Five questions to Renee Tohl

Five questions to Renee Tohl

Renee Tohl is an Australian abstract artist and designer, born in Sydney and currently living and working from her home studio on the Central Coast of New South Wales. Formerly a graphic designer, Renee now predominantly creates abstract watercolour and ink pieces full of moody texture and movement. Tell us your story, why did you become an artist?

I began my creative career as a graphic designer where I found a love of design and art. I learnt so much from my experience with design and after taking time off to have children I found myself seeking an outlet for all of my unused creative energy. So I began painting in watercolour, just for fun. Creating for the enjoyment alone and experimenting just to see what happened. Once I started painting it quickly became a very therapeutic outlet for me.

When you create a new work, how do you go about it? What comes first?

When I’m beginning a new collection I always start with cleaning my studio, sometimes even rearranging it. I don’t know if I’m the only artist that does this but i find removing clutter and sometimes changing the studio layout helps me to clear all other old creative energy from my mind. I generally like to experiment first with colour and finding pattern or markings that will inspire new concepts. As I work on these elements the emotions or ideas that I want to express usually evolve from them. What can you tell us about your studio, what makes it special to you and how does it influence the way you work?

My studio is at my home and positioned in a high sunny corner of my backyard so it has lots of beautiful natural light. It looks out over the bushland that surrounds our home and I love it so much. It’s a beautiful peaceful space with lizards and native birds always close by. I find the proximity of my studio to nature very conducive to creating and often inspiring my artworks. Is there a work of art in your life that has especially impressed you?

There’s a painting I created back in 2015 called Lady In Blue. At the time my husband was away for work, I had two very young children to care for and we were also renovating our home. I ended up painting and illustrating this piece from my parents ironing board late at night with very little sleep. I will always look to that painting as a reminder of what can be done if you put your mind to something and you have wonderful support around you!

Reach to the stars: where will you be in 5 years?

In five years I’d just love to still be doing what I’m doing. I feel so blessed each day to be able to create and paint and daydream up new ideas for collections. I drop my kids to school each morning and come home to have a coffee and then up to the studio. In five years time if I have the same balance between work and life I’ll be incredibly happy. Learn more about the artist: