October :)


October has just appeared out of nowhere, and promises to be a hectic month.  I was away in Nova Scotia for five days the third week of September, and am really excited with the painting subjects I have collected from that trip, so now with the two Maritime trips , I have a lot of new work that will be coming.

October is McMichael month 🙂  Really happy that I was fortunate enough to be selected for this years special exhibit. It was the first year that I have tried it, but with different jurors each year, sometimes some really good artists do not get selected. There are only 50 spots to compete for, so for now I will enjoy that I am in this years group.

We were supposed to write a bit about ourselves and send it back to the organizers, but some artists sent it to everyone, guess so we would know all about them. Looking at the info, mine doesn’t really compare, because they are talking about how many years they studied art , what school award they received etc etc.  I never got to go to art school where everyone learns to paint something the same way. I am self taught, so what I could add was that as a child, I would make my own colours using berries, dandelions and the like and my mother’s pots. There was no extra budget for art supplies. When I was ten, my teacher Don McLean and two other teachers showed up at the door with two hundred dollars worth of paints, brushes, canvases and the like, which was a considerable sum back then. My mom hemmed and hawed and didn’t wish to accept the generous gift because she “did nae wish to be beholden”, but finally gave in and then told me I could no longer use her pots. I think she really just wanted her pots back.

Growing up, the day after school let out, I was shipped by plane to my grandmother’s home in Nova Scotia to help her with her cottages in the morning. By 9:30 the chores would be done, and my cousin and I ran wild the rest of the day, playing hide and go seek in the fog in the sand dunes, digging up clams for breakfast when the tide was out, swimming at the bear hole and seeking adventures in the woods. This helped shape my love of painting wild scenery and water subjects.

I also added that when I was 14, I was exhibiting at a special outdoors art show and the guest was A.Y.Jackson . The organizers were taking him up and down the rows so he could view everyone’s artwork, but when he got to mine, he said he liked my work, then sat down to discuss art with me for close to an hour, while the organizers kept checking their watches with a worried look. Alex and I became friends after that, and corresponded, and I would go and visit him in Kleinberg. I still treasure the autographed book he gave me of his life, and photos of us together, as well as an old Toronto Star clipping. He passed away in 1974.

We were also instructed to add something most people do not know about our work, so I added that anyone who knows my work, is aware that I always have something “alive”, in the painting, whether it be a butterfly or lady bug, or larger like a bird, duck or fox.

So I hope that information is useful to them, because despite having been well represented by various galleries across the country over the years, I have now decided to enjoy my studio in Alton Mill, that I share with two other wonderful artists, and again… I am self taught. Not a fancy person with multiple art courses behind me, just a painter. The closest I came to art school, was when different people at OCAD and a couple of other Universities decided to “study” me and how I work.

October 23rd is the gala at the McMichael Gallery, and it is open to the public so maybe I will see you there. The show continues on the 24th and 25th.

In the studio, there have been lots of visitors recently, but I especially enjoy the children when they come through. They politely look at the artwork, with their accompanying adult behind them hovering to remind them “Don’t touch”, but their reaction is wonderful to see, when I invite them to sit down at the easel, and show them how to do a couple of strokes on an actual painting. Have some budding artists coming in the area. 🙂



I still have a bit to complete on this new painting, but it is nearing the end. The trickiest , tedious part was doing the branches, with layer upon layer of tiny stokes using a triple zero brush.  The foreground trees, and shrubbery are done with a triple zero, or a two brush depending on which area has my attention. I have used sap green and cobalt turquoise to emphasize the detail , because the prussian colours would be too stark. All of the trees still have some work to be completed, and I hope people like the end result. The subject itself is found on the 15th sideroad, north of Palgrave, On.

Hope to see you in Alton Mill. 🙂




Now it’s September

Been quite awhile since I have updated the blog, but have been very busy. I’ve just returned a few days ago from the Bay of Fundy where I did the preliminaries for several paintings coming up.  One scene in particular keeps visualizing itself, but I will finish the work on the easel before I take it to canvas. It’s a wonderful scene from Seal Cove on Grand Manan Island…the tide was out, the fog and mist was in, beautiful scene, and I cannot wait.

