Horses, Birds, and Wildlife — the Exuberant Art of Janene Grende

Sunday Morning Coming Down painting by Janene Grende
Sunday Morning Coming Down by Wenaha Gallery Artwalk Featured artist Janene Grende

The Lemonade Stand: many successful entrepreneurs remember starting their career with paper cups, a rickety table, and a pitcher of summer brew. Wildlife artist Janene Grende, however, approached things differently:

“My sister Carol and I both drew and painted from childhood,” the Sandpoint, ID painter remembers. “We had a little painting stand out by the road like other kids would have a lemonade stand. Our first sale was 25 cents.

“Carol went running to the house yelling at mom, ‘We have a cuspidor! We have our first cuspidor!'”

Grizzle by Janane Grende, Wenaha Gallery Art Walk featured artist.
Grizzle by Janane Grende, Wenaha Gallery Art Walk featured artist.

Since that momentous day, there have been many cuspidors, and clients, for both Grende sisters, with the excited Carol advancing to a career in bronze sculpture (her full-size statue of Sacagawea is a public art piece in Dayton, WA), while Janene directed her attention toward two-dimensional painting in oils, acrylics, gouache (rhymes with wash), and silk dye on silk substrate.

A prolific artist, Janene has licensed her work to Leanin’ Tree cards; designed plates, ornaments, and sculptured items for the Bradford Exchange; and provided original paintings, limited edition prints, and gift items to Wild Wings, a leading publisher and retailer of wildlife art that distributes its products to more than 150 galleries and gift shops nationwide.

In a career spanning more than 40 years, Grende has made a name for herself in the wildlife and western art world, completing several paintings for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, where she has twice been chosen the Artist of the Quarter; the National Wildlife Federation; and the United States Humane Society.

Selected as the Ducks Unlimited artist of the year for Idaho, Grende was the first woman to win this honor, and the first person to win it twice.

Her horse-inspired paintings have been featured at the American Academy of Equine Art, and among her many national awards is the Best of Show at the “In the Company of Cowgirls” art show at the Pendleton Cattle Barons Weekend.

Of the many awards under Grende’s belt buckle, however, her most prized accomplishment is the Susan Kathleen Black Foundation Award of Excellence, given once a year to the most well-rounded  artist for the accomplished artwork and teaching skills.

Two Girls on Horseback by Janene Grende, Wenaha Gallery Art Walk featured artist.
Two Girls on Horseback by Janene Grende, Wenaha Gallery Art Walk featured artist.

“I have paintings all over the world, in many different mediums,” Grende says. “One of my favorite commissions was a silk dye of two young girls who were avid English riders in New York State.

“They dreamed, however, of riding out west as cowgirls. Their dad sent me a variety of photos and I made them into cowgirls with wild rags, chaps, hats and spurs.

“Ridin’ right at ya whoopin’ and hollerin’ . . . with some great mountains behind.”

Another treasured memory involves a purchaser from Bonners Ferry, Idaho, who moved to Iran.

“He was in the evacuations when the U.S. needed to get out of Iran in a hurry,” Grende explains.

“He was wounded in the leg from a mortar round and airlifted out in a helicopter while holding my painting on his chest.”

Horses painting by Janene Grende
Horses in Hill Pasture by Janene Grende, Wenaha Gallery Art Walk featured artist.

An artist can’t ask for much better endorsement than that.

Grende paints and teaches from two studios in her Sandpoint, Idaho location, and while time to paint is never unlimited, ideas for what to paint next are boundless.

“I never have any trouble thinking about what I will create next — I have lists of ideas and more ideas come every day,” Grende says of the creative process.

“My favorite subjects are horses, birds, wildlife and scenery, in that order.

“I mean, have you ever seen anything as beautiful as a horse prancing about? Or an eagle stretching its wings as it glides off a branch into the sky? Or how about a huge bull elk strutting along in all his glory.

“A cascading waterfall, fireflies at dusk, autumn trees reflected in a mirror-still lake, spring flowers and that first hummingbird.

“How would anyone run out of ideas to paint?”

Janene Grende is the featured  Art Event Pacific Northwest artist at Wenaha Gallery (219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA) from October 4-31. On the opening day of her show, Saturday, October 4, Grende joins Lewiston artist Craig Whitcomb at a special Art Walk reception in the gallery, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., part of the Dayton on Tour celebration.

Wenaha GalleryContact the gallery by phone at 800.755.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

Wenaha Gallery,  located in historic downtown Dayton, Washington,  is your destination location for Greenwich Workshop Fine Art Prints, professional framing, and original fine art paintings and sculpture by notable Pacific Northwest artists.   Books, gifts, note cards, jigsaw puzzles, and more are also available. Visit at 219 East Main, Dayton; phone 509.382.2124; e-mail art@wenaha.com.

This article was written by Carolyn Henderson.

 

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