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, November 11, 2014

Positively Painting and Drawing From Imagination

I am reading a book written by Carla Sonheim called Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals and the premise is start your paintings with no intention and your left side of the brain will allow your right side of your brain to take over and your imaginations will positively soar.

To create this family of imaginary birds, I began by painting a leaf shape with water and then lightly tapped my watercolour brush loaded with a primary colour of paint on one edge of the leaf.  Next I used another primary colour on the opposite edge of the leaf and then tilted my journal back and forth until the two colours kissed and merged.

Next, I sat and stared at the images as they dried and tried to visualize what I could turn them into.  I began drawing "noodles" with a fine tipped permanent marker and then started adding eyes and voila, I decided my imaginary creatures would be birds.  I outlined them and then decided to use pencil crayons, and a white paint marker to add more colour and details.  Finally, I painted a background.

A similar process occurred for the each set of imaginary animals.  The idea of doing this is that you will get positions and gestures that you would not normally get if you were drawing from memory, and Carla was absolutely right!  The animals develop personalities of their own.

This is such a fun process and can be done with all age groups.  I tried this with my grade ones and they created fish, zoo animals and all sorts of other animals!  They loved to watch the two primary colours mix!  It was challenging for a few to not start with an intention and just let the water and the paint do the work.  Some wanted to make fish, or flowers and pictures, but I had to remind them to let it go and let the paintings tell them what they wanted to be!

The doggy resembles my dog Lucy, the stinker.  She enjoys chewing, so  imagine that, a shoe appeared! So far she has eaten three hats, one earring, one mechanical pencil, two spray  bottles, two pairs of shoes, one boot, one football glove, a mouth guard, several squeaky toys, her doggy bed, her dog house, and that is all I know about!  I am surprised she came out looking so cute and innocent, she is a bit of a beast!

Painting and drawing from imagination is less stressful, more risks are taken and it is positively fun!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Positively Refreshing

It has been such a busy three weeks, traveling around Alberta, for conferences and football games, but the time away has been positively refreshing.  It has been wonderful for me to not only gain independence, but also to spend time away from home with my loved ones.

Today's photographs are from my trip to Canmore.  I drove to Canmore by myself, which freaked me out a bit.  Driving through Calgary is the part that makes my heart palpitate.  My husband advised that I stick to 16th Avenue and go past Olympic Park and keep following the highway.   He assured me that I would find Canmore easily.  He was so right, bless the souls who created the street/highway!

My last lone driving adventure to Calgary and Edmonton took me nine hours of  steering wheel gripping at a crawling speed through snow and ice, and I wasn't eager to repeat the experience. Fortunately, the drive there was wonderful.  The roads were dry and clear, up until about half an hour away from Canmore.  It was, however, only a little bit of spitting rain and a few wind gusts and a very dark, dark night!  I arrived safely to attend my Fine Arts Council meeting with a major tension headache, but eager to attend the following days conference.

Fortunately, I was able to sneak away a few times to snap some photos.  It is so difficult to capture a good shot in the mountains, the clouds and lighting consistently changing.  I would just get the setting adjusted and by the time  I pressed the shutter button, the settings were all wrong!  I salute anyone who has figured out how to take mountain pictures!

There was a delightful little with water flowing gently!  I loved how the light was dancing merrily on the ripples.  A sign that the clouds were lifting!

This brilliant yellow aspen tree and  bush captivated my eyes.  The brightness against the cloudy mountain side tickled my senses!

Canmore is such a busy place, it is difficult to get a photograph without a car sneaking in!

It is equally difficult to get a shot without buildings from the location I was staying in!

Love that yellow aspen and green spruce tree combo!

The train goes right through downtown, like a lot of cities and towns!

Bunnies infest the town!

What a grand conference and location.  I was thrilled that my husband and son could join me on the weekend for a mini vacation, and enjoy the mountain retreat!  It was positively refreshing!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Positively Orange

Orange has never been a favourite colour of mine, but I am starting to fall in love with the colour.  I even bought two pairs of earrings with orange this fall!  Who knew?

