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Peace and the Process -- A conversation with artist Connie Lowe-Parker

Linda: You do a lot of plein air and flora/fauna in your paintings. They are so serene and peaceful -- how does it make you feel when you are painting your subject material? Your work is so it a zen thing?

Connie: Plein air is a challenge that I've learned to love because it brings me into the setting. That sets my mood and brings me peace. It allows me to see true colour and feel the natural vibe. Birds and flowers give me absolute pure joy. Their purity and beauty help me separate from things that are going on in the world. Being meticulous is definitely a zen thing for me. I immerse myself into a zone that is indescribable. Being a person who has struggled with anxiety, I find it therapeutic.

Linda: Your work with a palette knife seems looser than with your watercolours and brush paintings. Is it the process?

Connie: Yes, with a palette knife I feel like I'm 'more inside the paint' if that makes any sense. It's somehow more tactile. I can feel the thick, shiny softness of it. But as it marbles together, it's constantly a pleasant surprise, and at the same time I have to use caution to not take it too far and lose it. My adrenaline definitely pumps more!

Linda: In comparison, what about detail in your bird/flower art? Is it a different kind of restraint?

Connie: I find the detailing more of a study -- learning to be more observant. Precision is something I've strived for. It's important, maybe as a way of having focus and control. I have a sense of accomplishment when it looks accurate. The loose palette knife is the opposite, where I have to accept it's 'enough' and okay if it's not precise.

So, perfection/high expectations versus letting go and relaxing, being okay with the enjoying the process rather than the outcome. Emotions are what drive me.


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