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.

I love stories like this one . . .

Most of my canvases are handmade.  They are created by a local craftsman who builds the frames with repurposed wood.  He uses a rough textured canvas for me then gessoes and sands them 3 times so they are ready to use.  I often leave bits of the canvas untouched in my final work because they have been so beautifully crafted.

My latest delivery of canvases came with a great story.

The canvases are often built with wood left over from local saw mills but this particular batch was made Beachcomber style.  A friend of the woodworker spotted a small cedar log on the beach and watched while a local guitar maker came to claim some of the wood.  Eager to see it used for canvas too, they both schemed about making use of the remaining portion.  However, high winds and stormy weather washed the log back to sea.  Our local craftsman then went on holidays, only to return weeks later and to his surprise find this particular log lying right in front of his home, on the beach.  Not wanting to lose the opportunity, he set to work and salvaged the wood.

Two days later, I connected with him for a request for 10 new canvases.  The cedar was cut and dried and made into a new series for me – with only a few scraps of wood left behind.

I feel pretty blessed.

Don’t you just love stories like that?  I’ve come to believe that these serendipitous moments are signposts that I’m on my path.





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.