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Steve Cowan, C.D., U.E., F.R.H.S.C.,L.R.H.S.C., S.H.A.


I was born in Belleville Ontario in 1950, and grew up in Kelowna, British Columbia,  (Belleville was originally called Meyers' Creek after Captain John Walden Meyers U.E., my 5 x great grandfather and my United Empire Loyalist ancestor). 

My early artistic aspirations were pushing some oil paints around using an orange crate as a pallet.

In 1970 I took a ship to New Zealand as part of my round-the-world adventure.  A six week stay lasted ten years.  The voyage to New Zealand started a life-long fascination with the sea. While I had contact with local marine artists, I was too busy working and mucking about with boats to be painting.

Upon my return to Canada in 1980, career and family considerations kept me from pursuing endeavours in fine art.   While my wife, Judy, and I enjoyed photography as we travelled, I didn’t take up painting until quite recently.  Shortly before I finished my 30-year airline career in 2002, I took an oil painting course in Vancouver.  After we traveled parts of Europe and Australia we settled in the Comox Valley in 2003.  Here I met Bill Maximick and admired how he uses acrylics to do his marine paintings.  Since then Bill has been my mentor and teacher.

As I travel along the coastal regions of Vancouver Island I see the limitless opportunities for portraying my chosen subject.

My interest in heraldry lead to developing various heraldic items such as display panels, portrait shields and wall and table shields.  I am greatly encouraged in expanding my artistic skills of vector drawings by Mr. Laurie Patten F.R.H.S.C., S.H.A. of Nanaimo BC.  Laurie and I have completed the large heraldry display at the Carey Mews at Government House in Victoria BC. 

In May 2015 I was presented with my Licentiate  (Level Three) qualification from the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada (R.H.S.C.).  I have been a member of the R.H.S.C. since 2009; in 2016 I was elected as the President of the BC/Yukon Branch of the R.H.S.C. At the 2019 Annual Conference of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada in Calgary I was award a Meritorious Service Award for all the fun I have working with the Society members.

 In November 2015 I retired from the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves as a Lieutenant-Commander; 12 years in the Primary Reserve and 20 years in the Cadet Instructor Cadre.   Altogether I had served some 36 years of Reserve service beginning with four years in the New Zealand Cadet Forces of the New Zealand Defence Forces and continuing after my return to Canada.

I have been an Associate member of the Society of Heraldic Arts of the U.K. since 2014.  In April 2017 I was accepted as a Craft member of the Society following an assessment of my portfolio of heraldic work.  I am thrilled to have this recognition from fellow heraldic artists and to join other Canadians as Craft members.​​​

In March 2024 I was honoured to be made a Fellow of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada.

Above is my full achievement of arms granted by the Canadian Heraldic Authority on 15 February 2018.  I designed my own arms and these were submitted to the Authority once my petition for arms was approved.

The arms, blazon and details will be shown in the Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada, Volume VII, page 46, dated 15 February 2018.

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