"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, July 30, 2008


24" x 30"
acrylic on canvas

A portrait I just completed for an upcoming competition of a great woman and dear friend of mine, Jeppie Scott-Cook. Jeppie is one of those people who I'm blessed to know, let alone call a friend. It's hard to find a place to start in beginning to describe this lady and the role she plays in the lives of people who know her. A person full of wisdom, and deeply rooted in her faith, there's never a day where Jeppie isn't wearing a smile or blessing people who cross her path.

Jeppie and I met a few years ago, and since then, I've been able to listen to her stories and hear her advice on all aspects of life. A single parent in her youth, who raised four children on her own while attending modeling school, Jeppie worked with dreams of making it big in the modeling industry. After completing, she got a call to fly to New York and begin her career, so she packed her bags and was ready to go - only to take one look at her kids and give it all up to stay and raise them. I think this one story alone is enough to give you a bigger picture of Jeppie's character. Being one whose personally gone through some rough patches in past times, I find her fun-loving attitude and strong spirituality to always be deeply healing, because aside from being plain fun to be around, Jeppie's real, she's been there, and like she reminds me, no matter what things come our way, life is a blessing, and it's only a matter of time before the bad will leave, and the good will come pouring in. Truer words couldn't be spoken, and it's a point I think we can all live by.

So, with that said, this painting serves as a tribute to one of the most beautiful people I know. Jeppie's love for the outdoors, the cross and scarf she always wears, and her exotic blue eyes are all the unique features I wanted present in this portrait. I also decided to hold back on some of the usual detail I put in my landscapes, choosing, instead, to keep it mostly solid and graphic so that the focus does not shift too far from the figure.

Monday, July 21, 2008

"Unexpected Company"

36" x 60"
acrylic on canvas

Here's the painting I completed some weeks ago that almost did me in (previous post). My largest to date, measuring 3 ft. x 5 ft., it was the roughest deadline I ever experienced, and I had the bruises to prove it! But, it was a challenge I've been waiting to take on for some time, and couldn't be happier with the outcome, despite all the bumps along the way. From changing the composition numerous times over, to beginning the actual painting on a smaller canvas only to trash it last minute and go bigger, etc., etc. It was quite a ride! I was touching it up, photographing it (a nightmare in itself for its size) and taking care of all the other countless tweaks before getting everything to the post office with only an hour left before the end of the postmark deadline. Boy did I feel invincible by the end of that day! Then it was finishing up a freelance job and off to New York City early the next morning for ICON5 (see more about ICON in my previous post). Those two weeks were the craziest I've had in a while, but, as usual, completely worth it.

The show this painting is done for is themed Caught In The Act, so looking at the subject matter, it's pretty suitable. Oddly enough, though, the idea for this painting was brewing in my head for a long time before I received notice of the show's theme. Perfect timing, I guess. My goal with this piece was simply to take what I did in The Guests to a whole new level. I was craving a complex scene, full of action and objects - as well as more figures in relation to animals. What's different with this one, however, is that even though the human figures in my works are usually the main focus, I chose to let the animals steal the scene this time, leaving the figures to take on more of a secondary role.

So, continuing along my usual lines of creating a narrative that is cohesive yet open-ended, believable yet bizarre, I wanted Unexpected Company to illustrate the concept of a meal gone strangely awry. Two sisters sit to dine only to have a congregation of creatures arrive uninvited, clawing to get their fair share, caught in the act by the viewer, who, in turn, gets caught in his/her own act of watching by the figure on the right, as well as an angry crow who doesn't want them to come any closer to his feast. Thus, I wanted this painting to really involve the viewer, engaging them in the act of "catching" all the subjects in action, while, likewise, being caught in the act of watching by the subjects in the painting, who take notice and respond. So, the need to create a composition that comes full circle in such a way that the viewer and painting come together, played a huge role in my decision to go life-size. Any smaller would not have achieved the impact I wanted. This one needs to be seen one-on-one in order to feel the energy.

Below are a few detail images. I'll post more information regarding the show as soon as I receive it.

ICON5 in the Big Apple

I had the great opportunity to spend the week of 4th of July with my CCS Illustration family in New York City where we worked the 2008 Illustration Conference (ICON). It was great visiting the Big Apple again, and a super experience to meet and work alongside so many great people. We worked and attended seminars by day, explored the city by night, and had an absolute blast! To find out more about ICON and what's it's all about, visit the official website here.