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, January 31, 2014

Positively Perfect Prince Edward Island

Growing up on the Canadian Albertan prairies, my summers were spent camping out in the middle of nowhere, often in treeless flat plains stationed near our rare but precious lakes.   Ironically, even though I am a prairie gal, I have always been drawn to water.  I have only had three trips to the ocean, two to the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of British Columbia, and one to the Atlantic Ocean, Prince Edward Island.

This summer while gazing longingly at my favourite photographs of Prince Edward Island that I have very carefully and lovingly arranged on my dining room wall, an overwhelming desire overcame me to revisit the ocean and Prince Edward Island.

As it turned out, we never made it to the ocean, but  my heART journeyed there through my photography and then back again to the prairie on my canvas.

I am a collector of old maps and atlases, and I decided to use them to assist me in creating my painting.  I used them to create charming lobster boats, luscious trees and happy little colourful fishing shanties.

In the background I used old sheet music, as music is such an important part of the culture in PEI.  We visited a fishing shanty where there was good old fashioned fiddle music.  Peoples' feet were a tappin', hands were a clappin', smiles were a grinnin', and traditional French folk songs danced in my heart.  I remember sitting their with my family, as happy as heron in a stream full of fish, with tears in my eyes, thinking," I am home!   My dad, a prairie boy, would love this!"

In the background are also little blurbs from my favourite novel, "Anne of Green Gables" which takes place in Prince Edward Island... oh a kindred spirit indeed.  I painted in a few details, such as the fishing dock, a buoy, rocks, a few trees and power poles and lobster traps. I also painted a few circles to represent how bubbly and magical I felt and how welcomed the friendly people there made me feel.  I am so excited that I finally made some time to put on the finishing touches on this little painting of positively enchanting Prince Edward Island!

Viola!  A positively perfect reminder of Prince Edward Island!

To warm your hearts and cold winter bodies, here are a few of my photographs from our visit to Prince Edward Island several summers ago!

Happy Paint Party Friday!

Thanks for leaving comments, they sure do warm my Canadian heart!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Positively Fun

For Christmas, I asked for a book written by Flora Bowley called, Brave Intuitive Painting, Let Go.  Be Bold, Unfold.  The idea is to try different techniques to find your "own unique style".  Flora states that we often have fear because we don't know what to do or we are worried about doing something wrong,and this fear prevents us from starting and/or finishing our art.  Isn't this so true?  I know I often struggle to come up with ideas and once I mull them over for a while, sometimes a long while, I dive in, but then just before finishing, I freeze up and need to mull over how to finish again.  I know that if I had more time in a day for art, I could get on a roll, stay up all night and complete a painting, but with the realities of life, going to bed at a reasonable hour is a must, and once I stop painting, it is often hard to get going another day.

 Flora encourages artists to believe there are no such things as mistakes.  I decided to accept her challenge and just have fun painting and not worry about what to paint.  This painting is actually over top of a mixed media collage I did of a tree.  I loved the tree, but it ended up being smack dab in the middle of the canvas and I had no idea how I wanted to finish it, so after fussing over it for a VERY VERY long time, I decided the best solution was to be bold, and brave, and paint over the entire thing.

The greatest thing was learning to use my fingers to paint.  The smooth cool acrylic paint felt as refreshing as a spring day on my my fingertips.  I also used the mouth of a glass jar, sequin waste, straws, foam dabbers, brushes, a fork, a kistka used for pysanka (decorating of Ukrainian egg) and a water mister to apply/remove the paint.

After applying several layers, and turning the painting every 15 minutes, I began to see images in the background and picked an orientation. I naturally envisioned a bird and a fish.  I painted over the fish yesterday, as I couldn't figure out what the fish had to do with the bird. Now that I look at the painting, it looks like the bird is flying over irrigated crops and the tops of buildings.

I have to say this is a very enjoyable process, but I still struggled with completing the painting.  Last night I asked my husband for advice as to how to finish it.  He said at first that he had to be honest, that he didn't like this style of "abstract" painting and that he didn't know what I was "going for".  I tried to explain to him that the idea behind the painting was to explore and have fun and not really worry about what it is trying to say or portray.  Once he got passed that, he gave me an excellent idea to make the tail overlap some of the background more and make it more flowy to make it look air is moving through the feathers like I did on the wings.  He also encouraged me to add more colour to the blue from the background to give the bird more life and definition.   He used my paint brush to add a few strokes to the bird.  Hmmm, I think he should paint too.  He is a good artist and has a natural and keen eye for perspective and accuracy of proportion, something that I have to work on.

