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

The process creates the meaning.

process creates the meaningMy paintings often reflect the internal debate I’m experiencing looking for the harmony between structure and freedom.

I had the opportunity to travel for a week a few summers ago on the Northern route of the Camino de Santiago in Spain, often called The Way. We averaged 24km a day, it was steep, muddy, it rained, our backpacks were way too heavy, our knees and ankles were swollen and there were times when all I could do was count my next steps.

The journey didn’t really make much sense. We could have hopped on a bus, train or plane to get to our destination. It took tremendous discipline at times to get on the trail at 7:00am, especially when it was raining and we were sore from the day before.

Would I do it again?

Absolutely. I hope to walk the entire journey – approximately 40 days.

It was beautiful.

The structure, the discipline allowed us to feel free. It allowed us to escape from our everyday lives, we forget the day and the date, we were free to really and truly slow down, unplug and feel the sweet simplicity of taking it one step at a time.

We quickly formed friendships with other peregrinos (pilgrims) from all over the world; young and old, speaking different languages and living lives so different from our own.

It was meaningful and real.

How did this experience influence my art?

I’m seeking some quiet space, some structure on the canvas – allowing me to tap into and express with spontaneity and freedom – letting the journey, the process create the meaning.