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, April 30, 2014

Positively Homemade Waffles

Waffles, ah waffles!  There is nothing like homemade waffles for breakfast.  Well, let's face it, I enjoy waffles any old time!

Dripping with syrup, sometimes with fruit smothering the top, other times with fruit on the side.  Ah, waffles!

Regardless, waffles are positively delicious, especially when the recipe is handed down from a family member!  I received this waffle recipe accompanied by a waffle maker as a wedding gift from my mother in-law.  She made this recipe every Christmas morning!  She wanted me to have the recipe so I could also make the waffles for her best son, my husband.

We don't reserve the recipe for Christmas, the waffles are just too tasty!  I have shared this recipe with my students, they drool over them.

Sometimes when we make waffles in my classroom as a math/fraction lesson, it is the first time students have tasted homemade waffles! The store bought, toaster waffles are the only kind of waffles they have sunk their teeth into.  One boy told me he would refuse to eat the waffles, because he hated the disgusting, soggy and somewhat burnt waffles his mom made (store bought).  But, once the scent permeated the classroom, and other classmates were devouring the waffles, he decided to give them a try.  Guess what? He came back for seconds, thirds, fourths, fifths... I had to cut him off!  He asked if he could take the recipe home and asked where he could buy a waffle maker for his mom.  Isn't it great when you can open up a new world for others?

 I have the recipe in a small frame hanging in my kitchen as a tribute to my husband's dear loving mom!   I decided to journal about it and share with you!

Here, have a bite! I hope all your waffles are golden brown and warm.

We had to replace our waffle maker.  We replaced it with an old fashioned cast iron waffle maker that we found at a garage sale for three dollars!  Once I figured out to turn the temperature dial to the middle at 4, the waffles haven't stuck to the maker at all!

Enjoy this positively wonderful, never fail recipe!  You may want to add a sprinkle of cinnamon... Now don't get me started on delicious cinnamon!

Since we are on the topic of breakfast, look what I saw this morning before breakfast!  Northern lights! What am I doing up at 4:00 am?  Remember, I just got a new puppy?  Puppy needs to figure out when and where to go to the potty.

I happened to look out the window after cleaning up after her, and voila, there were the northern lights.
They sky was so clear, the frogs were chirping, the meadow larks were singing, the ducks and geese were visiting, my cats were meowing, my family was snoring, and my dog and I were outside watching the northern lights!  I am still figuring out how to take the night sky pictures, but here goes nothing!

And then a sunset appeared, and Lucy (my puppy) and I went back to bed.  What a sleepy day I had.  My students were wondering why I was so loopy and giddy...over tired...but worth it!!  This makes up for missing the lunar eclipse due to cloud cover, I would say!

Enjoy the waffles and your breakfast sunset!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Positively Close Your Eyes

Positively "Close Your Eyes and Relax, Breathe and Dream" began as a black and white drawing in my little travel journal.

Warm spring air and holidays brings upon a feeling of freedom and gives me a chance to lay back and relax.  Yesterday, I found myself laying upon the grass, closing my eyes, feeling the warm sunshine kissing my checks and the fresh clean air cleansing my soul.  I laid there breathing in spring and letting my imagination overcome my thoughts.

The sound of many birds filled my mind, I wondered what it would be like to fly through the air?  Laying there in the grass, I felt as light as feather, like I was a bird. I wondered when the first blossom will grace us with a good morning?

I wondered what type of bird I would be?  I would be blue, my favourite colour and I would have feathers that swirl and curl on the ends (I have always wanted curly hair).

Isn't it positively great when one takes time to close one's eyes and relax, breathe and dream?

Happy Paint Friday!

Lucy, A Positive Welcome

I Love Lucy

Meet Lucy!  The moment I saw her laying in her kennel at the SPCA and heard that her name was Lucy ( I Love Lucy is one of my all time favourite comedy shows), I knew she was the puppy for me!  We have adopted her and have welcomed her into our acreage home!

Our dog Lucky, died last winter of old age.  She was 17 years old, and we had her since she was two. She was a stray dog and we took her in to our family.  My son named her Lucky because he thought she was lucky to finally have a home.  She was a wanderer, and never could be let off of the leash. A good dog, but not the typical farm dog that could be left unleashed and trusted to stay home.

