JOURNAL

How did February get to be so busy?

Do you feel as busy as I do? Not only is it the month of love, but apparently it is the month of art, too! Here is a list of the upcoming events I am participating (or teaching!) and I wanted to be sure you had the chance to add them to your calendar:
 

 

Love in All It’s Many Forms
KA Artist Shop

February 14 - March 31, 2017
Reception: Thursday, March 16th, 2017 7-9pm
127 N Jackson St. Athens, GA 30601 / Phone: 706-850-1224

 

 

Love On the Side
Creature Comforts Brewing Company

February 14 - Feb 25, 2017
Reception: Wednesday, February 15th, 2017 5-8 pm
271 W Hancock Ave. Athens, Ga 30601 / Phone: 706-410-1043

 

 

Solo Exhibition
Heirloom Cafe & Fresh Market

March through April, 2017
Reception: TBA
815 N. Chase St. Athens, Ga 30601 / Phone: 706-354-7901

 

 

Let There Be Art 2017
Invitational Art Show & Sale at Columbus Museum of Art

April 6-13, 2017
Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, GA 31906

 

 

Solo Exhibition
Ville de Felletin, France

June 21 - August 19, 2017
Reception: TBA
12 place Charles-de-Gaulle 23500 Felletin, France / Phone: 05 55 66 51 11
 

 

Workshop - Silk Painting
KA Artist Shop

Saturday, March 11, 2017 1-5 PM, KA Artist Shop
127 N Jackson St. Athens, GA 30601 / Phone: 706-850-1224

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO + TO SIGN UP!

Businesses That Inspire Me #2: American Giant

Sometimes I am so delighted by a business transaction that I feel compelled to share how good the experience - and the company - are. In this moment of admiration, I realize how much I can learn from a well-run, ethical company about how I should transact business with my customers. 

I first read about the apparel company American Giant on another blog post, and right away I knew this was a company I wanted to watch. The clothing looked comfortable and stylish, but it was the story that really grabbed my attention: American Made and Built to Last. I requested a catalog - because I love paper catalogs and getting things in the mail - and when it arrived I was even more pleased. The catalog was sumptuous, printed on nice heavyweight paper, with good color and layout, and great photography. The message was clear -  "We started American Giant with a simple goal: MAKE EXCEPTIONAL CLOTHES IN THE USA, AND OFFER THEM AT A FAIR PRICE."      

Wow - I like it! The attention to detail, the quality of the merchandise, and the way American Giant told their story all had me reaching for the “buy now” button. I ordered their newly released pant (“designed to fit and flatter every body type”) and essential hoodie, because for me - that is the perfect casual outfit!

Once I placed my order, the communication from the company was clear and timely. I was even more pleased with the speed of delivery. I received a message informing me that “The Pant” was so popular (even though it had just been introduced) that its expected ship date would be the day my zip hoodie was to arrive, but it turned out that it actually arrived with the rest of my order, making me very happy.

And oh, how I love a good box! Everything was packed neatly in a box that was just the right size. When my order arrived (so quickly!, even with free shipping), I had the perfect ensemble for travel, work, and kicking around town - a black fitted pant and a beautiful, comfortable, well-fitting black hoodie! I have been looking for the perfect black hoodie for a long time, and now I have found it. Once I tried my new purchases on, I realized how comfortable this outfit was. I was sold. So, lessons learned from this transaction are those I want to apply to my own practice:

  • Offer a great product (well made, timeless, and high quality and attention to detail).
  • Offer exceptional customer service (pay attention to your customer, anticipate questions, and keep in touch through every step of the transaction).
  • Use high quality, attractive packaging, and ship in a timely manner. 
  • Make the customer happy with their newly acquired item.
  • Offer Free returns - “any item, any reason, any time”
  • Include the Statement of Purpose everywhere - loud and clear and in easy to understand language

Now I can carry these lessons into my art business as it grows and blossoms. Planning for success means paying attention to lessons all around me.

