"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

Sunday, May 18, 2008

CCS Exhibition: Fun, Friends, and ART!

The College for Creative Studies' 2008 Exhibition Opening took place Friday, and a great time was had by all! The Opening Reception and Sale is always a big event here in Detroit, with more art on display than most can get through in one night. I had the honor and privilege of meeting my wonderful collectors, and want to give a HUGE "Thank You" to all who came out and supported us this year!

Friend and fellow illustrator, Heather Miller and I enjoying the show.

The guys that help make it all happen . . .Don Kilpatrick and Dave Chow, illustrators at the top of their game, and two people whom I'm lucky to call my lifelong mentors and friends. These guys are the backbone and driving force of the CCS Illustration department, always putting in countless hours and energy day and night into teaching, aside from running their own busy lives as professionals. You guys absolutely ROCK!
Fellow illustrators Diana Skylacos, Nick Scarlet, Scott Daly, and I at the show.
Friend and fellow illustrator Sherrie Savage and I taking a minute from all the fun. Hats off to all of us involved for a great show!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

CMYK article featured on ArtBistro

There's a recent article on ArtBistro.com about the current CMYK #40 issue that's out, with my Blackbirds Are Gathering painting featured in it. You can read the article and see it all here!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Big Update. . .

Wow, has it ever been a busy last few weeks! One more action-packed week ahead of me as I prepare for the College for Creative Studies' big Spring Exhibition (opening this Friday!), and then I'll be looking forward to some much needed relaxation - for a little while (then I'll be back at the easel like a madwoman!) Nonetheless, I'm loving every minute of it :-) Below are a few projects I've recently completed:

This is another bookcover I did. This time for John Steinbeck's To a God Unknown, a favorite of mine. A story rich in symbolism and mood, there was a lot of imagery to work with:

Ancient pagan beliefs, the great Greek epics, and the Bible all inform this extraordinary novel, which occupied Steinbeck for more than five difficult years. While fulfilling his dead father's dream of creating a prosperous farm in California, Joseph Wayne comes to believe that a magnificent tree on the farm embodies his father's spirit. His brothers and their families share in Joseph's prosperity, and the farm flourishes—until one brother, frightened by Joseph's pagan belief, kills the tree, allowing disease and famine to descend on the farm. Set in familiar Steinbeck country, To a God Unknown is a mystical tale, exploring one man's attempt to control the forces of nature and, ultimately, to understand the ways of God and the forces of the unconscious within. (Summary taken from Penguin Classics)

I wanted to touch on the novel's main point in a subtle way, but at the same time still allow room for some of the basic plot to come through. Book covers should always, in my opinion, just touch on the basic plotline, and leave the choice up to the viewer as to whether or not they want to find out more by reading the book. The job of the image is to be strong enough to arrest attention, and get someone to take the book off the shelf for a closer look. It makes or breaks it, because despite the saying, "you can't judge a book by its cover," quite the opposite is true when it comes to first impressions.

I find that a lot of the time, less is more, so some of my original ideas for this began as just a landscape with a strong focus on the tree. But, it felt a bit weak, and a little too obvious, so this is the result. With the central character being a man who's life revolves around his land - to the point where he sacrifices everything for it - I wanted to present him in such a way that reveals the unity he shared with his environment. Hence my decision to raise the composition of the high fields, so that he almost appears engulfed by them, ultimately becoming part of the landscape. Composing an image is one of my most favorite steps in the picture-making process. There's always so many ways to push an image in order to capture and send the right message. For me, it's always a matter of how much further I can push it each time.

"No One's Watching"
11" x 14" Acrylic on canvas

A piece originally done for Thumbtack Press, this is a painting that I just wanted to let loose and have a little fun with. So, no real deep meaning here (unless, of course, you want there to be!) besides the fact that I love crows, and wanted to paint them in an interesting situation - playing cards. Crows are known for their intelligence, so it could happen, right? ;) And as for the scarecrow trying to peek inside the window. . . well, if it has no head, then who's keeping an eye on these mischievious tricksters???

A Taste of Wine & Travel

"Travel Italy: Florence, Tuscany, Venice" Poster Series

Packaging Design

Some travel posters and packaging mock-ups I created for Italy and Anakota and Leelanau Cellars wines. The great idea to do these was brought about by my friend and mentor Dave Chow, and it was a really great experience to think and apply what I do on a whole new level. Besides books, this is another avenue I'm definitely considering for my illustration work. The posters are done in acrylic on board, with typography later designed into them. Tuscany was recently used as the illustration for the Detroit International Wine Auction's promotional postcard, a major annual fundraising event which benefits the College for Creative Studies' student scholarships. I'm also beyond thrilled to be currently working with CCS in creating all the support materials for the Detroit International Wine Auction, which kicks off in October.

As for the mock wine campaign shown above, the imagery on the labels are taken from my original paintings created specifically for the wines, and then I experimented with a few different papers, designed the labels, and added some hand-painted touches to the bottles themselves - voila! This is the result.


Just updating everyone on SPECTRUM as promised (see previous post). No Trespassing was the one chosen, and the book will be due out later this year! I'll let you all know when I receive my copy!