When the gardener and I lived in Michigan we were good friends with artist Len Cowgill. He specialized in a type of pointillism which was well-suited to the detailed nature of his subjects. We have a series of three pieces that showcase different stages of a man’s life. They are just stunning. Unfortunately, they are under glass, so I can’t really take photos of them.
Recently, I found his work online–in galleries and on Flickr. While his art has grown and changed, it is still recognizably his inimitable style. Using acid-free paper, he works mainly in ink, graphite, white charcoal, and sometimes colored pencil. Len’s work isn’t merely decorative. He doesn’t turn away from difficult subjects, but focuses his eye on the human condition.
We haven’t seen Len in years, but hope to see him before too long now that we’ve reconnected.
When I really love a work of art, I get all revved up (jumping up and down in my chair, if you must know) and want to share with everyone. This is how I feel about Len’s art. He let me use these images from his Flickr account, but please do not copy them for public or internet use.
103 Secret Saints
Strangers Battling Through Eternity
We Are All In This Together
The Burden of Personal History
You can find Len’s work for purchase at the following galleries:
- Tamarack Art Gallery, Omena, Michigan
- Watson MacRae Gallery, Sanibel Island, Florida
- LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan
- Caza Sikes , Cincinnati, Ohio
48 responses to “The Inimitable Style of Len Cowgill”
The burden of personal history.
I know! Something I noticed this time around with Len’s work is that there is a kinship (if you’ll excuse the pun) with the obsessions of my writing.
Thanks for letting your followers enjoy Len Cowgill’s work. A fascinating glimpse!
I’m so glad you got to see his work, Elaine. I think he needs to get his work into a Santa Fe gallery. And Scottsdale. Some western representation. Hope the writing is going well!
I love Cowgill’s work; thanks for sharing this! The pieces you’ve shared remind me of a book…which I can’t find at the moment, but which I love mostly for the detailed and beautiful drawings…
Oh, very cool, Pam! I can see a little of Chris Van Allsburg in Len’s work. Are you familiar with his books? Jumanji, The Polar Express, Ben’s Dream, and more!
Yes! That’s not the one, but yes! I will find the title and share it when I do…
Such beautiful artwork. How wonderful that you know the artist. I imagine you might see his work a bit differently knowing more details about him.
Thanks, Carrie. I’m not sure if I see it differently or not. I don’t really read Len’s life into his work, although that is tempting sometimes with an artist. Maybe more so with a writer.
It is, isn’t it? I try to put the author out of my mind when I read, but sometimes that’s easier said than done. There are even a couple bestselling authors I follow on Twitter, and I find that knowing a little more about them actually intrudes into my reading. Weird. Maybe the anonymous author thing of the past wasn’t so bad…
I agree with you about knowing a little too much about certain people. There are people you build to a knowledge of, like our blogger friends, and then there are people you already have an image of. In the latter case, social media can be disconcerting!
Magnificent art, wonderful artist!
Thank you so much, Sid. Have a wonderful week! Ciao!
Thank you <3
I was struck by the honesty of the photos and artwork. No false airs, no fake smiles. Just very real, natural expressions. Refreshing.
Wow, Anneli. I love that you noticed that. I agree completely, but it didn’t occur to me to write that in the post. I wish it had! I think that is why I think Len doesn’t “look away,” you know? He sees underneath the surface and creates from that.
I struggled with “how to say that” but I see that you saw the same thing and have expressed it better. He doesn’t “look away” says it all.
And I like how you say it haha!
Thanks for sharing Len’s work, it’s really beautiful.
I agree, Jill. I think his work has really “classed up” my blog this week :)!
I love that you get excited about art, Luanne. I really like Len’s work–and the writing behind the images. Thank you for sharing!
Me too! How could any reader and writer not love his work?! By the way, maybe you’ll try an ekphrastic poem after one of Len’s pieces!
Thanks for the introduction Luanne to your friend. His work is intriguing! ‘We are all in this together’ is oddly powerful………
I agree about its power! When is your masterpiece coming my way :)?!
It should be there any moment now it was sent on the 10th or 11th . My deepest apologies if I didn’t let you know that – I thought I had. Shipping is supposed to take 10 working days, but sometimes takes a bit longer, especially if the rowboat is leaky…..
Oh no worries, Pauline! I can’t wait!
LOVE these! Thanks for sharing!!
ME TOO! You’re welcome, Jen. I hope you write an ekphrastic poem about one of Len’s pieces :)!
Very interesting. I like his use of the written word in his work, to foreground his subjects.
Me too (obviously since I chose a lot of those pieces for this post). However, go to his Flickr account to see a wide variety!
I love this, Luanne. Pointillism at its best.
Oh my gosh, Luanne, we were on the same track recently! (me with my Boston MFA visit last Sunday …) I really enjoyed the “Personal Baggage” piece, but the portraits are very singular. Thanks for sharing them with us!
Very intriguing works of art Luanne, I suspect they are the type of work that gives more the more you look at them. By the way, I saw this article and thought of you: http://wesa.fm/post/kids-working-their-reading-skills-shelter-cats-make-perfect-audience?utm_source=Publishers+Weekly&utm_campaign=d20bb1a172-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_01_09&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0bb2959cbb-d20bb1a172-304517345#stream/0
Isn’t that a wonderful program though? I’ve seen some of those before and wish we could do something like that at our shelter. It’s so hard just to find people to scoop poop. But maybe we should try a little harder to get the kids in for reading. I really think it’s that I am one of the few who really sees the advantage to the CATS of being read to. I think it turned Perry’s life around! Yes, Len’s work works on the viewer over time!
It really is a pleasure to view his work. Thank you for sharing.
What wonderful artwork, Luanne! Inspiring.
It is–I so agree, Patti!
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My wife and I just purchased a work of art by Len Cowell today. We just love it and have it proudly displayed on our mantel. Len and my brother were roommates in college. I have known Len for almost 45 years and have always loved his portrayal of the human spirit. What a great person.
Tom, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing about Len. He is a wonderful person. I love how you describe his work: “portrayal of the human spirit.” How true!