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!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Positively Bubbly

Saturdays Make Me Positively Bubbly!
Positively bubbly is how Saturdays make me feel.  Ah, the freedom, the choices, the relaxation! Singing, music,dancing, shopping, eating, movie going, creating, exploring, reflecting, what more could a girl ask for? So, why not journal about it?

These journal pages began with bunch of random splotches of colour and letters that I had cleaned my brushes and stamps on and placed extra pieces of tissue tape from a previous journal entry.  I covered them with some really fun, easy to use, new products which I purchased at a scrapbooking store; Jim Holtz's Distress Stain "Peacock Feathers", Jim Holtz's Distress Ink "Seedless Preserves" and Tattered Angels' Glimmer Mist "Blitzen".  They add texture and a really delicious glimmer.  More texture was created using gesso, some cute little finger dobbers, lace and sequin waste. 

Of course I had to doodle with black marker and a metallic silver pen! 

I used sticky notes to write my actual entry. 

Oops, I just noticed I put "signing along", instead of singing along in my entry...grrr! "Good grief, Charlie Brown, you're such a lug head".  I think I really have dyslexia, b, d, g, q, and b and p sounds, and the order of my letters! Yikes! Anyways...

Fabric dimensional paint was used to draw the grass.

My very favourite new gift to myself, Derwent Inktense, watersoluable ink pencils, helped me to to colour in my doodled flowers and create bubbles representing how Saturdays, art and music make me feel!

The little t-shirt is a paper doily that I got from my husband's grandma many, many years ago! Boy, I'm a pack rat! Thank goodness, many of my treasures are coming in handy in my art!  What enjoyment I am experiencing!

 If only I could feel positively bubbly every day!

Thanks for visiting! 
I sure enjoy hearing from you!
What is your favourite thing to do on Saturdays?

The images are soul property of Renee Dowling.
If you would like to use them or ask her questions about the methods used,
please contact her at

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Positive Goals

Well, now that I have finally started my new visual journal, I thought that I should set a few goals for improvement. 

I am "getting" the idea of layering and using texture, so now I would like to add people into my reflections. Here are a few of the people who have inspired me:

Excitement filled my heart doing this because I decided to do my favourite doodling techniques, then picked up my old pals, watercolour brushes and primary colours, to fill in the background, frames and the females...Oh, how I have missed my pals!  I really love this journal's paper, watercolour, cold press, 140lb, Strathmore visual journal, 22.9 x 30.5 cm.  The watercolour and water just floats on top, making the paint really workable!  $15.50 for 22 sheets, coil binding and a heavy duty front and back cover!

I decided to add a bit of visual texture by using pencil crayon and sequin waste.  Erasing the pencil crayon softened the texture's colour. 

I am going to keep exploring different faces, then eventually different bodies and stances.

With these positive goals, I hope to make my visual journal entries more dynamic and personal.  People have never been my thing, but one is never too old to try!

The images are soul property of Renee Dowling.
is where you can reach her for usage permission.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Positively Exploring Visual Journaling

I found an awesome visual journal this summer that accepts all sorts of multi-media, including watercolour.  I decided it was time to try out the paper.  I used fabric dimensional paint for texture, fabric spray paint with paper and cloth doilies, tissue tape, a peacock feather, embossing tape, gesso, acrylic paint, paint markers, pencil crayons, plastic stencils, a black fine tipped marker to doodle, and rubber stamps ! 

I continue my theme of explore, create and reflect!

The images are soul property of Renee Dowling.
To use them in any way,
please contact her @

Monday, January 21, 2013

Positively Winter Fun!

One sure way of shaking off the January winter blues is to drag oneself off of the couch, bundle up and get outside. Yes, outside.

Saturday, my family ventured off to Rattlesnake Lake and tried our hands at ice fishing. The temperature was minus six degrees Celsius and the wind minimal.

It is hard to believe some fishers do this on a regular basis. It isn't an activity for those who get bored easily...the set up is quite time consuming. Drilling the holes...

attaching the spools of fishing line, attaching the smelts to the hooks, dropping the line into the quickly freezing holes...

setting up a fishing hut, getting the heater going...

setting up lawn chairs, gathering blankets, packing lunch,...

No plants, no fish, nothing

and placing the underwater camera into position are a few of the tasks "necessary" to fish in the winter.

Our fishing did not lead to any supper, but we did have lots of time to play...

snowball fights, wrestling matches, joke telling and...

sledding, boot skating, outhouse searching, and picnicking!

