Thrive Talk by Marlene Lowden – My personal artist story

Meet my teachers and hear my very personal story on becoming an artist.

This is an audio recording (with slides) of my talk for Thrive on March 29th, 2017.

Public speaking is pretty scary and sharing your personal story adds another layer of vulnerability. I want to thank the Thrive network for the invitation to speak because I learned so much about myself in the process.  It was an incredibly supportive audience and I recommend that you take a peek at their blog to hear more stories from that night.

I hope that there are bits of what I share that help you reflect on your story and discover the beauty even in the dark and seemingly insignificant parts.

 

 

 

Thrive is a network for female and femme-identified artists based out of Vancouver but has members from around the globe.

 

To stay connected visit me on Instagram – marlenelowden and sign up for my monthly newsletter.

 


 

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

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.

Namaste

Marlene

 

 

 

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.

Namaste,

Marlene

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

#makeithappen

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.