Pablo Picasso said “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” This is a challenge that Lynden Cowan has clearly overcome.
Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia the self-taught visual artist started addressing her urge to paint at the tender age of eight.
“My father was a cabinet maker and I would scrounge leftover pieces of wood from around his saw table.” Lynden smiles. “My family didn’t have extra funds for luxuries like art paints so I made my own using vegetables and other items I could find. And my mother’s pots.”
“When I was ten years old two teachers came by at Christmastime with about $200 worth of real art supplies. My mother finally caved and said I could have them. I think she mostly wanted to get her pots back” she laughs.
The tenacious child had the benefit of assisting her grandmother with her Maritime cottages over the summer months. With her chores done by 9:00am the young artist was free to go traipsing through the forest and playing by the ocean. These experiences heavily influenced how she viewed her environment and are keenly expressed in her artwork.
At the age of 14 Lynden opened her own art school. “I had students come from as far away as Hamilton. I instructed children and adults separately in groups of a maximum of eight” she says. “My father would make all the easels I needed. To publicize it I would sponsor a lacrosse team and a hockey team.”
“Later on, in the summers I would take a few teens camping with me at Emily Lake Provincial Park. The emphasis would be on painting and drawing outside, in addition to camp activities.”
Lynden approaches every painting by building layers. “That way natural daylight picks up in the painting, establishing a mood, transferring the viewer to an environmental conscience” she explains.
“To have your art recognized, you need to be consistent in finding time to paint. I paint daily, or am out subject hunting. As well, I enter a lot of competitions. I find it gratifying to be selected time after time, by different juries, both here in Canada, and internationally” she admits with a smile.
Right now one of Lynden’s personal favourites, Tobermory, is on display at the 100 Kellogg Lane complex’s Art Comp event in London, ON. It is one of 100 artworks selected from hundreds of national and international artists. Visitors can vote for their favourite work of art.*
As part of the 150th Anniversary celebrations of the Ontario Society of Artists, Honourable Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdswell selected artworks for display at the Ontario Parliament Building. Images of the artwork would also appear in a booklet to give to all of her visitors. One of the paintings selected was Lynden’s piece Winter Solitude, a 24” x 30” oil on canvas painting of a scene on Shaws Creek Road in Caledon. The talented artist was also rewarded with an invitation to a reception at the Lieutenant Governor’s residence.
It is in Caledon as well that you will find Lynden’s studio. You can visit her at studio 202 in the Alton Mill Arts Centre at 1402 Queen Street West, Alton. She is primarily there on weekends but you can also connect via her website as well as Instagram. Lynden has also just joined PicturePathway.ca as a featured artist.
Lynden Cowan is an elected member of the Ontario Society of Artists, the Society of Canadian Artists, the Colour and Form Society, the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society of North America, the Allied Artists of America and is a Signature Member of Artists for Conservation, and the Federation of Canadian Artists.
*If you would like to view Tobermory at 100 Kellogg Lane the Art Comp exhibit is open until September 3rd. If you don’t have time to go in person Lynden says you can view the entire exhibition online, and vote if you wish, at https://artcomp.awardsplatform.com/