To celebrate my positively new love of orange, for Halloween I found and purchased some gloriously creepily green and orange warted pumpkins. I have also until recently have never been a fan of drawing or painting fruit and vegetables, so this art became a challenge both for me and my students.

My grade one students and I took the plunge, first we did contour drawings and then acrylic paintings of the enticing pumpkins.  We enjoyed feeling the warts and spent hours painting them.  The paintings turned out surprisingly well.  We were to only use primary colours and white.  We discussed the artist's thirds for the background, different painting techniques like splattering, highlighting and using different tools to add texture.We also talked about how the sky meets the ground, and most indeed have a horizon line that met the sky!

I then videoed my students talking about their creations.  It is amazing how insightful they are.  One little girl said that she made the grass yellow because in the fall grass turns yellow.  I never even thought of that, and went back to my painting and painted in some yellow grass.  Others made their skies very colourful because they have started to notice the sunsets through our discussions about my photography of fall sunsets!  What little sponges they are!

Their paintings have been receiving a lot of compliments in the hallway at school, and I finally made time to finish mine today!  I haven't received permission to post them yet, but I hope to soon.  For now, I am sharing my positively orange warted pumpkin with you!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Positively Enjoyable Afternoon With My Son, Black and White Day 4 and 5

This is the final day of the black and white challenge, but I have to admit, I will probably be taking more black and white photos because this was really fun.

The day began as an early day with my husband leaving really early in the morning to watch a rodeo. Wide awake, or so I thought, I got out of bed to catch up on a few shows that I had waiting for me on my PVR. I found myself dozing off for a long fall nap.  I awoke at 1:30 PM!  Say what? That happened to me two weekends in a row.  I am usually an early riser, but for the last four weekends have found myself up really late, so I guess, I needed the sleep.

When I looked outside, the wind was blowing at a pretty high speed, so I convinced myself to stay inside.  By the time I finally motivated myself to get mobile, the wind was beginning to take a breather, and I decided to pop outside with my camera.

My son had just arrived with a motorcycle that my father-in-law decided to give to him.  The motorcycle has a long history on the farm, and many stories of all sorts of people's  riding adventures. Jeff's 80 year old grandma, Nana, piggybacked on the back of it one night.  We will not mention what happened, but let's just say, we all went running to see if she was okay.

Just before our wedding, Jeff and I crashed up against a bunch of rocks, left in the ditch by a farmer, and off we went, not a scratch to us, but a slight jam of my ring into my engagement ring finger.  I woke that night with a horrible pain in my left arm, all of the way up to my shoulder.  My mom took me to emergency, and it turned out to be tendinitis.  I ended up missing my University graduation.  It was very painful, I couldn't even stand driving across town for ten minutes to get to the mall, let alone driving for an hour and a half to get to Lethbridge.

Anyways, I thought it would be awesome to take some shots of my son driving the motorcycle for this black and white challenge.  I am so glad I went out.  We both rode the motorcycle and our quad for a few hours, taking turns with each, driving up and down our road and through the pasture!  What fun, and yes, we both are safe and sound!

After taking several photographs of my son with my short lens, I decided to change my camera lens to my longer lens.  As I was changing the lens, I thought I heard a bluejay, so journeyed to my backyard to take a photo of it.  To my surprise, I looked up into one of our Cottonwood trees close to my house and there was a GREAT HORNED OWL!

For a change, my timing was impeccable!  I had the right lens.  I hoped the owl would not lit from the branch before I got close enough in the low lighting.  Fortunately, my son, zooming by on his motorcycle, did not scare it off.  I signaled to him to stop and we both watched the owl look at us for a while!  AWESOME!

I feel fortunate to have a teenage son who doesn't mind spending the afternoon riding on the quad and motorcycle with his mom.

What a positively enjoyable afternoon doing my favourite things, being with my son, being outdoors, driving a quad and a motorcycle, photographing and watching my favourite bird, a GREAT HORNED OWL!  Life is good!

Thanks, Terri Mappin for the challenge!