Another business that inspires me? Moo! Check out my review HERE

Thanks for being here! What businesses are inspiring you lately? I'd love to hear!

SPEAKING OF INSPIRATION: LOVE OF THE LOCAL

If you're in Athens, be sure to see this exquisite exhibition with artist and textile designer (& yet another business that inspires me) Sara Parker:

February 6th-24th @ UGA

Improvisation in Repeat is the result of a process of deconstruction and play. These pieces each execute a concept or set of guidelines which, while agreed on in advance, require reconsideration and improvisation at every stage of creation. The concepts on display range from a mathematical approach to color mixing, layering to create depth and density, and color blending via image masking and transparency.

MORE INSPIRATION: MY LOVE OF LIFE 

Just a handful of images to give you a glimpse into my world. I am so fortunate to make work that I love and to travel!

Becky’s Salon

When my exhibit at the Columbus Museum came to a close, the experience of uninstalling the works was made a little brighter by knowing they would soon enliven a new space. My good friend Becky Ford, a longtime collector of my work, was preparing to receive the two pieces she had purchased. In celebration of her new acquisitions and her new home—a former church renovated beautifully into three living spaces—she had the brilliant idea of hosting a Salon, in the style of Gertrude Stein’s Saturday Salons, in her home. 

When she first saw the Columbus series, Becky was immediately drawn to one of the most abstract pieces, the “clouds” painting called “Central Hotel, Columbus, Ga.” This work captures an historic brick building in downtown Columbus that was built as the Central Hotel, and in its current state one can see the exposed fireplaces that were originally in each guest room. The site is now an open space used for dining and dancing; the space is made even more interesting by the absence of a roof (it has only iron support beams) and the windows that no longer hold panes of glass so that the sky, and the clouds, can be seen clearly through the old window openings.  

Becky also chose the art deco-inspired “Coca Cola Bottling Plant, Columbus, Ga.” painting whose image worked so very well in that long format. The piece highlights the art deco details of the bottling plant, including an octagonal window and a beautiful glass doorway. When Becky and I were in Columbus together recently I took her to see the building; she was so surprised and said it looked plain and bleak without my colors to enliven it! The structure is generally ignored, as it sits almost directly under an overpass. When I first painted it, it was housing a mechanic shop, but now, sadly, it sits empty again. Luckily, both of the works Becky chose were still available after the museum made selections for its permanent collection. 

True to form, Becky chose the perfect location for her new art. The paintings are 4’ x 10’, and with the tall ceiling and formerly blank wall in Becky’s living room, the art was displayed beautifully. When she realized the wall had space for a third work, “City Mills, Columbus, Ga.” joined its brethren. Becky hoped that displaying these three works would encourage others to invest in this series, too.

The gracious hostess assembled a small guest list for the Salon experience. Like Gertrude Stein, she wanted to ensure that everyone saw a mix of familiar and new faces so conversation would flow freely, artists would be inspired by one another, and new friendships would form. Some guests were already collectors of my work, some were familiar with my art but had not seen the Columbus series, and some were being introduced to it—and me—for the first time. 

It was wonderful to participate in an event inspired by some of my favorite artists; after all, Stein collected Matisse, Cezanne, Manet, Gauguin, and Picasso, among others. It was gratifying to overhear conversations about my art from others who were not as close to the creation, inspiration, and execution of the series as my immediate friends and family. It was exciting to see my art come alive in a new space, among people who were seeing it for the first time. 

Soon, the paintings will go to a gallery and become available for sale. If you are interested in purchasing one before then, or if you would like to host your own Salon-style event, please get in touch! The complete series can be seen on my website HERE.   

My deepest gratitude goes to Becky for her inspired idea and her steadfast support over the years.

A Sense of Place: Musings & Reflections on the Completion of a Museum Exhibition

 

Discovering the Chattahoochee Valley

Silk Paintings by René Shoemaker
August 23, 2015 - July 2016
 

My exhibit at the Columbus Museum is no longer on display; 

the closing reception has come and gone.

