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.

Namaste,

Marlene

 

A few pieces from the series:

 

I’m thankful for me (my inside me that is)!

I know that sounds kind of pompous so I’ll explain.

Up until a few years ago my most predominant self-talk was judgmental and pretty cruel.  I could hold space for everyone else.  I could find love and compassion for everyone else’s imperfections but not my own.

The voice inside my head that spoke to me was a real bitch.  She constantly reminded me that I was not good enough, that I didn’t measure up and that I should remain silent.

I’ve silenced her (for the most part) with kindness.

I realized that she hollered loud and clear because she was terrified.  She was scared that I’d get judged in the real world, scared that I would get rejected and deep down she was probably terrified of not being loved.

It has been a slow journey but through self-care, acceptance and stillness, I’ve started hearing other voices.  They are subtle and feel more like a chorus.  They often don’t even use words.  I can sense that they are speaking to me when my heart swells, when I soften a little and when I get a gut feeling.

The big loud obnoxious NO’s are being replaced with delightful openings and soft yeses or ah-ha moments.

So yes, I’m thankful for me.  I’m so glad that I take the time to tune in through meditation, walks in the woods, through art making and journaling.  I’m grateful for taking time to care for my body, my spirit and my being.

One of the greatest gifts from learning to listen is that my outer world has become a mirror, a reflection of my inner world.  I am so blessed in so many ways.  It is not to say that I don’t feel or experience negativity but I have tools to help ride through it.  I have my inner choir that chants and sings and lifts me back up.  And you know, I’ve learned to welcome the bitch into the choir.  She is kind of loud and sometimes sings off key but I think secretly, she’s happy to be accepted.

 

Take sweet care of yourself.  Remember to take a moment to thank yourself because all that lay out in front of you are a reflection of your inner cheer team!  Send love and compassion to your meany voice, she or he is there for a reason.  And in the meantime, it’s fun to imagine how life will unfold if we take a little more time to listen to the choir within.

Namaste,

Marlene

 

 

My inner world on canvas:

“Grace & Courage” 54″ x 80″ oil on canvas by Marlene Lowden

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.
Namaste
Marlene

10 surprisingly easy ways to enjoy a stress-free holidays.

Be playful and exercise your creativity!  Why?  Read on to learn how creative play can banish stress and make your holidays a whole lot happier!

  1. Write a love letter – to your grandmother, your partner, your child – send it old school (in the mail) as a holiday card or even in an email with holiday greetings.  Tell them why you love them, thank them for being there for you – this will make you feel amazing and them too – studies show that writing letters of gratitude increases happiness!
  2. Sing – in the shower, in the car, let it rip, crank the tunes, plan a little carolling – come on you know you love them – singing is energizing, healing and a stress reducer and did you know that singing actually releases pain relieving endorphins.
  3. Make stuff – use your hands.  Hang out with kids and build some Lego spacecrafts – show them how it was done – before there were kits & instruction booklets, or get outside and build a snowman or a fort.  Research shows that using your hands to make things (especially playful, non “productive” stuff) helps decrease stress, relieves anxiety and depression.  Yippee!
  4. Read – reach for some feel good reads.  And try, READING OUT LOUD – even adults love to hear a story read to them. Infuse your voice in those holiday favourites for the family or try curling up with something saucy & that special someone (Santa-baby!)  Along with the countless benefits of reading – reading out loud creates stronger bonds between you and your loved ones.
  5. Doodle – it’s o.k. – science backs it up – doodling is actually good for you.  It can stimulate creative thinking, whole-brain thinking and help build a variety of pathways for problem solving.  Maybe you can turn your funky designs into some wrapping paper or a holiday card.  Here’s a great TED Talk on the subject featuring doodling guru Sunni Brown. (I was so inspired writing this article – I made “colouring pages” for you!)
  6. Let’s Dance!  Dancing, yoga, and Nia are a wonderful outlets for your creativity!  We know that moving our bodies improves our physical health but research is pointing to further health benefits, such as stress reduction and increased serotonin level, which equals a greater sense of well-being. Sign up for some classes as a gift for yourself and/or a loved one, go out on a dancing date or two this season and blast the tunes in the living room with the whole family!  If you are on the Sunshine Coast, I offer yoga classes and my dear friend, Jan Jensen is a superb Nia instructor!  See you on the dance floor!
  7. Take that hard to buy for someone out on an Art-Inspired Date!  Stressed about finding the perfect thing?  Switch it up and make a date to spend time with a loved one instead – tour local galleries or artist studios add coffee/tea & a treat – wah lah the perfect gift!  Viewing artwork is inspiring, creates interesting dialogue and helps you stay in the present moment – a sweet reprieve.  If you are on the Sunshine Coast, you can visit the Gibsons Public Art Gallery, the Sunshine Coast Art Centre or look up studios on the Purple Banner Tour (membership to public galleries also makes a thoughtful gift).
  8. Colour – Yup.  Science says “The relaxation that it provides lowers the activity of the amygdala, a basic part of our brain involved in controlling emotion that is affected by stress.” Colouring books for big people are a fad that is here to stay!  I’ve turned some of my doodles into a coloring book – treat yourself to a box of crayons and relaaax!
  9. colouringphoto_18Plan an Arts & Crafts session – this is a fun way to play with friends and family – create 2015 Vision Boards using magazine images & collage or make a collaborative canvas, everyone adds to the masterpiece.  Spending time together playing is an invaluable gift to give.  A little intimidated?  I offer workshops  – gift yourself and friend – come play.
  10. Eat really dark chocolate – this has nothing to do with creativity but I read that really dark chocolate has all sorts of health benefits and that it can reduce your stress hormones – enjoy! – p.s.  A favourite chocolatier of mine.

Wishing you a playful, joyous, happy and relaxing holiday season!

What do you do to destress?  How do you play over the holidays?  Please share to inspire the rest of us!

My Sources (some really interesting stuff!)

Books:

Steal Like an Artist – Austin Kleon

Creative Confidence – David Kelley & Tom Kelley

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain – Betty Edwards

The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron

Articles:

“The health benefits of love letters and kindness” – Victoria Batacan

“Life-Affirming Benefits of Singing – Vocalizing Promotes Well Being” – Patty Mills

The Creativity Cure, A do-it-yourself prescription for happiness” – Carrie Barron, M.D.

“Coloring Isn’t Just For Kids. It Can Actually Help Adults Combat Stress” – The Huffington Post | By Elena Santos

“Use It or Lose It: Dancing Makes You Smarter” – Richard Powers

TED Talks:

Doodlers, Unite! – Sunni Brown

How to Build Your Creative Confidence – David Kelley – founder IDEO & d.school Stanford University