This month’s Artist of the Month is Renee Howell. Renee has lived much of her life in North Augusta. She attended elementary, junior high and high school in North Augusta.
She is a member of the North Augusta Artist Guild and enjoys weekly art gatherings with a group of 4 other artist now known as “the Painted Ladies."
When did you start considering yourself an artist?
I began taking art lessons when I turned 50. Many of my artist friends really got down to truly devoting time to their art about the same age. I think turning 50 is a turning point where children are grown, career aspirations are satisfied, and your inner passion begins to surface. We had a saying in our art class that you become a true artist when a complete stranger sees your work and buys if for the price you had on it. In the beginning many friends and family bought my work – I call those pity purchases. But the first piece sold in a show to a stranger was thrilling.
What kind of formal training did you receive?
Absolutely no formal training. Other than the Aiken County school system, I have taken informal art classes from local artist offering classes in their homes. I took watercolor and acrylic classes from Lee Anne Hagler for years. She finally moved away I think to get away from me. When she moved away, I invited the class to just come over to my house during our regular meeting time to continue painting together. We have been painting together weekly for about 5 years now. We call ourselves the Painted Ladies.
What kind of paintings to you do?
I began with watercolor and now I also paint with acrylics. We often use other media to create texture or make the work more interesting. Unlike most artists, I haven’t found my “look.” Most artists seem to have a style, like abstracts, landscapes, figure drawings and such. I paint a lot of different kinds of things. I constantly take pictures from magazines, nature, at art shows, galleries, and Pinterest as all of them constantly inspire me.
Do you have any shows coming up?
Yes, the Painted Ladies are showing at the Larder during July and August and at the Mack in McCormick, SC in September. That is a lot of paintings! We had a great show last summer at the Larder and can’t wait to return. It is a fun place. The Painted Ladies include Debbie Turner, Wendy Cunico, Paula Gay, Corliss Derrick and me! Opening night at the Larder is on July 3 at 6 p.m.
Renee Howell’s watercolors have been featured in shows at the Kroc Center, Sacred Heart Cultural Center, Nancy Carson Library, North Augusta Arts and Heritage Center, and other galleries in the CSRA. She is in the Sacred Heart Cultural Center Guild and the North Augusta Artist Guild. She encourages any artist, not only accomplished artists, but beginners as well to come to a meeting. Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the North Augusta Community Center. For more information about the guild, visit their website NorthAugustaArtistsGuild.com.