It sure took a lot of time to warm up afterwards, but nothing a heating pad, a warm blankey, a cuddle on the couch and hot chocolate couldn't resolve! We positively had some great winter fun!

The images are soul property of Renee Dowling.
To use her images in any way,
please contact her at

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Skies are Positively Going to Clear Up!

The skies are positively going to clear up! 

January has been my least favourite month for many years.  It should be a month of new possibilities and a positive new beginning to a new year.  It should be a time to look forward passed the trees and into the sunset, anticipating what great and exciting new things await us.  Instead, things that no one wants to endure seem to occur in January. 

 This year has been no exception. Our January began with a big scare that made our lives flash before our eyes in a big blurr.

New Year's morning, by husband was sick all day long, and stayed in bed the entire day and night except for about five minutes. 

The next day he decided that he should go to work because his boss sent a memo stating that if they miss work after a statutory holiday, they needed a doctor's note.  We both agreed that the doctor wouldn't want someone with the flu to come in and would probably the say, "You have the flu, stay home, don't come here and spread your germs." 

I argued with my husband that after 21 years, he has hardly had any sick days, so his word should be enough. However, my husband decided to go to work and felt about 50% better.  The next day, he went to work at about 60% better. 

Friday morning, at  3:30 am he awoke me to take him to the hospital.  He was experiencing extreme pain in his arms and in the middle of his chest! By the time we got to the hospital, he was having troubles feeling his arms and his breathing was very rapid and laboured. 

Suddenly our lives started to flash by us, the doctors declared that he was having a heart attack.  I am still haunted by the look in my husband's teary red eyes, when the pain was so intense and he thought that that could be the end.

The emergency staff and their quick actions and attention had us on an airplane and off to Calgary Foothills hospital by 7:20 am. 

By the time we arrived in Calgary and Jeff was admitted into the ICU, his pain pretty much had subsided.  They ran various tests, gave him an angiogram and stated that they couldn't find any blockage, if there was any, whatever they did in Medicine Hat may have dissolved the blockage.  Things were all settled, and at 3:00 we left my husband in the hospital and we went for supper.  When we returned, he was laying flat.  He had another attack and had a second angiocardiogram.  The doctors were baffled.  There were no artery tears, or clots.  What was causing the "heart attacks"?  He is young, not over weight, doesn't smoke, doesn't over drink, he exercises, eats relatively well, doesn't do drugs.  They asked if his job or home life were stressful.  He answered, "No, not really." 

He got the attention of many doctors and nurses, interns, specialists, and they could not find the cause.  They were very interested in his case.  Finally, on Tuesday, after many tests and an MRI, they declared that my husband did not have two heart attacks, but instead had inflammation of the heart muscles, myocarditis, due to a virus.
They declared him safe to go home and return to his life.

Can you imagine? So sick from a flu virus?  Needless to say, it was a very stressful time, and not much sleep met our eyes.

We had lots of support, thoughts and prayers from our relatives, friends and co-workers.  It is amazing how many well wishes Jeff received. We had volunteers we had willing to watching our place and feed our animals, putting us up for the weekend, driving us around, making us food, treating us so we could relax and celebrate that we had been given hope, and a new beginning to a new year and the rest of our lives to continue to grow, love and be with each other.

We had many anxious hours, and even had frustration, but the one thing that assisted us through it all was humour.  I could have dwelled on a few things that annoyed me at the hospital, but Jeff had such a positive attitude and made us laugh, that the issues seemed minor.  He was the one sick, but he was the one trying to make us feel better!  His roommate, a 87 year old war veteran, also showed humour and the desire to get back to work!  Yes, work!  Most of us want to run away from work. Not him! My husband never actually got to see him, until they were moved to a new floor, but this wonderful man's energy and positive thinking permeated right through the curtain separating them, and filled us with hope and happiness. That man touched my soul. Amazing!  I hope everything goes well for him!  He sure does have the fight left in him!

Many tears flowed from our eyes with worry, uncertainty, but also because of happiness, support and love. 

On Wednesday morning, one week ago today, we had another bump in the January road.  Our dog Lucky, almost at the age of 18, had two seizures and we made the decision to help her end her pain.  We had many great experiences with her.  She helped me to overcome the fear of walking through the dark to the barn on our acreage, as the coyotes howled in the distance.  She helped be to become brave and to explore new things.  She faithfully and happily joined me in my many walks and driving excursions to find that one great photo opportunity. 

She was always kind to others and wanted to hold paws.  She never hurt anything. 