Lucky at Drumheller

Once Lucky was gone, we adopted Tucker, a husky, last summer.  He was a birthday present to me, but we only had him one month.  His name should have been Houdini.  He just could not be trusted in any enclosure, he would always escape and take off.  He loved to run, as most huskies do. He managed to twist the chain link fence of his dog run. This little stunt brought about his demise, as he was hit by a vehicle and died in the ditch in front of our acreage.  We searched for him for a month, posting pictures with the RCMP, visiting neighbours, walking and driving up and down the dirt roads, visiting all of the places that we took him.  It was indeed a very sad day when we found him in the ditch.  We buried him facing north, facing his ancestors' traditional home.

Tucker, So Proud

Since then, there has been a void in our family.  I haven't had a photography traveling companion, and a good friend.

After our Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday, we adopted Lucy.

Come, Lucy!

Lucy comes to me when I call her name, and so far, has been trustworthy to run free!   A dream come true! Well, almost a dream, she jumps up in excitement.

 She has made friends with our horses and she loves to run and explore, but stays in on our property.

Lucy Meets the Horses

A video to show Lucy making friends.

She is gentle with the cats and she doesn't bark and whine.   Here she says hello to Painted Smile.

Off the lease and exploring yesterday afternoon.

Yesterday, we explored the corrals and the pasture.  She loves the water.

We spent a lot of time sitting and exploring the dugout.  Look what we found:

Leopard Frog

Lucy loves to stick her head into the unknown!

Being a 7 month old puppy, she enjoys a good chew on branches and basically anything crunchy!

Lucy found every puddle on the acreage.  It rained the night before, and with the snow finally melting, a puppy paradise was created!  Lucy blows bubbles under water!Listen to the sounds we heard today:

Last night we journeyed down the irrigation canal road, ouch, she needs training walking with a leash.  At times, she pulls a lot and walks in front of me and gets all twisted.  Other times she is gentle, or may refuse to walk and puts on the brakes.  Oh well, there is plenty of time for training!  Here are a few sites on our "walk", or should I say "Pull!".

Meadow Lark

Meadow Lark in Fight

Overall, a grand day with my puppy, Lucy!  

Did I mention, I Love Lucy!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Positively Lovely Easter Memories

Red hops in the horizon tonight filling the landscape with cotton candy colours.  The Easter Bunny is preparing for the long night ahead, grateful for the warm sunny day, as it made his old bones feel better and more limber for his favourite job of the year treating children with Easter delights.

He sits eagerly waiting for boys and girls to snuggle into their warm beds.  It is not that he does not want to visit with boys and girls, but he fears he will run out of time and will disappoint some boys and girls if he does not focus on what he needs to do.

He pauses and ponders and plans where will he place the goodies this year.  He sees that the little red wagon is awaiting to transport the treasures that the boy on the acreage will discover on his morning Easter hunt.

Easter Bunny usually places treats in trees and bushes, on top of the horse trailer, inside the barn in the hay bales, in the grey wooden wagons next to the approach to the acreage, and he lovingly places Easter delights in the garden.

The past couple of years it has been chilly and windy, so the boys and their parents had to bundle up in their winter coats for their morning hunt.  One year, however, it was so warm that the boys discovered Mr. Rabbit all melted in his candy box.  The family had to put the chocolate in the refrigerator to harden.

The boys have grown older, one is no longer at home,  their faithful dog that always helped to find the yummy Easter temptations has moved on to doggy heaven, and the anticipation of the Easter morning is not as intense as when the boys were younger, but the tradition remains and excitement still tickles our minds in anticipation of what we may find.

This is the first year I haven't dyed Easter eggs, since I was a little girl, and I am having mixed emotions about not following through with our family tradition.  To make up for the need to be creative with the Easter eggs, I have painted this little watercolour in celebration of the memories that fill my heart with love.

Grandma and Grandpa used to always accompany us, along with my family, my sister's family and my mom and dad.  Even when Grandma and Grandpa were not at their best, they still managed to do their best to decorate the eggs. The last time Grandma helped us, she was very confused, but still knew to use a crayon to make designs.  They were scribbles instead of flowers, but at least she participated.

