Canadian artist Lynden Cowan’s oil paintings of rural landscapes and buildings invite you to step right into the image. Visit her website to see more of her artwork.
Each year, once school was released for the summer, I was sent by plane to my maternal grandmother’s house in rural Nova Scotia. My cousin and I would help her every morning with her cottages. By nine, we had finished our chores, and were turned loose.
We would play hide and go seek in the rolling fog and sand dunes, dig clams for lunch, and pick up seashells when the tide was out. We also crawled deep into the blackberry briar where we had a secret lair, or traipsed through the woods.
My father was a carpenter, and household finances were always tight, so I was never part of the “in crowd.” As a result, I grew up within a very tiny network of friends.
With a need to find solitary amusements, my artistic ability began to blossom. I would use scraps of wood that my father had as canvases and make my own “paints” from dandelions, various berries and vegetables, the odd bit of greenery and my mother’s pots.
This background translated and shaped my artwork.
When I was ten, my teacher came at Christmas time accompanied by two other school officials. They brought me two hundred dollars worth (a huge sum back then) of oil paints, canvases, brushes and other art materials. My mom hemmed and hawed for about forty-five minutes “because you cannae be beholden,” before she caved and allowed me to keep the gifts. In the same breath, she turned to me and told me not to use her pots anymore. I really think she just wanted her pots back.
This is where my love of oil painting began. With no formal lessons or preconceived ideas of how one should paint, my style has evolved into high detail.
Working from an initial dark background of Prussian blue, Alizarin crimson and lamp black, I develop my painting by building up a glaze effect, so that colours seep through to the next layer. I favour triple zero brushes that are marked for watercolour usage, as they are soft and lend themselves better to thin, multiple layers of paint.
On my website I explain each stage of whatever subject I am involved with. When the public visits my studio in the Alton Mill Arts Centre, I spend time answering their questions about how I create my work. Hopefully people will enjoy my artwork as much as I enjoy painting.
Artist Lynden Cowan invites you to follow her on Facebook.
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