Renée Bates has always had an affinity for, and connection to the natural world around her. She spent several years as Executive Director of Greenways for Nashville, a non-profit organization that helps build supports the trails and pathways throughout Nashville so that everyone can enjoy the area’s natural beauty. She also married into a family nursery business where she gained experience with horticulture. A Nashville native, Renée’s parents were both raised on farms, and during her childhood years she could be found nurturing her love of birds and nature, a passion that continues to this day.
Renée has always been a visual person and her experience includes formal training in Interior Design from Watkins College of Art and Design in Nashville. She discovered an ability to express herself through painting in 2014, during a trip of solace and reflection following the passing of her mother. There, she attended her first workshop by the talented Kim Barrick on beautiful Monteagle Mountain and the rest, as they say, is history. “I was drawn to the visual and my creativity grew with decorating and entertaining, but I never had the courage to try painting,” said Renée. The immersion into painting combined with the idyllic surroundings and spiritual presence she felt validated her and would catalyze a change in direction. “I felt that I had finally found what I was supposed to be doing,” said Renée. So, in 2015, she resigned her position with Greenways for Nashville and plunged into painting fulltime.
Renée considers herself fortunate to live surrounded by the natural beauty of Tennessee, as well as enjoying travel in the U.S. and abroad, often bringing along her plein air easel, or sketchbooks and camera. "Sometimes people ask, 'You never painted before 2014?' I consider this a compliment and feel that every experience informs our work. I had plenty of creative work to that point. Learning to quickly vet photos that appealed to me from years of perusing 'pretty picture books' was particularly helpful."
Renée believes paintings evoke memories and can communicate or help emote the gamut of emotions for both the artist and the viewer. “I am having a great time learning to express in this realm; walking through the fear of the unknown, letting go of the result and taking action, exploring mediums, surfaces, compositions, endless possibilities. 'There are seven hundred things you need to know to make a good painting,' said someone in a workshop recently. This is going to take a while though I see progress in the work, having more experience to draw from and seeing improved time in making decisions,” said Renée.
"This is a beautiful and adventurous road, and I couldn't travel it were it not for the support of a loving husband and constant cheerleader, David Bates, along with my children, Jason and Sara. Any creative person who has the backing of an encouraging life partner offering stability and unwavering belief in you gives a freedom and firm foundation to build upon," said Renée.
Renée embraces the idea that creativity is a divine spiritual and physical component designed by, and to the delight of, our creative Creator. “I'm grateful to have finally felt enough love from the universe to give myself space and permission to try.”
Continually seeking instruction and exposure to techniques and methods, and appreciating the availability of a prolific local art scene, additional to Kim Barrick, Renée has studied with Kevin Macpherson, Charles Brindley, Dawn Whitelaw, Anne Blair Brown, and Charlie Hunter among others. A growing list of artists' influence, present and past, includes John Singer Sargent, Joaquin Sorolla, Georgia O'Keefe, William Stanley Haseltine, Richard Schmid, Kim English, Brian Rutenberg, Kathleen Dunphy and Tibor Nagy.
Paintings are available for purchase. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 615-642-3007.
Honor the Earth, Friends of Warner Parks / The Chestnut Group 2018
Art Crawl, Nashville Pilates Co. Houston Station, December 2017
Solo Show, Bates Nursery & Garden Center, November 2017
Love the Lake, Love the Land, Friends of Radnor Lake, The Chestnut Group, Nashville, 2017
Art Studio Open House, Two Artists Show, Nashville, 2017
Chestnuts at the Hermitage, Hermitage Association / The Chestnut Group, 2017
Holiday Open House / Wilkinson Residence, December 2016
Scenes of the Harpeth, Harpeth Conservancy / The Chestnut Group, 2016
Love the Lake, Love the Land, Friends of Radnor Lake / The Chestnut Group 2015
Cumberland on Canvas, Cumberland River Compact / The Chestnut Group, 2015
A Heart for the Parks, Friends of Warner Parks / The Chestnut Group, 2015
University School Evening Classes, 2018
University School Evening Classes, 2017
University School Evening Classes, 2016
The Chestnut Group, President, 2018