Art and Positive Thinking

Welcome to my Renee Loves Art blog!

My focus is exploring, creating and reflecting upon the positives of life and connecting them to my art whether it be photography, pen and ink drawings, watercolour paintings, mixed media, digital media or any other possible media I dive into!

I hope you join me on my art adventure!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Positively Biding My Time

Waiting can be be stressful and boring, but I decided to bide my time in a positive way.  A common occurrence at the beginning of July is to cut our hay crop.  Since we live on a small acreage and we have a limited budget, we don't have any fancy equipment to cut our hay.  We have to rely on a near by farmer to cut it for us. We are at the mercy of the farmer and his schedule.  Once the hay is cut, the wait is always stressful!  Will it rain?  Will the bales turn moldy?  Will the hay be baled before it dries out too much and then will have little nutrition for the horses?  We just about lost the crop to rain and a long wait.  My husband figured the bales were ruined, but after re-examining them decided that they may be okay. So the next step is to gather the square bales from the field and stack them in the barn for safe keeping.  We tried to beat the hot temperatures, but had had been up late the night before and slept in.  After mentally preparing ourselves, we rolled slowly out of bed and set out.  We revved up our old but faithful 1976 Chevy Olympic farm truck, also known as the meat wagon, pulled open the vents, cranked down the windows, jacked up the Saturday morning country music countdown and defined our roles.  I would be the driver, with the company of our dog Lucky, and Jeff and Bryan would do the hard labour.  After making a few rounds around the field and  sweat rolling down all of our backs, man the cab is like a sauna, hay sticking to our arms, the fully loaded truck bed needed to be emptied with a short drive to the barn to unload.  I maneuver the truck backwards to the barn door and then sit and wait or refill the water jug, while the guys grunt and unload the bales. I've helped with the unloading before, itch, scratch, sneeze, ooooh my back, so I let the guys do the lifting.   I brought to take my new art journal with me. So my challenge was to fill the inside cover of my new art journal with doodles.  We have a horse plaque on the outside of the barn, so I gave myself a second challenge of drawing the horse by looking in the truck's side mirror and flipping the image on my page. Gulp!
Here is a close up...

Detail Page 1

The guys are pretty fast at unloading so after four or five trips to the field and barn, I didn't have enough time to finish, the two pages, so I worked on them while waiting at the Summer Games practices and waiting for the the house to cool last night.  I at first used only fine tipped black markers, but decided to add colour.  I tried to use watercolour paint, but that was a bust, the paper got really soggy, grrr, the paper is supposed to be good for watercolour paint.  Maybe it is only the inside cover that isn't...we will see.... Anyway, I resorted to using pencil crayons and a pen that has white paint and tried to repair the watercolour mess.  Oh well, the purpose of my blog is focus on my art journey!

I also decided to try fantasy! What could the dragonfly's wings look like in a different world?  What colour would I make my horse if I had a choice? Blue is my favourite colour, so blue had to be part of the drawings! 

I realize that not everything will be great and may be simply a learning experience, so I am going to share this with you anyways.  Here is the second page in detail...

Waiting can be boring, but now that I carry my art journal with me everywhere, I use the time positively to test out new art tools and techniques and ideas.

By the way, it looks like our horses will be able to enjoy the hay bales after all!  Phew!

The art is "soul property" of Renee Dowling.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Positively Japanese

Peaceful, manicured, green, round, meandering, trickling, all positively describe the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden in Lethbridge.  The garden is for people who love to meander and contemplate as they amble on slow winding paths while enjoying green carefully manicured pines that show off the grace of the branches, gently trickling streams that refresh one's soul, slow flowing waterfalls, shallow ponds gently moving and touching perfectly flat and round rocks surrounding the wooden bridges and pagodas, and the dancing and rustling of maple and crab apple leaves.  A myriad of sounds, scents and sights soften and message one's spirit and stimulate one's senses!  Having never been to Japan, I felt like I was transported across the world to Japan while visiting the garden.  The Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden's simplicity and tranquility positively activated my creativity, to take photographs throughout the jaunt and sketch leisurely from a carefully positioned large stone.

Nikko Yuko

Aumaya (Gazebo) and Friendship Bell
The friendship bell is a symbol of frienship between Japan and Canada.  The tone lasts for  2 minutes and10 seconds which sends out a message of goodwill and understanding. The weight of the bell holds the structure together!




Paper Umbrella

Rock and Trickle


Round and Flat

In Appreciation

Pagoda: Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Sky

The pavilion was made with no nails!


The photographs are "soul property" of Renee Dowling. 
If you would like to purchase a copy or use them,
please contact her at

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Positively Spectacular Alberta Summer Games

I am proud to state that the Alberta Summer Games in Lethbridge were positively spectacular!  My son Bryan was selected to represent the area of Medicine Hat/Cypress County on the Sunny South Football team.  After three weekends and three days of practise, each of six hours in length, the team did very well.  Out of four games, they won three and lost only one game, 0-7.  Their second victory became a game changer.  It knocked a team out of the game for gold and lead to a three way tie for second.  The tie had to be broken by the amount of points scored, which unfortunately for our team, knocked our team down from the gold medal game to the game to determine 5th and 6th place.  Our team didn't have fancy matching helmets, or parents with matching t-shirts and pompoms and face paint, or even big cheering sections, but it did have a lot of heart, determination, parents with their priorities straight and positive encouragement, and great cohesiveness between the players from the Sunny South!  A lot of good friendships were created between the players and the parents.  It was especially touching to see the players hugging each other and their parents and family in gratitude at the end of the games!  The weekend ended for us with our son thanking us for making sacrifices for him so he could play football, which made all the travelling, hoteling, sweating, sunburning and waiting all worth it!  We had a totally positive experience! 





The Mighty V

Good Block

The Long Snap That Helped to Win the Game
The Summer Games photographs are "soul property" of Renee Dowling.
If you would like to purchase or use her photographs in any way,
please contact her at

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Saluting a Positively Western Lifestyle

This week is Stampede Week in Medicine Hat, and it is a way of saluting a positively western lifestyle.  For many people who live in the city, it is a time to wander around the stampede grounds meeting friends, enjoying carnival rides,eating candy apples, cotton candy, corn dogs, and taking in the free shows like the trick dogs, hypnotists and musicians.  However, for many people other rural people, it is a time to celebrate our history and rural lifestyle.  The skills the cowboys and cowgirls exhibit are skills that they use on their ranches and farms and go back in history. I enjoy spending time with the animals.  Every year, I have to visit the petting zoo, much to my families' dismay; I could probably spend the whole day there!  The exhibition barns are also a favourite place for me, as well as the art exhibits!  Luckily, the weather so far has been very agreeable, so a day at the grounds can be totally positive!  My pictures for today are a salute to a positive western lifestyle, the patterns, the lines, the colours, the bravery, the dreams, the tradition!

We Salute You

May's Riggin'

Wagon Wheel


Perfect Day

Getting Ready!

Ranch Roping

I Can Do It, Dad!

I Really Love You!

Ah, This Is The Life!

He Likes It Wild!

It's In Her Eyes

At Peace

Flying in Shadow

Team Work

I hope everyone has a great Stampede Week!

The photographs are "soul property" of Renee Dowling.
If you would like to use her pictures in any way or purchase a copy,
please contact her at

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Echo Dale is Positively Beautiful!

This week's drawing lesson was at Echo Dale, a positively beautiful place to be, especially at sunset.  The focus of this week's lesson was gesture drawings.  Gesture drawings are supposed to be very fast, thirty seconds to one minute in length, to capture the essence of a person or thing.  I spent the evening, drawing families and other artists, and that was positively fun.  I have never done that before.  It is challenging, since little children and their parents do not spend a lot of time standing or sitting still.  The idea of capturing bigger shapes and the feelings of people is new to me, as I usually draw things from nature and often use photographs.  I will continue to practise this week in Lethbridge at the Summer Games.  When I feel satisfied, I will share them with you! 

After my lesson, I decided to stay a while to photograph the cliffs.  They are so beautiful.  My first goal was to concentrate on the shapes, I guess to capture their gestures, especially since the sun was going to bed and hiding behind the distant cliffs.



I was fascinated with the large round bales in the foreground, but also with the sky, as usual! 


The funny thing is I was thinking that I wished I had more sunlight, then as fast as you can count... one, two, three, four, five, the sunset delighted my eyes and camera by kissing the earth with red!


The longer I stayed, the redder the cliffs, the hills became and the longer, and longer the shadows became.
(Is redder a word???)

The Shadow of Me

The Shadows Grew Longer and Longer, Can You Find Me?

I am usually camera shy, but I couldn't resist playing with the sun! I am in a lot of photos.  I am quite tall in a few!


Work It!

The sun created a breathtaking red sky!  Gosh, I thought I was in heaven!  I have never seen the sky so red.  Now, I get it.  The prairie art that I saw at the Calgary Stampede last year, now makes sense to me.  I know I have said it before, but now I understand where the artists got their funny abstract skies from...nature... the colours and shapes are really there.  All one has to do is just look! 

Growing Red Sky

Red, Red, Red

The Sun Painted the Sky

The Old Man Rested in Bed and Pondered The Beauty 

Can you see the outline of a face in the hills?

With the sun resting its head on its earthen pillow, it began to dream and the sky creatures came out to play, celebrating the day and welcoming the night!

Sky Creatures

They Danced in a Circle!

Puppy Dog Dreams

Echo Dale is positively a majestic place to capture the magnificence of nature! 


The photographs are "soul property" or Renee Dowling.
If you would like to use or purchase them, please contact her at