ART: Maddie Rowles
-Maddie Rowles transferred out of the only art class she ever took after one middle school semester.
Yet this local fourteen years old artist is creating work that many consider to display noteworthy talent and skill beyond her years.
“I’m self-taught,” said Rowles. “In the sixth grade I took art for half a year. I didn’t really love it because they were drawing stuff that I didn’t want to draw, like apples. I wanted to draw the human body, like faces.”
She works quickly and seems to effortlessly sketch and paint polished images in 10 to 15 minutes that typically feature faces, hair, and other elements that many artists work years to perfect.
“I find if I draw quicker then I’m more relaxed,” she explained.
“There was one piece that took me forever, it took me three hours and I got so frustrated I just had to stop!
Hopefully I’ll gain more patience. But my favorite ones are the five minute sketches, ones that I just had fun with, not the ones I slaved over.”
Maddie likes to explore by mimicking other established works – primarily photographs — as she experiments, always adding a twist to make the piece her own.
“It’s interesting how well she brings out emotion in her pieces,” remarked one observer. “That’s an unusual ability for someone so young.”
Maddie started posting her work on a public Instagram page under maddies_art about a year ago, calling it Maddie’s Art From the Heart while at the same time sending prints to her uncle, Ryan Ogden, then a humanitarian working in southeast Asia.
Maddie overheard Ogden discussing Filipino children he saw receiving cleft palate surgeries who were often left alone in hospitals while their parents and families worked extensively to pay for the treatments.
He mentioned the children might appreciate something to help them feel less lonely. Maddie hoped she could make a difference for those children by sending copies of her art.
“Girls at her age usually are thinking about one thing… themselves!” Ogden says. “Not Maddie, she is thinking of others. She’s been blessed with an unbelievable talent in art and wants to share.
Ogden has since expanded his humanitarian efforts worldwide with the excursion vacation service Revive Service Tours and finds that Maddie’s art is enthusiastically received by the people his crews assist in each country.
“We are constantly traveling to underdeveloped counties and working on projects that … impact people and fight poverty. This job puts me in front of thousands of children who have very, very little. At the end of our projects (building, restoring, teaching, screening or whatever the project might be) I pull out of my backpack a bunch of art work from Maddie and pass it out.
“At first they are always inspired by the actual art work.” Ogden continued. “She is so good! Then they think about Maddie’s desire to share with someone she has never met.
“It really touches them and gets them thinking outside of themselves. I don’t know what they do with the artwork, but I hope they look at it often and are reminded that a 14 year old girl in a completely different country cares enough to share.” | iH
This article was featured on page 24 of the February 2015 issue of Inside Henderson magazine.