With an intuitive approach to the creative process, artist Renée Beyda embraces every act of living as a work of art. From cooking, reading and tweeting to indulging her fascination with people in her free flowing portrait work, Beyda allows all the sensory impressions of daily life to fuel her. To find out more about Renée Beyda’s world, keep reading!
You seem to have a signature style in terms of figurative drawing. Can you tell us about your process?
I once heard of an artist saying that he gets out of the way so art can happen. In many ways I feel the same. While I hold the marker, brush, or stylus in my hand and am mindful as I draw to balance design, form lines that are smooth, and bring commentary to my work, I try to relax and allow a certain flow guide my movements. Much of my preliminary drawing is done quickly and spontaneously in a way that makes me feel that I am tapping into some grand creative force. I feel honored to be a part of it.
I favor using a black marker on smooth white Bristol board. After the basic drawing is done, I fill in and design backgrounds with ink or paint.
I’ve also begun to use a digital drawing tablet and am amazed at the versatility the computer allows an artist. I look forward to exploring the seemingly endless tools and palettes offered.
There is a playful whimsical quality to your artwork. Who are your subjects? Are they real or imaginary people?
Sometimes I’ll draw someone I know, usually asking them to present their profile. More often, I just let the images emerge from my imagination and am surprised at what appears on the page. After I finish drawing, I begin to interpret the images as one would a dream. I’ll notice that I drew a depiction of a man I saw on the street earlier or a woman who helped me in a store the day before. My feelings about the person will show by the way I depict his very big brain (I heard he was smart,) or her modest pose (She’s a bit shy.) When I draw a couple or group of people, it is usually because I had been thinking about these people and their relationships to each other. I have drawings that speak of unrequited love, turbulent love, peaceful love…One amusing thing that happens from time to time is that I find myself drawing an imagined version of a character in a novel I’m reading.
How does your background in textile design impact your drawing process? Do you start with your backgrounds or the people in your images first?
During high school and college, I painted on clothing, which sold in various boutiques. I also designed textile designs (before computers!). I use patterns to enrich the backgrounds and always draw the face and bodies first.
There is an abstract and painterly quality to your images as well. Your color palette is very specific in its tone and adherence to shades of blue and burgundy with black lines. Do you ever venture into other colorful territory?
I never did grasp the concepts of the color wheel (nor perspective,) and favor just letting my taste and mood dictate how I gather hues. I love all color, tint, and shade and feel that every single one can be made to look great. I don’t hold myself back from using a dull-looking yellow, a very bright blue or a dusty pink. I believe that there is no ugly color.
Lastly, do you make other types of artwork? Photographs? And, if so is it also based on people? Are there any particular artists that inspire you?
I have created collages, painted abstract designs on clothing, and enjoy taking photographs. I feel we are treated to countless visual delights daily and find art in almost everything I see: Tangled phone wires against a white sky; bugs; stacks of colorful garbage, layers of peeling linoleum (I once created a series of collages from my parents’ old kitchen floor tiles,) and then the usual stuff: sunlight after rain, stretching fields of swaying grass… Perhaps I am most fascinated by people – alone or interacting – of every color, shape, gender, and nationality – in their clothing, their costumes – the colors, combinations, patterns, cuts, and folds. I will never ever get over how many people there are in the world and how each one has distinct characteristics and a unique tale; each is a masterpiece!
For me, everything I do is an art project, from arranging pillows on the couch to placing vegetables on a salad to dressing up a table to selecting words for a tweet.
I am inspired by the numerous decorators I follow on Instagram and by the artist Hirschfeld, whose work leaves me awestruck every time I look at it. But truly, I am moved by all artists. I believe it is a combination of godliness, sensitivity, and generosity that makes artists create and share, so whether I am a fan of what I see on a canvas or hear on a stage, I stand up and applaud the efforts of all the creators out there.