“With how many things are we on the brink of becoming acquainted, if cowardice or carelessness did not restrain our inquiries.”
~Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
Plants allow me to explore the ideas of beauty, flaws, and decay without the complications of gender, race, facial features, and body types in humans. What is beautiful? What deserves to thrive? Should anything be weeded or pruned? Every individual is worthy of occupying space, of simply existing. To venerate a virtually unknown and ignored weed like this Common Mullein invites viewers to stop and notice something we walk past or even step on without realizing it’s there. The beauty of its lush, silver-green leaves with the decaying detritus beneath helps me fully appreciate the various stages of life, from the emerging plant to the brief but perfect bloom, to the long, slow decay that exists right up to the edge of death.
Unspoken stories interest me the most, like unknown books on a shelf that I simply must read. Every single person, organism, and inanimate object has a secret world of adventures and heartbreaks. As we live increasingly busy lives, as technology fills up every moment and distracts us endlessly, we forget little things. But it is those little things that define what is most important.
I sometimes fear forgetting how I felt and thought about the world as a child, when I could stare at an entire galaxy in a single glass marble. I never want to forget that feeling, and I want my viewers to remember that, too. By focusing on everyday subjects we normally pass by and elevating them onto a metaphorical pedestal or into an actual gilded frame, I invite viewers to stop and discover the whole world hiding there that we might otherwise have appreciated.
Rowena has been making art since she was old enough to hold a crayon. She graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a minor in Art History. She is an award-winning contemporary realist, honing her skills in her home studio, working primarily in traditional media: watercolor, oil painting, and dry media.
Rowena's artistic journey has led her to study atelier methods and the history of western visual arts education for fun. She's had the pleasure of sharing that knowledge with students at the Governor's School for the Arts, as well as teaching several workshops for the Chrysler Museum and the Virginia Beach Art Center for many years.
She is a writer for the Cecilia Beaux Literary Committee of the Portrait Society of America and has juried art for the Boys & Girls Club of America and the Ocean View Art Festival.
Rowena resides in Virginia Beach with her talented, loving, supportive husband and three cool, clever, and silly kids.