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!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Positively Spruced Up and Thankful

Spruce and Trembling Aspen
Cypress Hills Inter-Provincial Park is a glorious place and
 today it "spruced up" our study of trees. 

We knew a week ago that the chances of it snowing today were very likely.  All involved in our field trip were strongly encouraged to dress for snow!   Since we live in Canada, you would think that we would be well prepared for snow...toques, scarves, gloves, winter boots and jackets.  I heard many students declare, "Oh, we're from Canada, we're tough, we can take the cold!"

Yet, they were the same ones shivering and grumbling, "I can't feel my toes, my mom said not to wear boots or snow pants, she told me to wear runners and a hoodie!"  Really, I thought?  If so, mom didn't grow up in Canada nor did she experience our early winter temperatures and snow in the fall. Perhaps mom is a couch potato, or...
Actually, this is what I really think... the kids ignored mom when she said, "Wear your boots, snow pants, winter coat and gloves!"  Then once they realized that Mrs. Dowling was going to make them stay outside in the snow to examine and learn about coniferous and deciduous trees, they regretted not listening to their mom and teachers, and wouldn't admit they were wrong, so once again, blamed mom....  Poor moms out there.  I am on your side... You get blamed for everything! 

Some students thought that we should turn the bus around and head back to town so they could stay indoors and play games... you know the type of games... electronic games...

Fortunately, those of us wise enough to dress appropriately and who were ready for an adventure, didn't let those "Debbie Downers" trample our positive attitudes.  Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, it is fitting to relay some thankfulness to those people who wanted to experience it all and not be penned up, as many of us like to do in the long 8 months of winter weather.  They were eager to learn, explore, create and reflect and made the best out of situation.  Yes, the wind was whipping the wet sticky snow into our still tanned faces and the snow dampened our jackets, socks and pants, and our cameras fogged up, but we had hand warmers, and we were lucky enough to catch glimpses of wild turkeys on two different occasions.  Glimpses only though, because as soon as the turkeys spotted us they ran for their lives.  Who could blame them, with Thanksgiving just around the corner?  We also noticed squirrels, and a few brave birds.  Some spotted deer.  Solving a mystery as forensics teams in the forest was fun.  We were able to take soil samples, measure the temperature of the soil and make inferences as to why Sammy the Spruce tree lay dead in the forest. 

Peaceful and Protected
While in the forest, keeping things on the positive side, we were able to stop and journal and make observational drawings for about 15 minutes before our pages  started to turn to mush.  In the forest, we felt well protected and it was very peaceful.

Now, the students have a memorable story to tell about being in the forest during the season's first snow fall.  If they were home in their houses playing electronic games, what memories would they have?  How long would the memories last?

 I always wonder, when they are old and grey sitting around the table at A&W having cheap coffee, what will they talk about?

Bob, "Oh, we used to play electronic games." 
Jo, "Yup, me too!"
Then silence.
 "Chirp, chirp, chirp..."
The crickets will start chirping because Bob and Jo can't remember any important stories to retell. 
Then they will turn and stare at the wall and pretend to have a good time.


So why do we spend money and help the students to experience all kinds of things, well maybe, just maybe, after today's positively spruced up experience and last week's adventure at Police Point in the prairie forest, they will have stories to tell and the only reason the crickets will be heard is they have decided to take their grandchildren outside for a experience in nature and can retell the stories of the adventures in the forest they had as young whipper snappers.  And maybe, just maybe, they will be thankful for the crazy teachers they had in grade six who gave them new experiences both in the sunshine and in the snow and rain!
The photographs are soul property of Renee Dowling.
To use them in any way, please ask for permission at

P.S.  Thanks, Mom, for bringing extra mittens, jackets, and blankets for all of the children who didn't listen to their teachers or moms! 
I have never blamed you for not being warm! HEE HEE! 
I am sure there were a lot of thankful students because of your thoughtfulness! 
You're the best!


  1. Haha! I love this post ... Mom's do get blamed! And I'm happy to report that I really thought we would wake up to the white stuff ... alas, we missed it and the sun returned for a glorious day on the prairies! It's still Alberta though and I think -5C has been rumoured for morning!

  2. You would think that after all these years of change of roles of males and females, moms working out of the house and dads needing to do more of their share in the house, that dad's would get blamed... But after all these years of teaching, I cam't ever remember hearing the students blaming their dad's for anything! Do dads check homework or read notes? I have no idea. In my house, I always ask my husband to read everything and sign homework agendas, to show his sons that he is involved and equally responsible for things. I don't know maybe I am just one of the lucky ones whose husband does take equal responsibility for his children!

  3. Snow!?? At the beginning of October? Eeek! Even though it looks fabulous, I'm very happy to be here in Queensland where Spring has just started ... ☺

    1. Luckily, in our area, the snow didn't last. Ah, spring...!


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