Painting with an audience is like stepping up to the plate – all eyes are on your every move!

opusandlibreteaPainting with an audience is like stepping up to the plate – all eyes are on your every move!

It is exhilarating, challenging
AND very vulnerable!

I’m so thankful to the staff of the North Vancouver Opus who welcomed me and helped me set up the demos that I hosted in the store.
Waiting with my tea in hand and what seemed like a very BIG blank canvas was probably the hardest part.





demo at opus
This is the 2nd painting that I started that day.

I have been practicing the art of letting go of outcome and since that was my major message for the attendees, behind the guise of a mark making demo, I took a few calming breaths and did my best to practice what I preach!

The fabulous dialogue and support of the people in room helped me put my worries aside and in no time, it felt like everyone at the demo was painting along with me!  They stepped on the field and we were in this game together!
I ended up with 2 canvases at the end of the day that I wanted to finish and share with everyone who came to witness the start.

Here’s a little play by play while I worked on the demo canvas from the morning session.


Running commentary of a painting in process:


To give you a little back story.  I demonstrated a whole series of mark making ideas with red, orange and pink acrylic paints.  I dried the paint with a hairdryer then used white and black oil based markers on the canvas. I then spent the 2nd part of the demo working in oil (my preferred medium), using complimentary blues.

This is how it looked at the end of the demo.  We all played with the orientation but when I got home I flipped it around again and blocked out some areas.




IMG_5153 IMG_5152These are a couple of sweet little details – we used some matte boards in the demo to find pleasing compositions.  It helps me to take close up photos or use the matte boards, especially when things start to get a bit chaotic, so that I can see some of the beautiful details.




I started to soften the piece with whites, creams and light blues to see if I could calm some of the chaos and allow some resting space for the eye.  This ended up being the final orientation but I flipped it around quite a bit while I worked on it.





It got too washed out at one point so I went back in with a dark marker and made very distinct shapes, then I filled them in with soft pinks & creams. The shapes seemed to float on top of the underpainting.






I knew that I needed to integrate the new shapes so I used a white oil based marker, oil pastel and white paint to blend and link the underpainting and the shapes together.   I also felt like I needed more colour so I added the gold bits.  I wanted to pull from the original warm acrylic underpainting that was orange, red and pink!


I’m happy with how it all turned out.  A friend of mine on instagram helped me name it, “Weaving the Tapestry.”  The title feels right to me because I really felt supported by the people in the room. They changed from spectators to team mates.  I like how the multiple layers have woven together to represent the many ‘hands’ involved in the process.

The afternoon session painting is not complete yet.  I’ve been posting work in progress on instagram if you are curious.

And if you are looking to dive deeper into process – take a look at some of the retreats that I’m offering.

Regardless of whether you were at the demo or not, I want to thank you for your encouragement, for being part of the whole story and for being on my team!



p.s. This link will take you to the demo/workshop page at Opus – there are some fabulous opportunities coming up!

Unity in Diversity Artist Statement via video!


This is my artist’s statement about my new series of oil paintings called the Unity in Diversity series.  Less than a minute and perhaps, my more serious philosophical side.



If you’d rather read than watch – here’s a slightly longer version:

Unity in Diversity

It comes from the shadow and the light.

It comes through the torment of Orlando, Istanbul and Nice.

It comes from my inner dialogue about gender, race, religion and power.

And out of the magic and memories of our retreat in Spain.
It is from the jaw dropping beauty of the Rocky Mountains and the experience of hiking in alpine flower meadows. And inspired by the music of Peter Gabriel and Sting on stage together.

It even comes from an encounter with a Grizzly bear.

It is from the pure beauty of colour, a celebration of rainbows and the joy of creating from a place within – that I feel so blessed to access.

It is about letting go of the idea that unity is somehow perfect, that it is circular and smooth.

It is about acknowledging the contradictions of your wants, words and actions.

It is rocking a pinstripe suit and a tattoo.

It is about recognizing that conflict and difference need to exist – they are the seeds of innovation and creativity.

And that being Whole doesn’t mean you’ve got it all together.

Unity is messy and dynamic and it is ok if pieces stick out and bits hang out on the edge.

This is the celebration of unity in diversity within our own nature,
in our relationships, in our communities and in our shared humanity.




A few pieces from the series:


Have you ever experienced a win before you stepped on the field?

Spain 2016 - Art & Yoga RetreatThat’s how I was feeling before I boarded the plane to Spain last May.

I was in Spain when I sent this note out, hosting our first Open Your Art Retreat with Marleen Vermeulen.

I learned so much preparing for the adventure and I developed what I know will be life long friendships. To practice the art portion of our retreat, I asked my Dad, my cousins and a family friend to be my guinea pigs for a few months. After Marleen and I would create an art exercise or come up with an idea, I would test it out with all of them. We worked together almost weekly and it was invaluable. Not only did I learn so much but I got to spend precious time with them. I just loved sitting back and watching them create, play, help each other and it was wonderful to see them relax and unwind for a few hours with me.

Both Marleen and I also witnessed changes in some of the participants as they too prepared to take themselves away from their daily lives and give themselves the gift of two weeks of creative exploration. It almost seemed like the intention of the retreat started to begin to work its magic the day they signed up.  They were experiencing the same phenomenon that Marleen and I were feeling, we set something in motion, something positive, something wondrous and something life-changing.

We were just so thrilled to be offering this experience and honoured that all these wonderful people decided to join us during our first year.

That whole adventure is yet another reminder that the win comes from just playing the game, the win is in the process.



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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.