Painting with an audience is like stepping up to the plate – all eyes are on your every move!

mark making at Opus

opusandlibreteaPainting with an audience is like stepping up to the plate – all eyes are on your every move!

It is exhilarating, challenging
AND very vulnerable!

I’m so thankful to the staff of the North Vancouver Opus who welcomed me and helped me set up the demos that I hosted in the store.
Waiting with my tea in hand and what seemed like a very BIG blank canvas was probably the hardest part.





demo at opus
This is the 2nd painting that I started that day.

I have been practicing the art of letting go of outcome and since that was my major message for the attendees, behind the guise of a mark making demo, I took a few calming breaths and did my best to practice what I preach!

The fabulous dialogue and support of the people in room helped me put my worries aside and in no time, it felt like everyone at the demo was painting along with me!  They stepped on the field and we were in this game together!
I ended up with 2 canvases at the end of the day that I wanted to finish and share with everyone who came to witness the start.

Here’s a little play by play while I worked on the demo canvas from the morning session.


Running commentary of a painting in process:


To give you a little back story.  I demonstrated a whole series of mark making ideas with red, orange and pink acrylic paints.  I dried the paint with a hairdryer then used white and black oil based markers on the canvas. I then spent the 2nd part of the demo working in oil (my preferred medium), using complimentary blues.

This is how it looked at the end of the demo.  We all played with the orientation but when I got home I flipped it around again and blocked out some areas.




IMG_5153 IMG_5152These are a couple of sweet little details – we used some matte boards in the demo to find pleasing compositions.  It helps me to take close up photos or use the matte boards, especially when things start to get a bit chaotic, so that I can see some of the beautiful details.




I started to soften the piece with whites, creams and light blues to see if I could calm some of the chaos and allow some resting space for the eye.  This ended up being the final orientation but I flipped it around quite a bit while I worked on it.





It got too washed out at one point so I went back in with a dark marker and made very distinct shapes, then I filled them in with soft pinks & creams. The shapes seemed to float on top of the underpainting.






I knew that I needed to integrate the new shapes so I used a white oil based marker, oil pastel and white paint to blend and link the underpainting and the shapes together.   I also felt like I needed more colour so I added the gold bits.  I wanted to pull from the original warm acrylic underpainting that was orange, red and pink!


I’m happy with how it all turned out.  A friend of mine on instagram helped me name it, “Weaving the Tapestry.”  The title feels right to me because I really felt supported by the people in the room. They changed from spectators to team mates.  I like how the multiple layers have woven together to represent the many ‘hands’ involved in the process.

The afternoon session painting is not complete yet.  I’ve been posting work in progress on instagram if you are curious.

And if you are looking to dive deeper into process – take a look at some of the retreats that I’m offering.

Regardless of whether you were at the demo or not, I want to thank you for your encouragement, for being part of the whole story and for being on my team!



p.s. This link will take you to the demo/workshop page at Opus – there are some fabulous opportunities coming up!

By Marlene Lowden

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