Renée Switkes is a floral painter celebrating the beauty of nature and symbolism of flowers.
Silicon Valley, CA / United States
Renée’s inspiration comes from the photographs she captures in nature and the gardens she visits. She began painting flowers to process her grief at the loss of her close friend Phyllis Semple who was like a second mom to her. As a teen, Renée spent time with Phyllis in her gardens and enjoyed making bouquets from her rose bushes. After painting around a dozen rose paintings, Renée read “The Language of Flowers” by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, which introduced her to the symbolism of flowers. This inspired Renée to paint a wide variety of flowers to express her heart and mind.
Renée is from Silicon Valley, California where life is fast-paced and she feels most balanced and nourished in nature and in her backyard studio. Her desire to bring joy and a sense of calm propels her to paint so that others can also embrace this in their homes and offices. Her florals are in private collections in Hawaii, California, Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and France.
Renée earned her Bachelor of Arts at San Jose State University with honors. Along with taking studio courses, she trained as an art teacher and has been fostering a love of art in her students since 2000. She enjoys creating with her students as well as with her two children. Renée began exhibiting her work in 2021 and has had her paintings in 24 exhibitions. In 2022 she was one of only five artists selected for the NCWCA mentorship program. In May 2023 she will have her first solo show at the Phantom Art Gallery in Milpitas, California.
My soul feels best when painting. I have overcome many obstacles life has thrown at me and my art helps me get through each challenge. I choose to focus on the beauty around us, not the challenges. I also create because I desire to share light and joy, especially when the darkness in the world looms and threatens to take it away.
My process begins by visiting gardens and taking photos of flowers that catch my eye. Certain flowers evoke sentiments I feel my soul needs to express. I paint with acrylics in layers, in one small area at a time. I especially like to mix colors to show the delicate opaque surface of each flower and the tender transparency as the light shines through it. My methodical painting process brings a centering balance to my life. Essentially, painting flowers helps me focus, enjoy nature's simple beauty, and share my desire for others to feel joy and a deeper connection to nature.