I am grateful that Flora Bowley is bold and brave and willing to share her ideas with all.

I will definitely try this technique again.  It was positively fun!

I have decided to link this to Paint Party Friday.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Positively Purple

I headed home early from work today to break my Monday January dull-drums.  I was determined to get some fresh air and forget about work.  By the time I had a little snack, the sun was beginning to set.  My son gladly agreed to take a break from his studying for his final exams and accompany me on the adventure of the day.  

We headed off together to one of my favourite spots in the west, near the South Saskatchewan River, to capture a positively purple sky.  It was a race against time and against our memory of the exact road to venture down.  

The range road we took was full of ice and made me extremely nervous when the ice covered dirt road bordered a cliff.  All went well, with a little patience.  The wind made our eyes water, our cheeks prickly and our noses red, but it was well worth the spectacular scene.

Most of the snow has disappeared on the eastern side, but hints remain.

On the western side, snow still is nestled in the animal trails and eroded paths.

Within a few moments, a glorious palette of colour was painted across the horizon.  

I have a myriad of photos and have to show restraint in sharing them with you.  My intentions were to paint a watercolour landscape tonight, I even had on my painting clothes.  But when my son asked if I could help him review for his test, I thought it only fair that I help him, since he was so understanding, patient and supportive as we stood in the freezing blasting wind, our eyes tearing and our bones stiffening, while I snapped hundreds of shots.  Our skin turned positively purple like the magnificent painted sky, my dull-drums gone and my heart full of gratitude.

One last shot for the face... not our ice faces, but another ice sculpture from the artist Chinook de West.

P.S.  I think this ice face looks a bit like Richard Nixon.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Positively Numen 2

Numen...  I believe that numen occurs in those little unexpected moments.  Last week I was lured outside by a sunset of pinks and yellows and blues and greys and dramatic powerful fluffy diagonal Chinook clouds in the west. One sudden glance out my dining room window as I was painting a new piece, was enough to cause me to pause, drop my paint brushes and venture outside with one of my best friends, my camera.  

Once outside, the western cloudy sky had transformed and a creature in the southern sky began to reveal itself diverting my attention from the sunset.

One quick turn to the east, the deep blue sky once again diverted my focus.

How can so much be happening in one winter sky?  In the west, the spectacular sunset captured my attention, in the south the clouds formed fantastical creatures, in the east the bright rising moon in the skies of turmoil was exhibiting its beauty,  and finally back again to the east, the skeletons of summer with the fading sunset light breathing life through them, unexpectedly revealed moments of numen.

The patterns of branches like arms reaching for life in celebration, all sharing the space, and smiling in delight as the day's sun began to prepare for bed, took my breath away for a fraction of a moment. The Chinook wind was whipping my winter scarf against my long black wool coat, but for a brief moment all stopped and the beauty of the outreaching branches made the wind temporarily stand still...numen? An unexpected momentary peace among the chaos surrounded me. Yes, positively numen!

Thank you, Tammie Lee for hosting this numen challenge!  You have managed to connect us to people around the world, what a gift!  Beauty does indeed flow.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Positively Numen 1

Tammie Lee, a fellow blogger, challenged us to find numen in the world, a divine presence.  Numen, in my own definition,  is the moment when you see something in nature and it takes your breath away, often bringing a tear to your eye and a shiver to your soul, reminding you to be thankful  for being alive in this beautiful world.

These numens are inspired by our warm west winds called Chinooks in Alberta.  The warm moist wind originates off the west coast over the Pacific Ocean.

The wind flows over the mountains, leaving the moisture, and then flows across the prairies, melting the snow and drying up the prairies.  A Chinook arch forms, showing dramatic colour, light and forms.

Usually, a few days later, things cool off and the snow returns. On the way home from Calgary tonight, my husband humoured my numen desires, and pulled over so I could capture the drama.

These following photos were taken last weekend at my house several hours south of Calgary, where the
dramatic clouds billowed and changed with every blink of an eye.

Chinook wind was wickedly whipping the snow around.

It felt like it was raining as the snow was being lured to the clouds above.

I am positively grateful for Tammie Lee's inspirational numen challenge.  See you tomorrow for more positively numen 2.

|In the meantime, here is a little snack until we meet again.