Today we invited Renée Bouffard-McManus of Renée Anne to join us for a little Q+A session. Renée's work has a storybook feel I find with soft water coloured images of painterly landscapes, woodland animals, insects and birds. Here's our interview.
Tell us a little bit about you. Where did you train or study and what led you to the path you currently are on?
I'm in my early thirties and married to my childhood sweetheart. We have 2 young boys and they keep us busy. Currently, we live in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario which is a border town in Northern Ontario where Lake Superior and Lake Huron meet. Both my husband and I were born and raised in Northern Ontario.
I'm a self-taught artist. Since I was a young girl I was always loved drawing and crafting. I began to paint with watercolor about 15 years ago but got more serious about my work in 2008 when I opened my Etsy shop. From my original work I make reproduction prints and paper goods. I have a small upstairs studio in our house; it's a perfect space for what I need right now and I love that I can work from home.
What's your main focus currently and/or how would you describe your current design aesthetic?
Currently I'm focusing on refining my work. My design aesthetic is for the most part inspired by simple natural beauty and by the delicate quality of memory. My work is quite nostalgic but also chic and eclectic.
Love your work - can you explain that design process?
My work starts with painting. I paint from my own photographs or from memory. I paint alone and often while listening to music. Once I have a painting I scan it and put it onto paper goods, like cards, garlands and cupcake toppers. I've always loved the idea of using my work on something that can essentially be functional art. I design, print, cut and assemble my paper goods in my little studio. I take great care in making sure that the materials I use for my work are of high quality. For example, I seek out rare, one of a kind, vintage ribbon for my garlands and use lovely 100% post-consumer card paper for my paper goods.
What designers/makers/architects, etc do you look up to, are influenced by or inspire you?
I like to keep up with interior design coming out of Canada and the U.K as well as France and often my work is influenced by this.
My mother, aunt and uncle's artwork have greatly influenced my work. They taught me how to draw, mix color and be innovative with my art.
Since I am from Northern Ontario, I have been greatly inspired by and look up to the Group of Seven, especially since the landscapes that inspired them are the same that inspire me.
A few other artists that inspire me:
Bobbie Burgers (painter/her luscious use of color and size in her work) http://www.bobbieburgers.com
Robert-Ralph Carmichael (local painter/his landscapes and the fact that he makes all of his own frames - his work is featured on the Canadian one dollar coin)
Carolyn Gavin (artist/designer/founder at Ecojot paper products)
Where else do you pull inspiration from?
I'm stirred by themes of nature like, birds, butterflies, lakes and skies as well as childhood memories and the quality of memory in general. I am moved by treasured times of family, home and love but also moments of loss and sickness in light of the former. These themes of remembrance are most often communicated in my work through images of nature and items like bits of lace and paper.
Any sneak peeks or plans you can share of new or future things on the go?
I am planning on expanding my paper goods line to be even more party and occasion friendly. There will be more intentional work focusing on bridal and baby showers and children's birthdays as well as continuing to paint more watercolors for the home. I also just took photos of some sweet migrating spring birds and I plan to paint them soon.
Thanks Renée! Find Renée Anne online:
Shop : http://reneeanne.etsy.com/
Blog : http://reneeanneblog.blogspot.ca/