Brush with Art: Artist plants creative seeds at Sunshine Gardens

Brush with Art: Artist plants creative seeds at Sunshine Gardens
Renée Miller strikes a pose in the doorway of her vintage studio, now in its new location at Sunshine Gardens in Encinitas. Photo by Kay Colvin

It’s no small coincidence that Solana Beach artist Renée Miller’s given name means “reborn.” The 35-year-old painter and art instructor often recreates herself and is now breathing new life into an old structure that she recently renovated and moved to Encinitas.

The Solana Beach native has a natural talent for approaching life creativity. While a student at Torrey Pines High School, she participated in the summer program at Laguna College of Art and Design and later spent a semester studying at Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz with a bachelor’s degreee in Fine Art, she returned to Italy to study under American painter Paul Beel, during which time her paintings were exhibited in the Uffizi Center, an extension of the famed Uffizi Gallery of Florence. Miller considers her most significant artistic influence to be mentor Rod Knutson, northern California artist known locally for his paintings in the Pamplemousse Grill near Del Mar’s racetrack.

After four years of intensive art study in Italy, Miller returned to the U.S. to further develop her career in New York City. She reflects on her 2008 return to the San Diego area, “It was important for me to come back home to plant the seeds I had collected through years of being away.”

Miller’s paintings have been shown in national art expositions such as the Affordable Art Fair in New York. Through June 21, 2015, her painting titled “You Can Leave the Light On” is on exhibit in the international juried “San Diego Dreaming” exhibition at Oceanside Museum of Art.

Renée Miller’s “You Can Leave the Light On” (Oil on linen, 48 x 36 inches) is currently on display in the San Diego Dreaming exhibition at Oceanside Museum of Art. Courtesy photo

Renée Miller’s “You Can Leave the Light On” (Oil on linen, 48 x 36 inches) is currently on display in the San Diego Dreaming exhibition at Oceanside Museum of Art. Courtesy photo

Although she had never intended to go into teaching, Miller began working privately with artistically inclined children in a repurposed landscape maintenance shed in Solana Beach. During the past eight years her popularity has grown exponentially as word spreads of Miller’s success with budding young artists.

Consistent with her creative approach to life, Miller recognized the untapped potential of a former chicken coop originally constructed in 1950 at Feather Acres Farm and Nursery in Del Mar.

Over the course of several months she upgraded the bedraggled structure, transforming it into a fully functional studio and teaching facility where she painted and conducted art classes. When Feather Acres was recently sold, owners of the 60-year-old horse ranch and nursery offered Miller the newly improved building at no cost if she would have  it relocated.

Miller’s search for an appropriate location ended upon discovering a vacant portion of Sunshine Gardens in Encinitas, which called for something consistent with existing businesses including Organic Hammer, North County Olive Oil Company, Betty’s Pie Whole, and Twigs by Teri. She quickly knew this was the ideal home for the revived Renée Miller Studios.

The building was relocated in early June, just in time for Miller to prepare for her summer art camps, scheduled to begin June 22. Each of Miller’s every-other week camps is designed to expand imaginations and learn art techniques with themes such as “Under the Sea” and “Making Magic”. In the rustic Sunshine Gardens environment, students will also spend time with animals while learning about nature, gardening and creativity.

Once again Miller is doing what comes naturally — creating something original and valuable where potential was previously unrecognized and unrealized.

Renée Miller Studios are located at Sunshine Gardens, 155 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas, CA 92024.

Visit ReneeMillerStudios.com for more information on Miller’s artwork and summer art camps or to enroll a student.

 

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