 

The silk paintings are rolled on cores, wrapped securely and labeled with tags.

 

They have come home.

 

As I drove back from Columbus with the art laid carefully on the back seat, I had many mixed emotions; thoughts swirled in my head; I vacillated between happiness and sadness.

 

I am so very, very proud that this exhibit happened. 

That Kristen Miller Zohn met me, liked my work, and proposed an exhibition.

 

That she had a vision, that we communicated well, and we created a body of work that was born by sharing ideas and feedback.

 

That my artistic vision resonated with others; that my mission in my art was welcomed by the public.

 

That I was invited to teach, to lecture, to be interviewed by the media and educators. That so many people were interested in what I had to say about my art, and about my life.

 

That children used my art as inspiration to create their own visions of Columbus.

 

I am a different person now.

I am more confident, I am strong, I am ready to take on the world.

 

My future as an artist is still unknown. What exactly is the career path for an artist?

But I know that my vision can be executed, and that I can reap the benefits of sharing my art.

 

Thank you to all those who have supported me and continue to support me.

 To those that believe in me, and always have. 

To my family and friends.

And to all those that know me through my art alone.

 

I have arrived.

 

 

 

 

MEET YOU AT GRAND CENTRAL!

Does the whole world pass through Grand Central Station? What a hub of activity and civilization! What an opportunity for more people to see my artwork! I am pleased to report that my Café Experience prints are now on display at Café Grumpy in Grand Central Station through May 31st. Here is a what it looks like if you walk into the Station:

Send your friends & family there to enjoy a great cup of coffee (in ceramic cups!) on their visit to NYC or on their daily commute. That way they can enjoy a coffee break and discover my artwork, too. (Gosh - I'm still waiting to be discovered by Anthropologie or West Elm - maybe this will do the trick!)

* * *

On top of all that the silk painting class held recently at KA Artist in Athens was a great success. We had a room full of creative participants, and the whole event was lots of fun. Here are some of the paintings-in-progress from that day:

 

Currently on display:
Café Grumpy Grand Central Terminal
Lexington Passage, New York City through May 31, 2016
 
Spring Showcase
KA Artist Gallery, Athens, Ga through June 2, 2016

Discovering the Chattahoochee Valley: 
Silk paintings by René Shoemaker
 The Columbus Museum, Columbus, Ga through July 2016

René exhibits Café Art in Brooklyn Feb.15 - March 15, 2016

I am so delighted to report I am exhibiting The Café Experience in Park Slope at my favorite Brooklyn coffeeshop - Café Grumpy! Please share this news with your NY friends - I'd love to meet anyone you know. I will be in NY Feb 14-20th. Happy Valentine's Day, y'all!



A DREAM COME TRUE: MY ART RECEPTION IN PARIS

Rene+Christina-2014-Web
 

November 12, 2014 - Truly one of the best days of my life. There was a crowd at the reception, half of whom were people I knew and their friends, and half of whom were total strangers to me. Such a nice mix! Everyone loved the artwork and asked lots of questions about my process, inspiration, etc. Most people spoke in French, and I did my best to reply to them in French.

During the reception, Christina, the cultural events coordinator, gave a talk about my work. Below is the text of her talk (translation courtesy of Etienne and Christina):

"I think René's artwork is very interesting. The pieces give a strong atmosphere , and you don't see people in the prints and paintings. There may be a dog that walks around, but otherwise you see only glasses and coffee cups. With these cups one can imagine the people behind the coffee; those who have prepared the coffee, or those drinking it. These art pieces are 'inhabited.' They invite us all to pick up the cup and enjoy some coffee.

