We had the good fortune of connecting with Eleanor Lowden and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Eleanor, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I am Canadian, born in Toronto, Ontario. My family was very traditional; a stay at home mother, professional father and I am the second born of four siblings. I always loved colour and I loved to draw. As an eager young artist, I remember going to a French nursery school in Montreal and each of the children were given one crayon and a piece of newsprint on which we could draw. When it was my turn I was given the yellow crayon. Do you have any idea how frustrating drawing with a yellow crayon on a piece of beige coloured newsprint was ? No matter how hard you press, or how much you scribble you cannot make more colour come out of that crayon. I think I began plotting my career that very day. I was three.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I studied fine arts at university, but then worked in advertising for few years to pay rent. I took night courses in art to learn more. And then I got married, and eventually my first child was born. Going back into advertising after that seemed crazy as the work often included travel and long days. I chose to begin my art career, and stay at home. I began small, mostly commissioned watercolours. My frustration with watercolour as a medium developed over time. I wanted more colour and the water used in watercolour painting was the problem. I began painting with bold bright straight- out -of -the -tube watercolour and loved it. This eventually led me into acrylics which I still use to this day.. I still paint with many layers, similar to the glazing I would use in my watercolour paintings. However I find acrylic has so much more vibrancy and flexibility and I am learning to accept that it dries instantaneously. My inspiration comes from daily life. I am always searching for the universal places that we can all share. I paint in many series, you will see a common thread in all. I love crowds of people (pre-covid), umbrellas, pathways, streetscapes, and garden. I employ stencils to add pops of colour and patterns and I employ a happy bright palette in all my work. I want the viewer to contemplate the story I am telling and to look at the methods that I use to create them.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Toronto is a great city to visit. There’s many interesting and fun places to go and people watch, and great restaurants to try. I would take my friends to the St Lawrence market on Saturday morning, grab a coffee and a peameal bacon sandwich. We could walk along the boardwalk in the Beach, or along Queen street West to visit some shops, and galleries. In the summer there are rooftop patios, and outdoor patios, especially since covid there have been many new patios spilling out onto the streets to allow for safe dining. Kensington Market is fun to walk through, and sample some food, check out the shops. I have my dog Rigby who loves to walk in the ravine so we would definitely take him for a few fun walks. We could check out the local music in the evening. There’s lots to do! Who’s in?
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
If I have to dedicate this to one single person, and not the dozens of supporters who have guided me along my creative journey, then I would have to say it was my grandmother and namesake, Eleanor Cunningham. She was small but mighty, a modern woman as well as a figurative watercolour painter. She taught me to respect watercolour, to embrace the nude figure, and to always laugh.. She was born in 1912 and was still painting in early 2000.
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Youtube: Eleanor Lowden