Potomac Artist Plays with Shapes and Colors

Potomac Artist Plays with Shapes and Colors


Name: Tory Cowles

Employment: Artist

Education: BA from Benninton College

Town: Potomac

Lived here since 1984.

Community Ties/Activities: Was founding member of the 'Save the Glen Echo Park Committee' and became its first treasurer.  Served many years as a board member of the Glen Echo Park Foundation which evolved out of the above Committee. I've been active for many years in my children's schools: Green Acres School in Rockville and the Lab School of Washington, DC. I was on the board of Green Acres School for three years. I'm now on the board of the Touchstone Gallery at 406 7th St., NW Washington, DC, and I'm a Torpedo Factory Artist in Alexandria, VA. I'm also represented by Rendezvous Gallery in Leesburg, VA.

Something important for a newcomer to know: The beauty and peacefulness of the nearby C&O canal.

What is your approach to art? My approach to art is to play with shapes and colors and see how they affect each other. Straight colors by themselves are powerful enough. But according to how they are juxtaposed, they can come alive and start to sing and dance. Paint on canvas doesn't move or change like real life does as the light and wind changes or as we move through the world, so painters must rely on how a viewer's eye moves around the canvas to create movement, pleasure, adventure, and/or meditation. Some factors to work with are shapes of colors, lines, spaces between colors, layers of colors on top of each other, overlapping shapes, overall composition, contrasts between calm and energy, subtle and strong, light and dark. I feel great satisfaction when a painting begins to take on a personality that is cohesive and interesting to me.

What do you enjoy most about creating your artwork? My enjoyment in making art is similar to my enjoyment in looking at art. Just as an evening when the sun slips under the clouds and hits yellow/orange leaves against dark gray thunderclouds moves me tremendously, looking at paintings move me in the same way. I like to paint and look at abstract paintings because I can concentrate just on what interests me most in the shapes and colors. There is a minimum of representational shapes to stop my eye and mind from wandering around the painting exploring and enjoying the relationships. For me the process of viewing or painting is refreshing and energizing.

Favorite activities: Painting and walking on the canal.

Parting thoughts: There will be an opening of my work at Touchstone Gallery on Friday, November 12th from 6 - 8:30 at 406 7th St., NW, Washington, DC. The show will be up from November 10th until December 5th, 2004. You can view my work on the following web sites: www.Rendezvousstyle.com, www.TorpedoFactory.com, www.TouchstoneGallery.com.