Raenell Doyle grew up in Mesa, Arizona. From early childhood she demonstrated a natural ability to understand, interpret, and convey the reality of form. As she grew up, Doyle worked in several mediums and crafts. Her artistic career began with the discovery of a book of the work of master watercolorist, Sondra Freckelton, in 1988. “I loved her work, and found watercolor a great medium to express myself,” states Doyle.
After working in watercolor for 11 years, Doyle has expanded into oil painting. A great influence has been 17th century Dutch masters and French still life master, Chardin. Despite these past art historical
influences, intensive workshops with modern master, David Leffel, has had the greatest impact on her painting. “I love still life and all of the challenges of portraying beautiful and interesting objects in paint.” She finds other forms of art and craft attractive and interesting such as fine china, pottery, silver, crystal and tapestries which she uses in her paintings. Maintaining a large garden is another passion. She grows most of the flowers she uses and living in Washington State gives her access to a large variety of fresh fruits to paint.
Doyle’s paintings are beautifully composed. She feels that a strong foundation in drawing is important. One of her most valuable tools has been the knowledge she acquired from self-study and workshops with great teachers. The artist begins by finding an object to paint. It can take days or weeks of collecting, looking and thinking about how best to arrange the composition. By the time she sets up, it is well worked out in her mind. “But I still take more time rearranging things trying to get it just right.” Doyle works from life with natural light as often as possible, but uses supplemental light on short or cloudy winter days and evenings. The focus of her career is to create a reality of beautiful and interesting objects. Doyle does not merely copy, but instead captures the essence of what drew her to paint the subject in the first place.
Doyle begins painting on a toned art board or canvas composing abstractly with thin, dark paint to find the sizes and shapes. Continuing, she works at maintaining the life without turning the painting into a rendering but a beautifully painted essence of the subject. She works quickly to get the finish using thicker paint and beautiful brush work. “I’m always working to improve my brush work. Learning to convey the edge of a vase or the turn of a leaf with just the right stroke is very exciting.” Doyle continues to improve and enjoy much success. For her, improving also includes a high level of understanding of the elements of painting. This comes through practice, exploring deeply within herself and guidance from great teachers.
Living in Yelm, Washington, Doyle works daily in a studio she maintains at her home.