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.

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.