I was one of the artists selected for the McMichael Gallery show for October, and I’m really excited about that.  To be selected for this prestigious event, they do a “Double Blind”, competition. They had about two hundred artists apply (my first time trying this), and each artist submits five images , which the McMichael gallery place on a slide presentation with the artwork in mixed up fashion, so there is no body of work together . Each artwork is given a number, so that there are no artists names, and because the artwork is all mixed up, each of the thirteen jurors are unable to tell who the artists are. They give points on each artwork for quality and other factors, then hand it all back to the committee at McMichael, who know who the artists are, and which artist did  the artwork, and they tabulate all the points and take the top thirty nine artists to fill the available exhibition spaces.

http://mcmichaelvolunteers.com/25th-annual-autumn-art-sale ( just cut and paste and you can see their web page with all the information)

I have finished the Cedar Creek painting and hung it for display in the studio in Alton Mill, and have progressed with the drawing for the firemen piece. As well, I’ve been putting in long hours painting, both at home and at the studio. The bog painting from the area down the road of Winsong Farm is really progressing, and this week I will update the painting process section  of the blog and try and explain how I have done the different parts. The Vancouver island piece is also progressing, so I will show that to.


A lot of work still needed , but you can see where the leaves in the background is coming, using a triple zero brush, with sap and cobalt green, cobalt turquoise, and prussian green. The swampy water is just started, and will be built up with thin glazes , and a number three water colour brush (very soft, so the water comes alive), and Liquin Fine Detail is used instead of Liquin Fine Gel.

Cedar Creek 

cedar creek large


On the easel, a small painting of a roadside bog scene (really like bogs) from Caledon has made its debut, and when it is further into the detail, I will show the process.

The Alton studio has had a lot of visitors recently, even during weekdays, and it’s great to see all of you. 🙂

On the Easel

Put in a lot of hours at the easel in the past few days. The small Caledon scene is progressing. Finished a second layer on the trees, and started blocking in where the front trees will be, using a mixture of prussian blue and alizarin crimson. Still a lot to do on the background trees, on the branches, but the definition is starting to appear. This is just a small canvas.




Two other canvases have also made their debut on the easel.

The first is a scene from the coast of British Columbia.


In the first photo, the drawing is done very loosely with charcoal, then covered with a mix of turpentine and a small amount of cereleun blue, so that I can wipe of the charcoal when dry, and not contaminate my colour.



When that is dry, I continue with the first wash, doing the sky with cereleun blue and titanium white, and using prussian blue and alizarin crimson for the other areas, to start to give depth.

The second canvas is a beautiful bog that I discovered when I  went to Winsong Farm recently.

Following the same methods, the drawing comes first.DSC_6887





The waterfall painting was finished, sent to the photographer, and now will be heading to Alton Mill to offer for sale this week. The official title of the painting is “Rattling Brook Falls”, since that is the real name of the Falls, and it is located on highway 93 north of Mount Carmel. Beautiful area, beautiful province 🙂


Rocks of Mount Carmel. by Lynden Cowan


“Hours” away from completion. Alton Mill is open Canada Day, July 1st, and I will be painting in my studio. Still a little to complete on the rocks, wildflowers to be placed, and the water with the foam to finish.Painting will be off to the photographer thursday… friday at the latest. Need to come up with a name. This scene is from highway 93, north of Mount Carmel in Newfoundland.”)