Lucky had a great summer camping with us on vacation to Drumheller, Pincher Creek, Elkwater, Grassy Lake, Waterton and Rattlesnake Dam.  Everywhere she has been, she has brought joy to others.  Complete strangers would always walk up and ask if she was friendly and then insist that they had to pet her.  In Waterton, she had people from all over the world pet her and love her.  If only we could all have that impact on others!

She had had a seizure a year ago in November and we thought then that the end was near.  She managed to recover, and didn't complain about her stiff joints and other discomforts of age. 

There were times when we grew frustrated with her accidents, but the good times we have had together helped us to endure.  On the days leading up to New Years, we could tell she was getting weaker, she would shake and knock herself over.  She didn't eat and drink much when we were in Calgary with Jeff's sickness, but when we arrived home Tuesday night, she greeted us with excitement, she ate and drank and even was jumping around like a young pup. 

Instead of spending our first day home from Calgary in a peaceful, stress free way, we spent the day tending to and saying goodbye to our friend and family member, Lucky. 

I could have sworn the next morning I could hear her little whimper, even though I knew it was the wind whistling through the dining room sliding doors.  We still tiptoe around the house in the dark, so we don't step on her.  We still expect to hear her excited bark when we get home, and we definitely miss her big smile!

The first days home were followed by a lot of hugs, hand holding and expressions of gratitude, but also, sadness and condolences from friends and family about our Lucky.

Even though our year started off shaky, we feel very lucky to have Jeff home with us, getting stronger and very lucky to have had such a dog friend in our lives.

The past two days, we have felt more settled in and back into the routine of things, and have found time to go outside and appreciate the beautiful prairie sunsets.  They give us a sense of hope, and tell us that, "This too shall pass!" and the future is in front of us!

Even though skies have been grey, when looking towards the horizon, we get a sense of future, of hope, of gratitude to be alive! 

I hope the rest of you have had a great start to January.  If not, here is to a positive rest of the year. 

Good things can come out of negative... we learn we are loved and supported by family and friends, we renew our friendships and relationships, we remember the good times we had in the past and look forward to making new memories, we learn of the dedicated health professionals we are fortunate to have in Alberta, we rekindle our favourite activities, we treated each other with more appreciation, sensitivity and gratitude, we become more aware of a healthy lifestyle, we take a deep breath and enjoy the fresh clean air of our prairie and say, "Yes, there will be another tomorrow, and we are loved!"

Thanks everyone for everything!  We appreciate you!

Love, Renee, Jeffrey, Derek and Bryan

Keep promoting health care
 and pressuring your representatives
 to fight for modernizing and upgrading and improving it! 
You all deserve the very best health care!

Remember to hug your loved ones each day and tell them that you love them.
You never know when...

The images are soul property of Renee Dowling.

To use her images,
contact her at

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Treasures of Time Positively Displayed

Isn't it wonderful when one completes a project and one feels confident enough to display it and show it off to family and friends?  I promised a peek at the four mixed media collages displayed together.  Well here they are...da-de-da-ta...drum roll please! Sound the trumpets!  Introducing, "Treasures of Time"...

Treasures of Time

Now that I see them together, I am thinking of other ideas.  Wouldn't it be cute to do some baby collages with little toys and knick-knacks, a  birth announcement, first words... of the baby?  I am going to have to ask my cousin for some baby things and do one for her little girl's second birthday.

Other ideas- favourite pets/horses, graduation, weddings, accomplishments- rodeos, music recitals, athletic awards, favourite Christmases, favourite recipes, hobbies, family vacations, favourite relative, favourite song, favourite book...

Little family treasures of time could be proudly displayed along with a favourite photo.  Hmmm...

The photos, art and ideas are soul property of Renee Dowling.
To use them in any way
or to commission her to do one for you,
please contact her at

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Positively Treasures of Time 2

Fluffy Explores

Fluffy Explores (Detail)

Jacques Ponders

Jacques Ponders (detail)

Ponder (detail)
I finished my other two "Treasures of Time"!  Now I have a series!  This time I used cheese cloth as a background on "Fluffy Explores".  I continued to use treasures from my Grandma Muhlbeier, my mom and my childhood, and adult art experiments with wire wrapping. Watches continue to appear in theses pieces, can you find them?

This time I allowed a bit more colour to show and I work on the two at the same time.  I will hang them up as a set of four tomorrow and then I will give you a peek as to what they look like altogether. 

I challenge you to find all of the different treasures used!  How many can you find?

The art and images are soul property of Renee Dowling.
If you would like to use the images
 or commission her to make a mixed media collage
 for you using your own treasures,
please contact her at