We had the good fortune of connecting with Kathy Rennell Forbes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kathy, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
I think continuing to learn new things every day. I have taken in person workshops and now virtual art classes to improve my painting skills – several per year. I attend several art marketing workshops, courses on presenting and teaching online. I also teach classes, which forces me to learn even more and to put it into practice. I consistently work on both my paintings, my art business and teaching. I am fortunate that I love what I do and I work at it every day.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Although I earned my BFA in art/art education, the month before I graduated they dropped art and music classes. After working in the corporate world for a decade, I took time off to raise our kids. I started taking art classes again and was hooked. I did not realize how much I missed that creative side of me. When my youngest child was in middle school, I was encouraged to teach art classes to adults by another mentor and artist, Dolores Kennedy.
I started off small with teaching just one class. I have since taught in multiple locations in and around Atlanta. I then grew that to present workshops around the state and the Southeast, primarily in watercolor. I teach both in the classroom and “en plein air” (painting outdoors from life). Then I was invited to teach a workshop in Italy. I have taught there many times now, plus in Cuba, Spain and France. One of my favorite places to teach workshops is at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico.
In 2019 I started teaching online classes through Patreon. It is a subscription class with new art lessons 5 days per week depending on your level of participation. It includes video lessons that you can watch at your own pace and paint along. I have added more virtual and interactive classes this year that are listed on my website. While teaching I also paint on my own and enter into art competitions.
One of my proudest moments was winning the quick paint at the Olmsted Plein Air event in 2016. The next year I was an invited master artist for the week long competition hosted by Olmsted. Last October and again this year, I was invited to Olmsted Georgia Color to paint the beautiful lake country in Eatonton, GA and nearby towns. I love the opportunity to paint new, inspiring landscapes and getting to know new collectors. It is also fun to paint, talk and laugh with all the artists.
I also enjoy hosting studio events with Cathy Ehrler at Studio Z, where we display new creations. It is also fun to do this with students who have joined me on a workshop and we exhibit paintings inspired by the most recent workshop.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If a friend were to visit me in Atlanta I would love to share some of my favorite art museums in north Georgia: the High Museum of Art, Booth Western Art Museum, Georgia Museum of Art in Athens and the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art. I would also check out many of the local art organizations that have current shows: Georgia Watercolor Society, Atlanta Artists Center, Acworth Arts Center Art House and the Quinlan in Gainesville. We would take walks through Piedmont Park and along the Atlanta Beltline. We could stop for lunch, dinner or drinks along the way or end up at Ponce City Market for more treats. In the evenings, we would take in a performance at the Fox Theatre and the Alliance theatre. We would enjoy an evening under the stars with a picnic and live music at Chastain amphitheater.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are several people to thank and recognize for getting me to where I am today. First my mother who taught me a strong, honest work ethic and being organized. A mentor at IBM, Sandy Hofmann taught me planning and time management skills that I use to this day. My friend and art studio mate, Cathy Ehrler encouraged me to get active on social media to promote my art. She continues to inspire me with her creativity and advice. Tom Quinn for getting me on track with videotaping. My daughter who assists me with tech support and my husband who encourages me and helps with marketing advice. My students who bring me great joy and stretch me to learn more as I see them growing in their art skills.