Hope you get a chance to visit the studio sometime , and the SOVA exhibition is continued in the Falls Gallery upstairs in Alton Mill until July 13 th. 🙂



The Cuisine Weekend at Alton Mill had several hundred people turn out , both on June 20 and the 21st. Met lots of wonderful people, but one sticks out in my mind. A little 8 year old young lady named Hanna came back several times to examine the waterfall piece in detail and discuss art. She seems to have the inborn ability to pick out minute changes in colour, and she loves to draw, so maybe in the future, we will see more of Hanna. 🙂 The Caledon Citizen newspaper came and took several photos of the Cuisine Art event, and one of the photos they printed was of me working in the studio.


lyndenv2 They had the  “Paint off” competition and other photos as well. 🙂

http://caledoncitizen.com/?p=13444  (I believe you need to cut and paste this link)


The waterfall piece is progressing very rapidly now, with most of the work completed.  The side tree branches have been done in layers, adding Rose Madder, Cobalt Turquoise , french ultramarine to the Davey’s grey.


DSC_6866 Changing 🙂   DSC_6868                                                                                                                                            More changes 🙂





You can see the over lays of little bits of colour which makes the branches “come alive”. Hopefully , everything will be complete in a few short days. 🙂

Busy Time

Had a wonderful time at the Winsong Farm, exhibiting a few pieces. Despite the rain, we were protected in the large barn, and people seemed to like the artwork. Leaving the Farm, on the way home , I came across two beautiful subjects, so got out of the van and did the necessary documentation so I can take them to canvas. Need to finish the waterfall piece first, but excited to look forward to the next subject.DSC_6759Many thanks to Winnie and Bill Stott for inviting us.


The Southern Ontario Visual Artists (SOVA) , just set up a great exhibition in the Falls Gallery at Alton Mill Arts Centre, and it continues until July 13th. On the weekend of June 20 and 21, many of the artists will be in attendance, because it is also the Cuisine Art Festival at Alton Mill. This is one of the major festivals for Alton, during the year, and there is usually a very large number of people who come. The studio artists will all be in their studios, there are several chefs there, and different demos and of course , different wine and ciders to taste test.


As for the waterfall painting, I am closing in on the details, and the painting is changing for the viewer.

You can see where the trees that will show along the left side have been blocked inDSC_6860




The rocks to the right of the painting are developing, and the rocks peeking through where the water will be , are almost complete, and I will start painting the water, using thin glazes.


The over all appearance is changing, and I am hoping to complete this piece within a few days.

Hope you will get a chance to visit the studio I share with two other wonderful artists…Charlene Nickels, and Robert Chisholm. 🙂


Been working long hours at the Waterfall painting. It has “turned” to the final stages (which can still take another couple of weeks), but it is at the exciting stage for me. A lot of parts are now closing, or becoming finished, so the personality of this piece is really starting to show. Still quite a bit of work with the tiny triple zero brushes, so that the small bits of different pigment makes the painting come alive. Have to finish the rocks in the water, before I can get to the water itself, which will be done with thin glazes. The other rocks are almost complete, but what you don’t see, are the branches and small wildflowers that will emerge on the left side of the canvas. I see them, because I am visualizing the finished painting, but I need to accomplish more on the canvas , before you will see them as well. This is not the entire painting, just a closer view of the rocks. 🙂DSC_6736

