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12 Questions: Reni Gower

Updated: Nov 2, 2019

1. What are 1-3 books that have influenced your life? 

I love reading fiction, the more complex the story line - the better.  A good example is John Fowles, The Magus.  

2. What are you currently working on? While it is still warm outside (so I can have the doors and windows open) I am working on new encaustic pieces that use similar stencils as my papercuts. Soon I will be turning my attention back to painting and monoprints.  Wearing my curatorial hat, I am packing artwork for my traveling exhibition FLASHPOINTS: Material / Intent / Fused

3. How has failure set you up for later success? What was your favorite failure? I do not believe in failure....Everything whether immediately successful or not, takes you further down the road and deeper down the "rabbit hole."  I am happy to revisit, rework, and recycle older works and/or materials or simply start something totally new.  

4. What is your most unusual habit? 

My habits are not unusual - I love to walk my dog, swim, read, and watch movies.

5. If you could have any painter, living or dead paint your portrait who would it be and why? 

Yikes! I do not even like my photograph taken, so I would not want a portrait painted of me.  I'd love to own a painting by Pierre Bonnard. 6. What is the most indispensable item in your studio/workspace/office? What is your studio like? Could you share an image? Space and Time:  Having a dedicated space that is large enough to manage multiple activities at the same time.  I am very spoiled with a studio/office that is about 1000 square feet.  While it is usually a bit chaotic, I can divide activities between clean and messy.  Being able to walk away from the mess without cleaning up is a luxury.  

7. When you feel overwhelmed or uninspired what do you do? What do you do to get out of a funk? What questions do you ask yourself? I keep working.   8. Who/What influences your work? Islamic tilework, Celtic Knotwork, Amish piece Quilts, and travel 9. Do you collect anything? I collect paperweights, decorative boxes, books, and art. 10.  What words of advice would you give to your younger self? Be generous.  Be grateful.  Keep working.  11.  In the last five years what new belief, or habit has most improved your life or studio practice? I retired in December 2018 after a 37 year career teaching in a university setting.  While I loved working with my students, I am thrilled to be in my studio every day with the freedom to travel whenever I choose.  12.  Share an inspiring image.

My dog - Ruby - hope she makes you smile!

Reni's work is available on ARTSY and on view at James May Gallery as a part of the exhibition: ECHO.

Exhibition dates: Oct 31- Dec 30

James May Gallery

213 Steele Street

Algoma, WI 54201


Thu-Sat 10-5

*or by appointment



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