We often think of the land as a steady element in nature when in fact the land and sky are evolving and changing ceaselessly. Nature as a whole is never a static element and should be a constant reminder of change and growth, unpredictable and powerful. We as humans also shape and alter the natural landscape in order to fit our needs and that too contributes to the landscape of today.
I feel that the power and movement in the land is often lost in artwork and photography, which by nature is fairly static and representative of a snapshot in time. The challenge of capturing this movement is what attracts me to impressionist painting.
Although many impressionist painters set out to capture a single moment, they were also able to infuse their work with a movement that makes the painting feel alive – you can feel their hand working on the painting and see each distinct decision they made through every brush stroke or mark. My goal is to capture that kind of a timeless element and movement – not only in the subject matter but to the application of the paint as well.
By nature, the act of landscape painting itself forces movement. Whether it is hiking to a location, driving across continents, visiting places in the world, or experiencing the new ways the land is formed and pieced together, it all demands physical movement by the artist.
Formally, my paintings are contemporary-impressionistic works. All of my work is done with oil paint on canvas. First I apply my orange tint to the surface. I then proceed with my under-painting and my final layers. My paintings are ala-prima (one session), so I am always working with wet-on-wet paint giving me freedom to move and manipulate the medium. Painting this way allows me to work in one layer, which helps to keep a fresh quality to my work. I also refer to my style of painting as gestural painting because I always stand to paint and am very active, applying quick broad brush strokes.
My inspirations stretch from impressionist artists like Degas, Toulouse Lautrec, Manet, Monet and Pissarro to painters like Andrew Wyeth and Edward Hopper. I’m also very interested in printmaking techniques like woodcut prints and screen printing – the use of minimal colors, layering colors and keeping colors separated are all elements I utilize in my work.
Renee Hartig is a landscape painter who juxtaposes nature and human influence. Inspired by the land, she often paints it interrupted by telephone poles, train stations, orchards, or homes, saying, “I feel that the often-overshadowed land is as important as the modern technology that we have placed in and between our contemporary world.” The combination of subtle and pronounced elements in her landscapes expose the influence man has over nature.
Hartig paints alla-prima, completing each work in just one session by building colors while the paint is wet. This “wet on wet” technique requires a fast way of working because the painting must be finished before the first layer of paint is dry. Hartig has adapted to these time constraints with loose brush stokes which allow her to move and manipulate the paint quickly and effectively. This also allows for the signature burnt orange stain of the canvas which peek through the paint in less worked areas, creating depth and texture.
Hartig received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from Kendall College of Art and Design in 2006. In 2004 she studied at the Studio Art Centers International in Florence Italy. Hartig is one of the youngest artists represented by LaFontsee Galleries, something one would not know by simply looking at her work, as she paints with skill beyond her years.
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Painting, Kendall College of Art and Design, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Studio Art Centers International, Florence, Italy
“Collective”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI
“Perception & Intention”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI
"Freshly Considered", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids,
"Everyone in the Pool", LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan
"Collective Alchemy", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan
"Let's Get Started", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan
"Look Out", LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan
"Everyone in The Pool", LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan
“Lookie Here”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan
“Annual Fall Celebration”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan
“URBAN/RURAL Michigan Outlook”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan
“Unusual Suspects”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan
“Hop Skip & a Jump”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan
“Out of the Polar Vortex”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan
“25 Year Gala”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan
“Fresh Squeezed and Locally Grown”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan
“Act II”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan
“Come Out and Play”, LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan
“Fall at The Lakeshore”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan
“Opening Celebration”, LaFontsee Galleries, Douglas, Michigan
“New Artists - Fresh Look, Work, View", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI
“Miniature Works by Enormously Talented Artists", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, MI
“20/20/20", LaFontsee Galleries, Grand Rapids, Michigan
"Sheltered Spaces", Solo Exhibition, Gallery 50, Traverse City, Michigan
"Annual Juried Spiritual Art Competition", Celebration 2007, Grand Rapids, MI
“On the Wing", Exploding Head Gallery, Sacramento, California
“Land In Process", Solo Exhibition, Van Singel Fine Arts Center, Gainey Gallery, Byron Center, Michigan
“Fresh Off The Block”, Kendall College of Art and Design, Grand Rapids, MI
“Thumb Area Regional Arts Exhibition", Stark Weather Gallery, Romeo, MI
“78th Annual Regional Exhibition", Muskegon Museum of Art, Juried Exhibition, Muskegon, Michigan
Festival of the Arts, Grand Rapids, MI
“78th Annual Regional Exhibition", Celebration 2006, Grand Rapids, Michigan
“Florence Italy", Two-Person Exhibition, Kendall College of Art and Design, Grand Rapids, Michigan
“77th Annual Regional Exhibition", Juried Exhibition, Muskegon Museum of Art, Muskegon, Michigan
"Remembered Places", Two-person Exhibition, DAAC Gallery, Grand Rapids, MI
"5in by 5in", Lo-Fi Gallery, Grand Rapids, Michigan
HONORS AND AWARDS
Honorable Mention, American Heart Association "Go Red" Competition, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Honorable Mention, Kendall College of Art and Design Student Art Gallery, "Fresh off the Block," Grand Rapids, Michigan
Second Place Winner, Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, "Art Battle V ," Grand Rapids, Michigan
COMMISSIONS, COLLECTIONS AND PROJECTS
Mural, National Heritage Academy, Walker Charter Schools, Walker, Michigan
Mural, Wenger's Bowling Alley, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Mural, National Heritage Academy, Knapp Charter Schools, Grand Rapids, MI
25 Year Book, LaFontsee Galleries
Home NW Portland Style, NW Portland Magazine, Business Guide, Fall / Winter
The Best of the Good Life, Detroit Home Magazine, September / October 2007