Horses, Canvases, and Exhibitions

Been awhile since I last sat down to blog. Life has been really busy with painting, but I have also just returned from a wonderful family vacation 🙂 The Pan Am games are coming up, and the Alton Mill artists (me included), had the pleasure of painting a horse. Remember when the Moose were painted in Toronto and sold ? This is along the same lines.DSC_6382 Teams of artists came from many different studios, and a few of the horses were done by individual establishments. Our horse was called “Alton the Handsome”, and was initially painted all black, with one of the Alton Mill artists painting her hand white , multiple times to make a “canvas” for the other artists to paint on. We each did two “hands”.laying of hands DSC_6383 I did two scenes, electing to stick to landscapes. DSC_6390DSC_6391DSC_6411   The horses will be placed in several different locations, so get your cameras out.horse locations   horsing around GROUP FINAL The artists involved have been invited by Winnie and Bill Stott of Winsong Farm , to show their own artwork at a special social event there on June 14th, and I’m really looking forward to attending. 🙂 June 20th and 21st is the Seventh Annual Cuisine art festival at Alton Mill. I will be painting in Studio 202 and hope you plan to come out to this popular event.   CuisineArt Card   The waterfall painting is advancing, and some parts of the canvas are nearing completion. The rocks still have a ways to go, but the actual waterfall areas have started to be blocked in. My usual pattern is to paint several hours a day during the daylight hours, since there are very slight changes in the shades of the colour of the rocks, and these would be distorted if I used artificial light. DSC_6371 There is also a smaller 11by 14 inch scene from Caledon under way. I have put the sky in, and some of the clouds, blocked in the trees that run along the creek, and now the piece is starting to develop it’s “personality”. Shadows under the creek banks are started with prussian blue mixed with alizarin crimson, so there is enough depth to build on. DSC_6725  June 16th to July 13th, the Southern Ontario Visual Artists , or SOVA , that I belong to, will be having an exciting new show of artwork, in the Falls Gallery at the Historic Alton Mill Art Centre.  The Falls Gallery is upstairs, and the theme is “Solace to the Soul//A Walk in the Woods”, with all members participating. Hope everyone gets a chance to drop by and enjoy the exhibition. 🙂

Rocks !!!

Happy to report that the waterfall painting is starting to show it’s personality, though it’s been hours of painting on the rocks. Still a lot to go , but you can now see where it is heading. The “pinkish” colour of the rocks is done with a blend of titanium white, cadmium orange and flesh tint. That is applied first, then a mix of payne’s grey with magenta, and thinned to the max with Liquin Fine Detail. Tedious, but effective 🙂

I will be participating with other artists from Alton Mill, painting a horse……not a painting of a horse, but actually painting on a horse. They have large manufactured horses, that will be finished , then auctioned off for the Pan Am games. These are done in the same manner as the moose mania that everyone loved, painted, and displayed a few years back. Should be a lot of fun.

A  lot of people have signed up to get regular updates from me, but the truth is, I am really technically challenged so will have to go back to watch the you tube videos again and figure out how to to use Mail Chimp.

Pleased to have the proper photography done on Mr. McGregor’s  House , and yes, I will have prints. This is a small painting, and will be displayed in the studio at Alton Mill while it waits for it’s “forever home”.Mr. McGregor’s House was an ice cream parlour in Kleinberg, on the main street, but has since been repurposed.

mcgregors house small

I try and get up to the Mill studio once or twice a week, so hope you will drop by and visit. 🙂



Been busy, frequently up to the studio in Alton Mill, but also painting daily at home. One of my paintings is in an exhibition at the Neilson Park Creative Centre in Etobicoke, with fellow members of the Southern Ontario Visual Artists . The exhibition runs from March 30th to April 19th for those wishing to go.

Was pleased to be accepted as a member of the Colour and Form Society, so I hope to complete work to exhibit with them, as well as Artworks Oakville. (Need a forty hour day).



Had the formal photography done of the window painting, which is 16″ by 20″, and decided to title this work as “PaneFul Memories”……a bit of a play on words.You can see the colour better in this image, and the painting is now up in the studio in Alton Mill , offered for sale.

There are two smaller works coming along, the MacGregor Ice Cream Parlour, and a small creek scene, but most of my time is consumed by the Waterfall painting, of the scene from Newfoundland. Will have to try and find the name of the location that I visited, so that it can have a proper name, but for now will refer to it as the waterfall piece.


Here you can see that the rocks are starting to change, and the trees are developing. I’m happy with how the trees are coming along, but still a lot of work to be done.


On the left hand part of the painting, the trees are really just started , because there are trees that need to be developed on top of the ones that you can see right now. That’s why the tree trunks are not becoming as pronounced as on the right side.



This is just a better view of the detail starting to come in on the rocks. It’s a slow process, but the triple zero brushes that I use for detail work, gives me an effect that I ‘m satisfied with.

I’ll keep bringing it up to the Alton Mill studio to work on, so people can see it in person and hopefully enjoy the painting.

See you there 🙂


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