Thursday, April 17, 2014

Wake Up Your Joy - An Interview with Renie Britenbucher

Renie Britenbucher says she lives in Northeast Ohio but don't you believe it.  Renie lives in a wondrous, whimsical world that is at once hilarious and peaceful.  I dare you to bring any negative emotion to Renie's Web site.  When you find yourself humming "What A Wonderful World", you'll know you've entered Renie-land.

And you'll never want to leave.

Let's chat.
Field of Poppies
Q1.  What is your first memory of art?

A1.  I know I was very young. I remember being attracted to pictures in magazines and tearing them out. I don't think I had a concrete understanding of art yet, but loved pictures and images.
Colorful Yellow Chair
Red Poppies Still Life

Q2.  What is the first work of art you created?

A2. I'm not positive, but the one I consciously remember is drawing a picture of Wilma Flintstone, while watching The Flintstones on TV. I remember my parents being impressed with it, so it stuck with me (all about pleasing the parents)!

Q3.  Was there a point in your life when you decided to try art, or were you always an artist?

A3.  I was always an artist. I remember on days that I would be home from school, sick, I always felt like I should be creating something, like this creative buzz was always going on inside me and I had to express it.

Colorful Funky Cityscape
Q4.  Are there specific triggers that cause you to race to a blank canvas or do you impose a certain discipline on yourself?

A4.  So much makes me excited. I have folder upon folder of inspiring images. So, there isn't any one thing, just life. There's so much to express. I was going to say "capture" [instead of "express"] but that word doesn't fit with me. I never feel like I'm capturing something - it's an expression that is mine.

Kite Fliers with Dog
Q5.  A great deal of your art is sold internationally. How did you achieve such incredible world-wide exposure and success?

A5.  How I achieved the exposure is summed up in two words: hard work. [Editor's note: Well, maybe three words.]  Very hard work. It isn't easy, or at least it hasn't been, for me. I work at this almost every waking hour.

When I decided to do art full time, it was so scary. But it was new on the internet and it was so exciting. I've met artists from all over the country, and world. We stuck together in the early days. We had online groups where we would bounce around ideas on how to sell our work, what worked best for each of us, where to sell, how to market ourselves. It has taken consistency, and not giving up. I love doing this so much that it's a fire that pushes me to keep going.

I never take it for granted and never think I've accomplished anything because it's a magical mystery tour! It's this journey that I can't believe I get to be a part of. It's been pure joy for me and I guess that's what has allowed me to have some success.
Sunflowers Red Polka Dots
(Ceramic Tile)
Q6.  When you are working on a piece, is there a point at which you realize you have a masterpiece taking shape on the canvas?

A6.  I never think in terms of my work being a masterpiece. That thought never occurs to me. There are paintings I love more than others, for sure, And, some I really, really love. But to consider them a masterpiece just seems a little "off" for me. It doesn't fit. I see it as an expression of myself. And it sure makes me happy when someone else likes what I do. 

Gorgeous Day Tuscan Landscape
Needlepoint Folk Art
Q7.  Are there any artists you find particularly inspiring?  

A7.  I find so many artists inspiring. My favorite old master, like so many others, is Vincent Van Gogh. I love him, love all his work and the energy that flows through it. It feels alive to me, like you can see all the molecules moving. [Editor's note: That's the best description of Van Gogh's work I have ever read] And his love of color has always inspired my own love of color. I also love Marc Chagall very much. And Henri Matisse

There are many modern day artists I love. One that comes to mind is Sisille Girelli (she has another name, too) [Editor's note: Sisille Girelli also paints under the name Michelle D'Oyley], Debra Hurd, Snake Jagger. It's hard for me not to love most art. The only art that I don't respond well to is the darker art, or art that I find degrading to women. That does not appeal to me at all. 

Big Beach Diva Sunbathing

Q8.  Are there any non-artists you find particularly inspiring?

A8.  Hm, non-artists that I find inspiring? I probably answered this a little, previously, but I find just about anything inspiring. Laughing and good friends are inspiring to me. Going to the park is inspiring to me. Reading a good book is very inspiring to me. 

I am a very spiritual person and my spirituality, spiritual beliefs, inspire me a lot. My artwork has healed the inner child in me. It is amazing because it's created this space of joy in me that didn't exist before. Or, maybe it just woke up the joy that was there hidden under some painful life events. 

I don't know, but what I do know, is it is this huge gift. That, in and of itself, is inspiring to me.

White Houses Green Peace
Q9.  Please answer a question I didn’t ask.

A9.  I'll probably be painting, or in some way, creating art until the day I die. It's a passion inside me. I love so many creative processes and selling artwork online has opened new doors for me and new ways of thinking and doing art.

I license my artwork to several companies. That means they pay a fee to use my artwork on their products. One is the Immaculate Baking Company, which has my art on 2 flavors of cookies [Editor's note: Even if they're not chocolate, I will buy them because I love Renie] and also on their pie crust packaging. I license to companies who make home products like comforters and sheet sets, rugs, etc.

This has made me think in a different direction and I've been learning so much from this. I love this direction my art is taking me. You're never too old to learn new things, I'm finding. 

Fall Autumn Kids Rake Leaves
Blank Note Cards Pk of 10
Q10.  Where can we see (and purchase) your work?

A10.  I have a Web site. I also sell originals on Etsy. You can find my artwork on needlepoint at The Art Needlepoint Company. And one of the companies that makes products with my artwork is DENY Designs.

Sunset Sailboat

Thanks for stopping by, Renie.  There’s always a beagle to pet and a cup of hot tea at the ready in Lakewood.  Don’t be a stranger.


  1. I have known Renie for many years. Have recently renewed friendship. She has always had talent. Its so grand to see her work here each one is fantastic. If art shows the person you are (which I believe it does) you can see her beauty and living heart in her work. I am so glad for her success, she's earned it.

  2. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Renie's breadth of talent is amazing; she's explored so many avenues. I agree that art shows the person you are. That's what makes it scary at times. You can't hide from your own work. And Renie's work oozes happiness, love, beauty and joy.

    Hope to see you here again. --C

  3. You describe her work so well. It does ooze happiness, love, beauty
    and joy. I don't think I've ever seen colors expressed so vibrantly.
    If Van Gogh's molecules in his work are moving, Renie's are singing. I
    look forward to picking out a piece on etsy for my office. Thanks for
    sharing her work (and Renie herself) with your readers.

    1. Christyogini, that's beautiful - "...Renie's are singing." I'll make sure she see this comment. And please let me know which piece you choose for your office. I own one of the Tuscan Landscapes and it sings to me every day.

  4. Great interview. I'd seen Renie's paintings online but nice getting to know her a bit here. Beautiful work!