“I was always interested in art,” reminisced Renee Pearson, and her talent was evident from her youth. “My parents encouraged me to have outside interests and they supported my love of art.” Pearson’s talent was confirmed with several awards while she was still in high school. These included a Gold Key award presented by the mayor of Boston and a scholarship to attend a series of Saturday morning classes at the Boston Museum of Fine Art.
Despite her success with art, Pearson’s parents guided their daughter toward a practical field. She chose nursing and completed a baccalaureate degree. But she wasn’t passionate about nursing.
“We were living in northern California after our second child was born when I returned to school to continue my art education. I earned a BFA in 1980 from Cal State Hayward,” she said.
While in school, Pearson studied a variety of mediums and techniques: “We explored everything from printmaking and sculpting to painting in a variety of media. I liked to paint but decided that oils weren’t going to work with small children at home—too smelly and too difficult to clean up. I had only taken one watercolor class in school, but I liked it.”
She joined a local artists’ group to have the support of other artists and entered the group’s contests and shows. This forced her to create new paintings and to improve her work. Soon, she and another artist opened a gallery in Pleasanton, California where they both showed their work.
The Pearsons later moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico where Renee showed her work at the Arlene Siegel Gallery. Her paintings were also exhibited at Studio W in Ruidoso and Memories of Old Town in Albuquerque. They settled in SaddleBrooke six years ago. “The Fine Arts Guild and that supportive group of artists is one of the reasons we chose this community. That and year-round golf for my husband,” she smiled.
“I love color. In California, florals were my thing. I also like close-up work and still-life arrangements. Since moving to the Southwest, I’ve branched out to paint cacti and other desert plants and animals. I occasionally try something different. Classes provide great inspirations for getting new ideas,” she said.
“Watercolor is still my favorite medium—-you can layer the colors or be more spontaneous, add color and just let it do its thing,” she explained. “To do this, I glaze my work with transparent watercolor, making sure the previous layers are dry. This allows some of the under color to show through which creates the luminosity. My whites are the white of the paper.”
Creating work that is increasingly complex is Pearson’s current goal. “I’m aiming to get into a particular juried show—but I’m very particular about having something that’s good enough to enter. I’m aiming for more complexity,” she said. Given that Pearson garnered a series of art awards, including two Best of Shows in 2013, 2015 and 2016 from the Southern Arizona Watercolor Guild there’s no doubt that she’ll rise to meet her self-imposed challenge for 2017.