 I really enjoyed it and the fun things that came about because of the challenge!  You inspired me to take a photo of the pesky dandelion! And I am glad I did!

Here is a fall flower for you!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Positively Lime Green and Abstract

My sister put forth a challenge for me to create abstract paintings for her teenage sons' bathroom. The only instructions were that they needed to have bright lime green accents.  It felt so good to paint for fun, mixing primary colours, painting with my fingers and other easily found items such as plastic mesh, a plastic fork, modeling paste, sequin waste, bubble wrap and a foam angled brush.

I hope they are cool enough for teenage boys and the newly decorated bathroom.  I gave them to her for a Thanksgiving gift!  She is a very kind and generous person.

It was a positively lime green and abstract experience.  I hope I get more art challenges in the future. I am running out of wall space in my own house!

Happy Paint Party Friday!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Positively Black and White, Day 3

I have an obsession over my antique Underwood typewriter.  It began when I was a child.  I was fascinated with the beautiful black typewriter and the shiny silver framed keys.  The small circles of the keys and the font appealed to my senses, and encouraged me to spend many hours typing my name and letters, and provided me with many ideas to stretch my imagination during play time.  I often had races to see how fast I could type, getting frustrated when the keys jumped or got stuck.

When I began exploring journaling, I noticed that many people were printing of messages from their computer printers with old typewriter font.  I asked my mom about the typewriter and she gladly gave it to me.  It is more convenient to use than a computer printer, and I can get instant results without having to wait for things to power up and load.  There are no jamming papers, no error messages, no plug in the battery messages!  Easy.

I took these photos a while ago, but I often find myself viewing them.  I feel like I am back in time, as a undercover reporter or a journalist.

On the day I took these photos, I had a chance, split second encounter with a great blue heron.  I remember the moment well.  On the paper, I typed a message about the encounter.

As I closely examined the typewriter that day, my imagination went wild and I started to see bird like features on the typewriter.  Can you see the resemblances?  Or am I just Loonie?

I saw a beak.

Nothing beats the bends and curves of this little beauty!

I saw wings. 

I saw long thin legs.

I saw wings spread out as if in flight.

This little typewriter is an important symbol to me.  I love the scars from the past, reminding us even with imperfections, we are still useful and beautiful.

I have been nominated to participate in a black and white photography challenge by a fellow blogger, Terri Mappin. I am to post one black and white photo for five days and am also to nominate a person to participate in the challenge each day.  Since it is for fun, don't feel you have to participate, but I nominate Tammie Lee today.  I hope you have fun finding things to photograph in black and white, or at least edit the photos into black and white.  After all, black and white can be positively extraordinary!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Positively Black and White, Day 2

On the way home from my piano lesson, the sparkling fall sunlight was twinkling off of the historic St. Patrick's church and lured my eye and vehicle down the steep hill that envelopes the river valley to assist me in day two of Positively Black and White.  The clear blue sky perfectly framed the grey-white steeples, arches and windows.  I knew I had to photograph this church in monotone!

I have been nominated to participate in a black and white photography challenge by a fellow blogger, Terri Mappin. 

I am to post one black and white photo for five days and am also to nominate a person to participate in the challenge each day.  Since it is for fun, don't feel you have to participate, but I nominate Ted Gardner today.  I hope you have fun finding things to photograph in black and white, or at least edit the photos into black and white.  After all, black and white can be positively stunning!

I photographed this church last time on a freezing cold Saturday afternoon in the winter time last year, so it was a pleasure to experience this grand architecture on this warm 20 degree Celsius fall day.

This marvelous church has newly placed copper around the church, which the sunlight danced off in majestic grandeur.

I love these metaphoric steps that lead to the side door, symbolizing the long journey of life leading to the doorway to heaven in the distance.

Above the symmetrical windows of this marvelous church, newly placed copper rejoices as the setting sun sings in majestic grandeur.

Day is done, the sun is fading, it is time to cross the bridge and head home once again with ideas of tomorrow's challenge dancing in my head!

Thanks, Terri!  I am enjoying this challenge!