The Gallery @ Barr Photographics announces the holiday installment of the Corner
Gallery’s 2017 exhibition series, with an exhibit of oil and mixed media paintings entitled “Peaceful Pathways” by award winning, Bluff City TN, plein aire artist, Renee Pitts.
Renee Ledford Pitts grew up in the beautiful area of East Tennessee where mountains, meadows, rivers, and streams provided inspiration and solace. She began her art path as a child, inspired and motivated by the creativity of her grandmother and mother. Renee’s grandmother was a quilter and maker of everything it seems; her mother was a painter for Blue Ridge Pottery located in the beautiful mountains of Erwin, TN. Renee loved creating art as a child. In her biographical sketch, Renee reflects on the first time a kindergarten teacher put a brush in her hand and stood her in front of the classroom easel. It was a magical moment, one that prompted her to think of herself as an artist. Later in her matriculation Renee decided to use her creativity and passion for life to help others so she pursued a degree in education culminating in a BS Education, East Tennessee State University. Renee became a secondary school art teacher for both public and private high schools in Tennessee for thirty years. Renee found that art was a connection to others, which inspired a cognizance, from deep within a person’s spirit that could not be found in other subjects. She also found that art would not let her rest without continuing to pursue her own artistic career. To that end, Renee acquired a Masters in Art from East Tennessee State University. From that moment to present, she has continued to learn, grow, and develop as an artist in her own right. Attending workshops, classes, and receiving mentoring from many different artists known internationally and nationally have helped her develop her style and techniques. Because of her experience as an art teacher working with many different genres of art, mediums, and forms, Renee has developed a desire for employing different mediums and moves back and forth between them finding inspiration and motivation for her artwork. Creating from fiber, mixed media, watercolor, drawing, using inks and producing beautiful papers, Renee loves it all. This fascination with art mediums and their inherent techniques broadens her approach to various mediums and helps her find a constant source of enthusiasm for creating new works. The famous artists, about whom she taught her students, are held like reference cards in her mind and their works, techniques and approach to work have influenced her immensely. Groups like The Hudson Valley painters, American Scene Painters, the Impressionists are a constant source of revelation which inspires Renee to bring her own voice to the art world, and most importantly to those with whom she comes in contact. Renee draws further inspiration from the beauty of creation, its display of purpose, life-giving cycles, and exhibition of the design principles provide a never-ending source for her work as a plein air artist, which she considers a calling, and passion, ever learning, trying new techniques.
In her Artist’s Statement, Renee reveals, ““I want to invite the viewer to stop and observe the beauty of life in the extraordinary moments and scenes from our everyday lives. We are so busy that we do not see the message of joy, hope, and renewal that God has placed before us in His creation. If we pause to notice the elements of art in our settings, the colors, the lines, values in the beautiful scenery around us we can find a peace for that moment, a healing sense that there is something worth noticing and appreciating and learning about life no matter who we are, where we are, or what we are doing. Taking a moment to enjoy beauty rests our soul and transports us to another place, outside our troubling or taxing circumstances. I want the compositional arrangement of light, color, texture, value, and movement to speak to the viewer in such a way that the moment captured belongs to his or her own experience."
When she and husband, George Pitts, head basketball coach at King University, moved back to the area from Brentwood Tennessee, they found the perfect place to experience the beauty of East Tennessee in the rolling hills and meadows of Sullivan County. Renee enjoys plein air painting from this little slice of heaven, and maintains a home studio that looks out at the Holston Mountain and its beautiful foothills. Because she enjoys teaching and sharing the joy of art creation to others she opens her studio to workshops and classes. These “Art Around the Table’ opportunities allow others to grow and develop as artists too.
No matter where she travels, she finds time to paint the landscape, to appreciate the life that God has given her and the beauty He has given to us to enjoy. These beautiful places, these beautiful scenes become paintings and she hopes that they are more than just a pretty picture on the wall. She wants to inspire a desire for joy, respite, peace that is found in nature, and a responsibility to sustain and protect the beautiful places we have the opportunity to experience.
“Peaceful Pathways” will be celebrated with a gala reception and demonstration of technique by Ms Pitts, to which the public is cordially, invited, on Friday, 08 December from 7 - 9:00 PM in The Gallery @ Barr Photographics, 152 E. Main Street, Abingdon, Virginia. “Peaceful Pathways” will hang, and be offered for sale, through 31, January 2018. The Gallery @ Barr Photographics is housed in the Greenway Trigg Building, located in the heart of Abingdon’s main street historic district. Please call 276- 628-1486 or visit http://barrphotographics.com for further information.
Photo #1: “Enlightenment”, Oil by Renee Pitts
Photo #2: “Open Door”, Oil by Renee Pitts