I am very happy to introduce René to you all. This reminds me of the saying, 'Tell me what you drink (or eat); I’ll tell you who you are.' René embodies this idea. She travels through taste: she often comes to France, and she drinks good wine and good coffee. This is how she came to La Caféothèque: because she was looking for some good coffee to drink. That was one year ago. We communicated through e-mail and we met each other only one week ago. We actually found out that we make a great team!

I also  want  to thank Laure, who helped us a lot. She is a very sensitive person with art; she has good judgment and she can create stories through what she sees to share with others.

I am very happy to be here and share this time with you. The exhibition will be on display until January 7. I invite you all to have another look at the pieces . Enjoy!"

-Christina Chirouze Montenegro

Rene+Sign-800
ParisReception-2014-web

Working with my "team" in Paris

Christine+Laure-FirstDay-2014  

November 7, 2014. I AM SO HAPPY TO BE IN PARIS!! Met my "team" tonight - Christina Chirouze Montenegro & Laure Jubert. We looked over my art, decided how to hang it, and discussed our philosophies on art and life.

Christina & Laure loved their t-shirts I brought for them. I can tell that these two talented women are going to make great things happen!

Rene+ChristinaShoppingForFrames

November 8, 2014. Out shopping for picture frames, and having a coffee (of course!) at café Loustic in the Marais - where Laure works during the day. Event documented below -  with the inimitable Christina Chirouze Montenegro!

I'm exploring France and calling it research - how awesome is that?  What artwork will come from my current experiences? In just a few days we'll be celebrating the opening of my first exhibit in Paris!

 

 

 

Un Cafe, s'il vous plait

Beyond Excited!

La Table a la Cafeotheque de Paris, 4th

I am beyond excited

about my upcoming art show

in Paris!

 

I've been trying to remain calm and stay focused on my work, but now that the time for departure is near (October 14th), I find myself dancing in my shoes without moving my feet. (Did I really just make up that saying? - But, it's the way I feel!)

There is a Facebook Page for the exhibit & reception created by the venue; the reception will be held November 12, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. Please share the news with your friends who might be able to attend; I'm sad that my U.S. friends won't be able to be there with me, but I am certainly intending to make new friends while I am in Paris. I love art receptions!

I've been working hard printing all new beautifully colored prints for this exhibit, and I'm very happy with the results. I will have all the new café prints uploaded to my website before I leave, so you can see the results of this labor of love.

The image, above, is of the café table at La Caféothèque in Paris. Their coffee is superb! You can see the bag of coffee beans I bought and the delicious latte I was drinking when I made this sketch. Très fantastique!

Un café, s'il vous plaît 

Lino prints of the café experience by René Shoemaker La Caféothèque de Paris 52, Rue de l'Hotel de Ville Paris, France November 12, 2014 - January 7, 2015 Reception: Tuesday, Nov 12, 6:30 pm

French Coffee; French Landscapes

René Art is at Donderos’ Kitchen for the month of March. Both the Coffee Cup prints on paper and the silk paintings of the French experience are beautifully displayed together. The food at Donderos' is delicious, and the ambiance is fabulous - go check it out if you are in town! 590 N. Milledge Ave, Athens, GA, 30601

This is a precursor of the exhibit that will be in Paris at La Caféothèque this winter. Do come see if you won’t be able to make it to Paris for the opening!

 

Sleeping Under the Stars - Auvergne, France

This was a fabulous place where we camped for quite a long time. We went, we stayed, we left. We returned. We stayed. We loved it. Rolling hills, beautiful cows, shooting stars. It is in the middle of the country, almost equidistant to Paris, Spain, the Mediterranean, and the Atlantic Ocean.

The colors in this painting are very bold because I feel really, really good about this place.

[Art on exhibit now of my French experience at Aurum Studios in downtown Athens, GA for the month of February. ‘Widening the Horizon’ with Suzanne Gernandt, textile artist extraordinaire, of Waynesville and Asheville, NC.]

Illustration: Sleeping Under the Stars. Chenerailles, Limousin, France. 2014. Hand-painted silk charmeuse. By René D. Shoemaker