RenaLee M. Richards (Re), born in NH, started her training in her elementary school years at the Currier Gallery Art Center in Manchester, NH. She attended an all-girl’s preparatory school in Hudson, NH with emphasis on the fine arts; during which time she won the Union Leader Sunday News art contest with a pen and ink drawing of a young girl peeking into a carved pumpkin. While in high school she furthered her studies at both the N H Institute of Art (n/k/a Institute of Art and Design at New England College) and Jean’s Unicorn Ceramics in Salem, NH. In 1983 she continued her studies at Springfield College, in Springfield, MA as an Art-In-Urban Life major towards becoming an art therapist. During her college years she interned with Frank’s Signs in Manchester toward a career in the commercial arts as well as one summer spent with Winzelor Typography learning about magazine and print advertising.
Her home studio is located in Merrimack, NH, where she lives with her husband John David Richards an MBA graduate. She is a mother of 2 grown children, Dr. Melissa Ann Rose PhD in Nuclear Engineering and Benjamin James Richards a Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineer. Her latest role is that of grandmother to Colby Alexander and Cooper Augustus Rose.
Re considers herself to be a fine arts artist who prefers to work in oils but while working from home during COVID19 switch to acrylics. She also likes to work in watercolor, and pen and ink. She has spent time as an outdoor photographer specializing in birds and landscapes. Her past work has been displayed at Beaver Brook Association in Hollis, NH. Her photos have been published in the calendars of First NH Bank (n/k/a Citizen’s) and Oxford Health Plans (n/k/a United Harvard Pilgrim Health). She has worked on miscellaneous projects such as business cards for a local attorney, set design for the annual skating show for the Southern NH Skating Club, and commission pieces for office art and gifts as well. She most recently won third place in the acrylics category of the Nashua Area Artist's Associations annual Greeley Part Art Show, for her piece "The Bluebird Lands".
In searching for my identity as an artist I have been influenced by Georgia O’Keefe’s love of design in nature, Weyth’s love of rural Maine, and the impressionists of Connecticut for their interpretation of the world around them with their use of pastel colors and dotted imagery. I live by the words of my teacher in college who said “There are no mistakes in art”. I try not to let my type A; OCD personality keep me from completing a piece. It doesn’t need to be perfect; it just needs to be done. B work is better than struggling for an A and learning nothing along the way. For in the errors, I find inspiration for my next piece.
Every artist naturally puts a piece of themselves into every portrait, just as they tend to be attracted to the use of certain colors. I find my work to be heavy in shades of green despite my favorite color being yellow gold tones. My art tends to be dark in hues much like my life as a child was. Finding the sun and happiness didn’t come till my later adult years. I was told in high school and college I didn’t have what it took to be a commercial artist. For years I let that define me. But now I know being a commercial artist trying to please the masses is not where I will find true happiness anyway. Happiness for me comes from being a Fine Artist studying the world around us, interpreting it and recreating how I see it for others to enjoy. And that is what I am.