Rowe, Rowe, Rowe Your Boat to Florida


Last updated 6/10/2020 at 11:43am

The Rowe Gallery, located next to Desert Pantry at The Center Mall is sadly closing up shop. Owner Lori Rowe and her husband will be leaving sunny California and moving to the sunshine state of Florida – at least they'll still be warm!

The end of May will see the last of the lively and colorful works sold. Most Borregans can probably identify a Rowe painting at first glance – after all, her work has been featured in the Center Mall Newsletter, and her style is unmistakable.

With clear influences from impressionist painters like Van Gogh, her painterly brushstrokes and vibrant colors make the animals she paints seem to spring to life and jump off the canvas.

And her love for animals is no joke; Rowe studied pre-veterinary medicine and biosciences at the University of Delaware. She has been a featured artist in Paws for Charity, as well as in 1000 Dog Portraits by Robynne Raye.

Rowe was able to make time for an interview with the Borrego Sun:

Sun: What inspired you to open an open studio/showroom in Borrego Springs?

LR: Well the truth of it is I didn't have room to work at my own house. I've been an Artist now for a few decades and my husband wanted me to open the gallery, I had no space to work in my own house so when I saw that the mall had the perfect spot right there ready for me I took it. And of course I should add that Borrego is a very artsy little town so it seems like the ideal thing to do.

Sun: Will you be reopening in Florida?

LR: Well, I will always be a full-time artist; I'm just not sure what that's going to look like yet. I am either going to find a great spot with lots of tourists walking by near the beach and open the gallery again or I may go through other galleries and let them sell my art and work from home. If I work through galleries, then I would have more time to do things with my husband and wouldn't have the overhead. I think I just need to get there to decide

Sun: What has been your favorite part of painting out of an open studio?

LR: Well a lot of the customers are absolutely fascinated watching you paint, and I enjoy it when I have young people in, they like to ask questions.

Sun: From looking at your work, it is clear that you are passionate about animals. How does that inform your creative process?

LR: Yes I am passionate about animals, I went to veterinary medical school and I also worked with an Australian Shepherd rescue. I'm not sure how to answer that, I want to say it's all in the eyes. But I'm not certain that would make sense. When I paint a creature, once I graph my canvas and sketch out my form, the first thing I do is give them life. I paint their eyes. I've done quite a few pet portraits for animals that have gone on the rainbow bridge and I've been known to cry during the process. That sounds corny doesn't it? I love animals so I love to paint them. At the moment, I am working on a pet portrait for a very lively little dog and I thoroughly enjoy it.

Sun: According to the bio on your website, you like to use "brushwork, palette knife, and finger painting." Do you have a favorite method?

LR: My favorite is whatever I'm doing at the time. Of course whenever I pick up a canvas and sit down to work, I have an image in my head of what I want to do but I'm never quite certain what method I'm going to use until I start. It seems to be an organic decision.

Sun: Is there any artwork you've been working on lately that you're excited about?

LR: Yes, my cows. I love to paint the cows and recently I've really changed how I go about painting them. I paint them in an abstract/ impressionistic combination and it's a reach for me. It's challenging unlike painting a Bison as it already appears you have to invent this new pattern, color, and form. The original sketch is true to the cow but never the colors. By the way all of my cows have been done with a palette knife.

Sun: Where will Borregans be able to find your artwork in the future?

LR: Anyone that wants to find me merely needs to go to the Rowe Gallery's website, and I am sure that I will be posting on the Borrego 92004 [Facebook page]. I've promised my clientele here that I would keep them up-to-date I also have a Facebook page in the name of the Rowe Gallery.

Sun: Can you tell us a little bit about your unique experience as an art gallery owner during quarantine? How have you been able to succeed despite trying times?

LR: Well it certainly has been interesting trying to conduct business when it's closed. I found that posting shorts videos, paintings every day, and short commentaries has really helped me more than ever to connect with the people in the area. I found that when I didn't post people would ask me where I was. I was determined about it as well, I posted on Instagram, Facebook, all of the Borrego pages, anywhere that I could get my work seen. I, on occasion, met people by appointment during odd hours ha ha at the gallery they would stand on one side of the gallery I would stand on the other and that way they could see the art in person and purchase it.

At one point, I had a couple call me up and asked me if I could drive one of my paintings to their home. I put my mask on I got my gloves out I found my way over to the Road Runner and I felt like Vanna White, as I held up the painting and displayed it and held it in different areas and showed it to them for their approval and purchase. It was really quite comical. People here have been very very good to me during this quarantine, they kept my head above water. I'm sad to be closing, it's hard to walk into the gallery without crying .

It won't be the same in the Center Mall without the Rowe Gallery's blue lights making our days a little brighter.