"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

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween. . .

A quick little pen and ink drawing I did for my favorite day of the year. May you all have a wonderful All Hallow's Eve, filled with fun, stories, mystery, and magic :)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

27th Detroit International Wine Auction

This summer I had the great opportunity of creating the artwork for the 27th Detroit International Wine Auction campaign. Sponsored by General Motors, the Wine Auction is a major fundraising event for the College for Creative Studies, with proceeds underwriting student scholarships and community outreach programs for high-risk Detroit youth. The two-day fundraiser begins on Friday, October 24 with the Vintner’s Dinner and Auction, presented by Cadillac, at The Capital Grille, Somerset Collection, and the event continues with the Gala Dinner and Auction on Saturday October 25th at the GM Wintergarden and GMnext.

Above is the invite for the event, which kicks off tonight, and below is the save-the-date card that preceded it, which used my Tuscany illustration. I had a great time working alongside designer Kate Scheible in seeing these go to completion and am excited to know it all will grace the big event this weekend.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A memorable evening at the "Caught In the Act" Exhibition Opening

Indeed it was a night to remember for me this past Friday at the opening of the "Caught in the Act" Exhibition, the 6th annual international juried show put on by the Northbrook Public Library located in Northbrook, an upscale northeast suburb of Chicago. The exhibit showcases work by over 90 different artists, and results in the purchase of an artwork for the library's permanent collection, in the quest to enhance the library’s profile as a place of visual culture.

I was the first place $2,000 Purchase Prize winner this year, and still cannot find words to describe how honored and humbled I am as a result. I need to pinch myself each time I think of Unexpected Company as now being part of a public permanent collection, for the multitudes to enjoy. I was honored to meet with the library's directors, the show's jurors, artists with work in the show, and some of the sponsors of this year's Purchase Prize, known as Friends of the Northbrook Public Library. What a night! Huge thanks to my mom for coming along and being by my side to celebrate with me, my brother who built the monstrosity of a crate to get the painting shipped there safely, my friends and models, Jen and Tori who couldn't make it out to the show (we can go visit the painting now, girls!), and of course, everyone involved with the Northbrook Public Library and the "Caught In the Act" Exhibition, for putting on such a great show, and supporting the careers of emerging artists like me with opportunities like this so that we can continue to do what we do. Thank you all!

You can learn more about the show, and browse the work of this year's contributing artists online at the official website here. Below are some additional photos from the show. To view more visit my Flickr album here.

Exhibition juror, Judith Joseph and Northbrook Public Library's Assistant Director, Eric Robbins, and I.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Time spent in a rural paradise. . .

Last week, friend and fellow painter Kaylen Conley and I spent a whole day catching up, painting en plein air and driving back roads seeking inspiration in Mother Nature. By now it's probably common sense that I frequent the countryside. But not until spending a day on and around Kaylen's farm was I able to thoroughly experience the beauty and solitude of life out in the country. Soft, rolling fields, the call of crows in the distance mingled with the quiet hush of insects in the tall, sweet-smelling grass, the warm sun on my back . . . everything that surrounded me was real, pure, and unmoved . . . and, as expected, it moved me, and confirmed all the thoughts and feelings I associate with it. The most touching moment for me was captured in the shot I took above, where we had to stop the car for the swarms of blackbirds engulfing every direction. It was as if I had stepped into Blackbirds Are Gathering. The weather on that warm autumn day was unmatched, and I was able to capture lots of new reference that will find its way into a couple of new paintings that I currently have in the works.

The above photo was where I sat and painted this quick pen and watercolor study:

And the scene also found its way into my latest sample of children's book work: