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!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Positively Encouraging

We're Never Alone When In Troubled Waters!
 For the first time, we went to Cowboy Church.  It was after the rodeo slack on Sunday morning.  When I was a kid, the only time I went to church is when I stayed with my grandparents on their farm.  They loaded us up and we went to Schuler for church.  The only thing I really remember about the church is that it felt nice to be there and I was really excited to put a dime in the collection basket that was passed around.  Sunday at Grandma and Grandpa's farm was quite special to me.  Grandpa was always a music fan, and I remember laying on the couch in my pajamas with the sun shining in the living room window and the old church hymns playing on the record player as the scent of farm fresh eggs and bacon frying  in the kitchen filled the air. 

Although I wouldn't consider my family very religious, Mom and Dad always have begun our meals with prayer. I have read the bible, front to back several times and have visited it on different occasions for different reasons, personally and educationally to figure out biblical references from literature, movies and history.  I try to understand different points of view.  I have attended vacation bible school, but my church background is limited. The only other times I have been to church have been when there are special reasons to be: weddings, funerals, baptisms, a few Christmas Eves, and homecomings.  As a child, I used to wake up early Sunday mornings and watch church on television after watching Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, The Lone Ranger, the Little Rascals, and Abbott and Costello (no not the originals, in re-runs, I am not that old).   So, I have a limited understanding of the bible.

When I heard that there was going to be Cowboy Church, I decided to take my family, just because...

Cowboy church was really casual and pleasant, and took place in the beer gardens, of all places, because there was a microphone, shade and picnic tables for people to sit at.  The pastor adorned in jeans, a cowboy shirt and cowboy hat, greeted each person with a handshake and a little conversation. 

The Devil

Song books were handed out and the service began with some great jokes and music.  As I was flipping through the song book, while sitting on the hill in the shade, I spotted some songs that Grandpa and Grandma played for us.  I secretly wished that we would be able to sing them,  guess what?  We did. "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" and "I'll Fly Away!"  It is a good thing I had my sun glasses on so nobody could see my tears.  I suddenly missed my grandparents and our Sunday mornings.

Sunday Musical Memories 

The message of the sermon, was that we will all go through turmoil and we all find shelter in different ways or different places, but to remember, that we do not have to face our problems alone.  If we want to, we can always call on God to be there for us.  The story of being in the troubled waters was told, and how one can almost go under, but by asking for God's help, one can be rescued.  This story was the inspiration for the art at the top of this post.  I used graphite of different hardnesses/softnesses, a white eraser, a blending tool and my traveling sketchbook.  I started the drawing while driving to Waterton but finished it at home because the roads were far too bumpy to create fine details like in the fingers.  I included the mountains because of our trip and the mountain is a common theme is biblical passages.  The person hidden in the water is me.  I created the water using curly-cues.  The streaks in the sky were created using a white eraser.

I also learned another lesson.  This Cowboy Church accepts all types of people, and even an old farm dog.  There were Mennonite people, Native Americans, cowboys and cowgirls, young and old, tourists, skeptics, believers and the curious.  No one was dressed in their "Sunday best" and no one minded.  It wasn't about appearances, it was about the messages!

Cowboy Church

Boots, Bare feet and Crocs, Welcome

He Listened Too!
With a Feather in His Hat

They Felt Comfortable! 

They listened intently!

Sunday's Cowboy Hat

Our Old Farm Dog Came Too!

The pastor said that he wasn't there to judge people, but to share the message and was glad that we all took the time in the fresh mountain air to come and participate in the service.  He even had free bibles for anyone who wanted one!

I hope you enjoy the photographs and the art inspired by the Cowboy Church.  I was positively encouraged to think, photograph and create art through the experience!

The photography and art is soul property
of Renee Dowling.
For permission to use them, please contact her at

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