It has been several years since both grandparents have passed on, but I still can visualize them sitting at the table with the family, excited to be with us, doing their best to help make our eggs colourful and special.

Friday, I missed Dad dipping his eggs in every colour, my brother in-law drawing KISS rock stars on his eggs, my husband and my youngest son drawing silly pop culture characters and slogans, my nephews and my sister cracking jokes and eggs. I don't actually remember my mom ever dying eggs, she can't sit still and has to be always fussing over us with chocolate wafer egg treats and other goodies.

With my dad recovering from his treatment, we thought we would keep Easter a bit more simple this year and not have Easter supper at my mom and dad's house and instead have it at my sister's house, so Mom could relax and help Dad if he needed it.   That included not dying eggs in the afternoon.

Friday, we did have a nice evening with our family and we had a lot of laughs.  We sat and listened to classic country music. Nothing can beat the country music from the 1950s, and anything before the 1980s.  My dad, husband and I like that country music the best.

Dad and I especially like bluegrass, when the singers harmonize, my soul is touched and tears are brought to my eyes.  Perhaps it conjures up memories of listening to music on Sunday mornings at my Grandma and Grandpas's house on the farm?  Maybe it reminds me of the times when I was a little girl and I would sit and watch my dad play guitar and we would sing together?  All I know is sitting beside my dad and listening to the music on Friday brought me and my dad even closer together.  It was the first time I can remember that my dad reached for my hand and held it.  His hands are healed and soft and warm and full of love!

Last year's last Easter Egg

I hope your Easter Sunday is filled with love, goodies and positive memories!  Hugs to all of you!  Hold the hand of someone you love today and remember the good times and the reason for the day!

Thanks everyone for your support and encouragement!

Love, Renee

I finished this today too:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Positively Norman McLaren

I recently discovered a new app from the National Film Board, featuring the art of Norman McLaren. Norman used to create animated films by cutting out shapes and slowly, one by one, move and photograph them.  This app allows us to create a stop motion animation video without having to cut little pieces of paper and photographing them.  The app also has other processes that Norman McLaren used to use to create whimsical videos.  This is my video called, The Easter Bird.  I celebrate the inventiveness of Norman McLaren!  Have a positively creative Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Positively Pleasing Pluto

Pluto is now considered to be a dwarf planet, or a plutoid. Pluto was demoted in 2006 from being a
planet because part of the criteria of being a planet is a planet must have a clear pathway around the sun.  At times Pluto crosses paths with Neptune, thus the downgrade of Pluto.  Even so, it was positively pleasing to represent Pluto while be stimulated by music.

Colin Matthews created a musical piece for Pluto, in a desire to finish Gustav Holst's Planet Suite.  Pluto wasn't discovered until 1930, four years before Holst's death.  Holst was always a sickly man, and  didn't have the opportunity to create a composition for Pluto.  Pluto, the Renewer the musical composition is the inspiration for my recent art.

I challenged myself to create a visual piece of art that represents the atmosphere of the mysterious Pluto, the moods, feelings and thoughts I experienced while stimulated by this musical composition and to use colour, line, and texture to represent the sounds I heard.  In essence, this piece was created to help you see what I heard.

I apologize if this isn't the original version of the musical composition.  I have found four different versions, but this one is my favourite.  Click on the video below to hear the music.

As you are listening, see if you can identify the mood of the song, the feelings I experienced while listening to the song, the different instruments and tempo of the music and any characteristics of Pluto.

I used my fingers, for most of the piece, but did utilize paint brushes.  I also used a fork, cheese cloth, fabric spray and scribblers, a spray bottle, stencils, a plastic thing that comes in a pizza box to prevent the cheese from sticking to the box, bubble wrap and used only acrylic primary colours and white.

Every few minutes, I rotated the canvas. I decided to only use symbolism to represent the planet, the music and my thoughts and feelings, so that you can visualize your own images or story.

I really enjoyed letting go and just having fun.

It is enjoyable to see the colours of Pluto change throughout the day.  At night the colours are dark and mysterious, like the first half of the music.

During the day, the colours are cheery and bright and hopeful, like the second part of the musical composition.

Pluto was positively pleasing to represent!