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About the Artist - Renee Bemis

So if we told you that Renee Bemis grew up in Palm Beach Florida playing golf, that she developed a drive that allowed her to compete with the very best golfers, that she received a full scholarship to play golf in college, and that her play took her as an amateur to several professional tournaments and ultimately the US Open---if we told you all that, you might think that you knew something about the passion that drives this woman. But when Renee says “work for me is not a job; it’s my passion,” she’s not talking about golf.

At some point in her golfing career, Renee says she realized she wasn’t going to become a pro. So Renee left the path she had been following for one that took her in a new and very different direction. At least it was a new direction for the adult Renee. “When I was little,” Renee remembers, “I bought clay and sat for hours sculpting animals and people. It was something I really enjoyed.” When the time came for a change in her life, Renee knew that sculpting was something she had always wanted to do.

Despite the lack of any formal training, Renee soon found herself making molds for bronzes and even teaching classes herself. After a year in the studio, she decided to go it alone. “I let my hands guide me,” Renee says, “and most important, I believed in what I was doing.”

In the years since, Renee’s sculptures have earned her recognition and numerous awards throughout the United States. Utilizing the ancient lost wax method, her creations are initially created in clay, then cast in bronze. Though self taught, she has the natural and specialized ability to balance the likenesses of humans and animals in a single conceptual design. On a less theoretical level, she says simply that she loves “creating artwork that people are moved by, pieces that they can relate to.” One of her recent successes on that score was the creation of the winning design for the National War Dog Team Memorial, which honors dogs that have served in war. Her sculpture will soon become a National Monument in Washington, DC.

A year ago Renee moved to the Sycamore area where she continues to pursue her very successful career. “The community reminds me of the town in Florida where I grew up,” says Renee. Perhaps that similarity is what continues to inspire the creative child that guided Renee to her life’s work. “I’m anxious to get out of bed in the morning and go to work in my studio,” she says. “When I walk into my studio I lose track of the world and time stands still.”

Awards
1999: “Medal of Honor”, American Artists Professional League, Grand Exhibition
1999: “Charlotte Dunwiddie Memorial Award”, Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, Annual Exhibition
1998: “Leila Gardin Sawyer Memorial Award”, American Artists Professional League, Grand Exhibition
1997: “Elliot Liskin Memorial Award”, Society of Animal Artists Annual Exhibition
1996: “Medal of Honor”, Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club 100th Annual Exhibition
1996 & 1991: “Anna Hyatt Huntington Memorial Award”, American Artists Professional League, Grand National Exhibition
1996: “Best in Show”, Pen & Brush, Annual Sculpture Exhibition
1995: “Chilmark Award”, National Sculpture Society Annual Exhibition
1993: “C.L.W.A.C. President’s Award” Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club Annual Exhibition
1993: “Best in Show” Safari Club International on the Wild Side

Commisions

2012: Winnebago County 911 Memorial Rockford, IL
2012: Oregon Park District Possum, (to be created)Oregon, IL
2012: DeKalb County Court House Relief Signature Seal Sycamore, IL
2012: In concept stage, Three Twice life size Huskies, Northern Illinois University
2012: South Carolina War Dog Memorial
2011: Hugo Frog; Hugo Frog Bar and Grill Chicago, IL
2011: Sycamore High School Heroic Size Sculpture honoring Pete Johnson Sycamore, IL
2005: Life-size signature sculpture for Hibel Museum of Art, Abacoa, FL
2003: Winner of National War Dog Team Memorial , National Commission, Washington, DC
2002: Life-size sculpture honoring George Cornell, Palm Beach Zoo, West Palm Beach, FL
2001: Mather Memorial Plaza: Public Art Commission, Veteran’s Medical Plaza, Mather, CA
1998: Shands Arts in Medicine: Public Art Commission
1998: Texas A & M Alumni Commission: Public Art Commission
1993: Public Art Monument Commission: Veteran’s Administration Medical Center, West Palm Beach, FL
1997: Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum acquisition permanent collection
1995: Private Commission for the Sultanate of Oman
1991: Delaware Valley Raptor Center; Milford, PA
1990: The Billfish Foundation, Miami, FL

Memberships
Society of Animal Artists, Officer | American Artists Professional League | American Society of Marine Artists | Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club | National Museum of Woman in the Arts | Pen and Brush, Inc. | Who’s Who in the World | Worldwide Nature Artists Group, signature member