was a waste of productive time.

I should be working at something that paid an hourly wage. I should be spending more time with my children, my husband, my parents and my friends. I should be cleaning my house, folding the laundry, pulling weeds and answering every email in my inbox.

However, I knew that my love fuelled me in ways that I could not articulate. That time with paint, canvas, brush and colour is my path to understanding myself — deeply.

Painting has made me a better mother, wife, daughter and friend. I’ve learned that dust, weeds and full inboxes are the signposts for an interesting life — not laziness.

My love has matured. It has not been an easy journey but we’ve abandoned the drama and embraced the “c” word — commitment.

Yes, it still has its sexy moments but I purposely plan and create space in my life to paint. I block the time in my day and my week when I know I be able to give it my full attention and my most precious energy.

Creativity as a wild, un-tethered, alcoholic, chain smoking lover is a myth.

My love needs me to plan our encounters and to stay steadfast. It asks for deep respect because it is my calling to my true self.



hold true 48" x 36" oil on canvas by Marlene Lowden
hold true 48″ x 36″ oil on canvas by Marlene Lowden


This painting was created in response to a Facebook challenge – Artists Against Violence.  It took several short intense sessions as I had to be patient to let the layers dry.  I’m grateful to Nadina Tandy who shares the same studio space with me – for encouraging me to pause, step back when I reached this point.  I’m really happy with the result but I could have easily pushed past it.

In honour of International Women’s Day – I will donate 50% of the sale of this painting to Women Against Violence Against Women.

To view this painting or to visit my gallery, please contact me.

Red intimidated me.

Red is such a powerful colour.  I know it might sound silly to be scared by a colour but it is so bold. For several years, I only used it as an accent, until my cousin sent me a vibrant photograph of a dahlia in his garden.  The flower was red, deep magenta, and hot pink with a lime green centre and it was backlit by aquamarine blue.  I was captivated.  His message – “here’s colour for you!”

Could I paint like that?  Could I move away from my comfort zone of my beloved soft greys, greens & blues?

Taking a risk is exhilarating!  I started work on a 5′ x 5′ canvas!  How energizing it! Research says that red stirs up passion, indeed! – (I’ve written more about the meaning of red here).

I created this painting called “magenta & the light” and I’m ever thankful to the inspiration that my cousin provided me because now I love painting with red and magenta and pink – bring on the energy!

magenta & the light - 60" x 60" - $3290- oil on canvas by Marlene Lowden (framed)
magenta & the light – 60″ x 60″ – $5000- oil on canvas by Marlene Lowden (framed)


Have a lovely day, hoping that you find inspiration today to take a risk – maybe being surrounded by red on Valentine’s Day will be the catalyst 🙂




FYI – Did you know that red can stimulate your appetite?  Chocolate anyone?  My local favourite – La Petite Souris – yum!  And if desire more artwork – take a peek here.



I get high will a little help from my …. social media friends.

The Beatles came to mind because I’m feeling very high on happy right now.

hold true 48" x 36" oil on canvas by Marlene Lowden
hold true 48″ x 36″ oil on canvas by Marlene Lowden – Created in response to a Facebook challenge – Artists Against Violence

Why?  I’ve participated in a number of social media “challenges” over the past few months.  I’ve created art daily on Instagram, posted artwork on Facebook, practiced yoga every day and right now, I’m involved in a self-care “event” on Instagram.

Being accountable to others, especially people I don’t know well, has contributed to more frequent art making, a celebration of my achievements, dedication to projects that seemed unachievable at the onset and a deeper commitment to self care and yoga.
You can probably understand why I’m feeling so great.
If you are a little overwhelmed, reach out to your networks and try a virtual event or challenge.  I know it seems counterintuitive to add one more thing to your task list but a daily focus on something you care deeply about equals contentment.
Even spending a brief period of time honouring your passion, your health & wellbeing will give you tremendous momentum and accountability holds the key.
“Very few people are able to stay aligned and engaged without others in their life to help fuel their passions.”
Todd Henry from "Die Empty, Unleash Your Best Work Every Day"
Thank-you dear Facebook and Instagram friends & followers – you may never know the positive impact of your actions but keep them coming, they are much appreciated.