"Using Middle America as her muse, Kowch draws the history of a particular place -- invariably rural -- to the surface as it collides with a new reality in layers of metaphor and moodiness. The faces of her women may remind you of characters in a Tim Burton film."
--Steve Parks, Newsday

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"No Trespassing"
30" x 24" Acrylic on canvas

This is another painting I recently completed, which deals with the issue of urban sprawl. What prompted me to do it was an article I read on how several rural communities are beginning to band together to fight for land preservation laws. The figure in this work serves as a symbol for those who are in the midst of this battle to keep land free from development. To symbolize this effectively, I settled on the notion of a scarecrow, who, like this being, stands its ground for the sake of protecting the natural treasures around it.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A Walk Among the Stars. . . The "Cinematic Couture" Exhibition at the Somerset Collection

This past September/October was time spent on an exciting project sponsored by the Somerset Collection, that put on public exhibit over 40 Hollywood costumes worn by such actors as Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Nicole Kidman, and many more. The costumes were on loan from Cosprop, the London-based company that is one of the leading costumiers for the film industry, specializing in period clothing. The exhibit was gorgeous, and it was an honor to work alongside my friends and peers, sketching these fantastic costumes onsite as the public toured the show over the course of a few weeks. The costumes were works of art in themselves, and it was amazing to actually see them in real life, up close and personal.

With the closing of the show this past October, we were asked to come up with a final piece of work involving the costumes. I ended up choosing the costume worn by Lara Flynn Boyle in the movie, Land of the Blind. I never saw the movie, nor have ever really watched her much as an actress, but this costume was to die for. My goal with this painting was to strictly focus on evoking the elegance of the gown, contrasting its soft, flowing quality with the hard, solid structural elements. I explored fusing some flat, graphic qualities with it as well. Just something to further evoke an ethereal, magical mood. You can visit Cosprop's website at http://www.cosprop.com/ to learn more about them and what they do. You'll be amazed!

(Also see some pics from the exhibition below!)

The painting is 30" x 24," acrylic on canvas

Detail no.2

The costumes. . . .

The long, trailing robe was worn by Kate Winslet in Finding Neverland.
The dress, worn by Emma Thompson in Sense & Sensibility, and the swashbuckler get-up worn by Orlando Bloom in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

Emmy Rossum's gorgeous pink gown from Phantom of the Opera.

Minnie Driver's role as Carlotta, in The Phantom of the Opera.

Amanda, Cara, and I at the opening held for the drawings done from the exhibition.

Nicole Kidman's dress from Portrait of a Lady, and Gwyneth Paltrow's dress from Emma. Also Johnny Depp's tux from Finding Neverland. . . .Ok, so I swooned a little upon seeing his :)

Heath Ledger and Sienna Miller's outfits from Casanova.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

"Losing Eden"
24" x 20" Acrylic on canvas

This recent piece was actually completed some weeks ago. I finally got around to shooting it digitally, so here it is. This painting is another in my series about ecology/environmental issues, and serves as a metaphor for what humans leave behind in pursuit of expansion. It symbolizes the repressed reality of what is, and the desire to just leave behind what's already destroyed and simply move on. Global warming is moving at an astonishingly scary rate, and yet I hear those who think having record high temperatures is "nice." Many still don't realize that we are beginning to lose the paradise that surrounds us each and every day - our eden - our earth. All hope rests in our hands, and it's up to us to make that hope a reality.

Detail no.2

Monday, November 12, 2007

Digital Montage

This is a digital montage I did in Photoshop using one of my recent paintings, "Blackbirds Are Gathering" (which you can view below in a previous post). To expand on my nature theme, I wanted to create something that fused texure with organic shapes, so I settled on some wood grain surfaces which I masked over the image, and then finished it off by digitally rendering the branches and leaves. I also searched far and wide for a poem about nature that would help illustrate the idea, and ended up settling on Oscar Wilde's "We Are Made One With What We Touch and See."

Monday, November 5, 2007

Native American Heritage Month

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, it's no wonder that November has been chosen as the month to celebrate American Indians. I don't have native blood in me, but I never cease to be fascinated by their culture. Just this past summer, I was up in Oscoda, MI, when a local told me and a few others I was with, about the annual Gagaguwon Powwow that was taking place that day. Naturally, we went to check it out, and all I can say is that it was truly an amazing experience. It was so interesting to witness the culture firsthand, and listening to their speeches was a humbling experience.

As a supporter of various causes that surround Native American life today, it's heart-wrenching to see the things those living on the reservations experience in their day-to-day lives. Most of them don't have access to the opportunities many others take for granted, like getting an education. Thanks to various non-profit organizations, such things are slowly becoming more possible, but there is still a long way to go. My respect for the endurance and strong spirit that runs through these people is deep. So, this month I hope all people can take a moment and pay tribute to the first Americans.