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!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Using a Photo Reference is Positively Helpful

I assigned myself homework this week.  The goal to try drawing from a photo reference and to convey a new emotion.  Using a photo reference was truly helpful.

I began by journaling my feelings.  I was down in the dumps last weekend and I was trying to work through those emotions.  June is a month of mixed emotions each year.  Excitement that summer is coming and that I will be fortunate to have two whole months of rest, freedom to do what I like with my days without the constant restrictions of a schedule, a time to rejuvenate and recover from working with very energetic little students.  Anticipation puts a little skip into my step, what will the new school year will be like?  What new opportunities will I have? However, it is a month when a I can feel invisible because my needs are pushed aside so that pressing things can be completed. Decisions are being made for the next school year, and sometimes I feel that decisions are being made without considering what is best for students and teachers, and only for the mighty dollar. Sadness also creeps up and flows out, being overtired, emotions can flow very freely.  This is my second birthday and Fathers' Day without my dad and sometimes sadness just consumes my heart.  I feel sad and even depressed often on Sundays, and I sometimes I don't even know why.  

Do any of you get the Sunday blues?  If don't get up right away and make myself shower, get ready for the day and either go outside and visit nature or sit at my art table with my favourite music on, I am usually toast for the day.  I also have to stay away from sappy sad stories on Netflix or I find myself consumed in depressing movies that make me weepy and even more depressed.  

So to make a long hormonal story short, this visual journal entry is disguising some of my depressing thoughts I have been having this month, but also showing some important questions I have been asking myself... Is anybody noticing that some days my smile isn't really how I am feeling?  Are they truly seeing me?  Are they truly hearing me?  Are they truly understanding?  Am I even truly seeing and hearing and feeling what others are going through?

When I drew this picture, I was actually over feeling blue,  but I wanted to keep working on my reflection.  I took several selfies and thought it captured how I was feeling on the weekend.  My recent Sketchbook Skool classes focused on drawing the contours and paying attention to negative space, to not think about what subject you are drawing, but to pay attention to shapes and spaces.  In the interest of letting go, I didn't allow myself to use a pencil and eraser.  My goal is to improve in drawing people more realistically, to not draw always from the front angle.

I let the acrylic paint flow down my page like tears.  Placing random lines here and there to cover up words and feelings that I know longer wanted in common view.

I couldn't decide when I was done.  The colours were so neutral and depressing, but I wanted to have a few bright areas to show that my downs are not totally downs and that there are bright moments to celebrate.

I added some textures, painted over the highs and lows bottle, and then added some bold journaling over top with a china marker and coloured markers and pencil crayons.

In the end, I had to decide if I wanted my portrait to be integrated into the background, sort of like how I was feeling or to make it emerge more into the foreground.  I decided on a balance of the two. I added a few muted colours to add a little life to my hair and shirt, but left the rest really blended into the background to keep how I was feeling represented.

I am experimenting with my new scanner.  I can't decide if I prefer to take digital photos of my art or to scan it.  The lighting throughout the day keeps changing as I paint, so it is difficult for me to capture the actual colours.  My art lamp has bit the dust, so I was having troubles showing the true colours that way too.

I think it has really helped me to use my own photo reference to convey emotions in my drawings.  I did have  a very good busy birthday week, so my process of letting go of certain feelings and figuring out why I was feeling that way, truly did help me.  Isn't that what art is all about?  Letting go? Having fun?  Expressing a message?

Happy week to you all!


  1. This is a very powerful piece. I think with all that is going on in the world that a lot of people are having these emotions. It brings personal sadness more to the surface. Look forward each day is a new beginning. Each day new choices of how we want to act, react, and live. Have a very nice Sunday.

  2. I agree with Nicole...first thought was how powerful this piece is!! It's a sad world we live in these days... one thing after the other. Outside of our own personal issues life can feel a bit overwhelming at times. You've expressed it marvelously!! Add a little greif, any exhaustion, or change and everything can be even harder to take! I've noticed my family cocooning more of late. Probably to avoid some of the ugly lately present! Wishing you some joyful days filled with love and laughter!

    Hugs Giggles


Thanks for leaving specific comments, they warm my Canadian heArt!