Hello, I’m a painting and this is my story . . .

“I began in the depths of Marlene’s mind, heart, and gut.  I began because I was inspired by something she saw, heard, or read.  Or perhaps something she felt, wrestled with, or was overcome by – joy or sorrow.”

 I often get asked how I begin?  Where did this painting or that one come from?

The stories behind the paintings are often difficult for me to articulate because I’m a painter and my “stories” are the paintings themselves.  However, I do have a passion for the written word so I’ll do my best to tell you the story of  “symbiotic.”

Once upon a time …

My whole being loves to hike in our forests.

I become immersed.

I have a deep respect for the complicated web of life, the co-dependency and connection that enables everything to live, interact, and nourish each other.

The old cedar stumps of the trees that were first logged in our area fascinate me.  They remind me that what I am seeing is all re-growth.  All the beauty that I’m experiencing is new.

You can often still see the notches cut in the stumps for the springboards that the loggers used as platforms to stand on while hand cutting these giants; honest and difficult work.  The stumps are charred black from fires that we have no memory of. They are rotten and have been burrowed into by animals and insects, leaving piles of soft cedar shavings on the ground like talus at the foot of a mountainside.

They are the remains of a different time.

Yet they nurture.  Often there are small trees growing on top, their roots draping down towards the earth, snake-like.  There are ferns and huckleberry bushes clinging to their sides.  They are covered in areas by thick green moss, fungi from “Wonderland” and patches of blue-green and white lichen.  They sustain minute forests when you examine them closely like a coral reef in the forest.

the process
How did I tell their story with paint?

I covered the white canvas with dark cedar reds.  I then began to build the story one brush stroke at a time.  I used the colours of our temperate rainforest, building layers of dark and light, like the seasons of growth and change.  I made thousands of marks. I continued to build and explore with colour, contrast and shape until I felt satisfied that my version of the story was complete.

My intention was to create something rich and beautiful, with depth and history because to me these discarded stumps are grand, still.

They are a symbol of our symbiotic relationship to this planet.  They remind me that we can transform and create something new, beautiful and sustainable.

They are hopeful.

The End.

by Marlene

"symbiotic" oil on canvas 36"x48"
930 Chamberlain Road Gibsons, B.C.

By Marlene Lowden

I'm an abstract artist and a down to earth yogi. I live on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, Canada.