Tim Lowly was born Tim Grubbs. From the age of three he lived in South Korea, where his parents were Presbyterianmissionaries. He learned piano and guitar and still plays and composes folk-rock music. Lowly attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, majoring in art. He married Sherrie Rubingh in 1981, and rather than subordinate anyone's last name, they changed their surname to Lowly.
After a visit to Korea and Europe, Lowly took up the exacting renaissance art of egg tempera painting, in which egg yolk is mixed with pigment to make paint.
The Lowlys had a daughter, Temma, in 1985, who was brain-damaged and is frequently the subject of Mr. Lowly's paintings. Lowly says, "Part of my fairly political agenda is to say that disabled children are a part of life. These are not freaks. What I'm saying is that we should advocate for eyes of compassion that see human beings as human beings, rather than separating them into the beautiful, the ugly, the normal, the freak."
Lowly has been awarded an Individual Artist Grant from the Michigan Council for the Arts in 1987 and Fellowships in Visual Art from the Illinois Arts Council in 1995 and 2005. He teaches at North Park University in Chicago.
^Alan G. Artner, "Grabner Homes in on Subject Matter: Lanyon Exhibit Combines the Past with the Present, While Lowly Mixes Figures with Landscapes", Chicago Tribune, Thursday, May 27, 1999, section 5, p. 2
^ abFred Camper, "Temma Lowly and the Meaning of Life", Chicago Reader, Friday, November 22, 2002, Vol. 32, no. 8, pp. 1, 14–20