Richard Rennie, was born on a farm in the midlands of Rhodesia in 1932. He started painting at the age of seven under the influence of an uncle who was Chief Art Professor at the University of Cape Town, and held his fi rst art exhibition when he was 18 years old. Richard hosted retreats and held workshops all over Southern Africa and moved to the tiny village of Clarens in the Eastern Free State Highlands in 1990 where he opened one of the fi rst art galleries in the area, The Richard Rennie Gallery. His watercolours can be found throughout the world in private homes, hotels and boardrooms as well as the corporate collections of countless major companies. He was one of the most sought after watercolour demonstrators, inspiring and influencing many local artists over the years.
Richard passed away on 20th January 2017, aged 85.
A tribute from friend and fellow watercolourist, Grant Wood:
Richard Rennie was the gentle master of his craft! He loved and lived for art and on a personal note he was a mentor and a great friend. We painted together on many occasions and I got to know the artistic maestro a little bit better as time went by.
Richard pioneered the Sunnyside Guest Farm Art Escape which for the past 30 years has been a popular retreat for artists of all genres and ability.
He was the main attraction and gave vibrant demonstrations – I was always in front of the queue trying to glean any morsel of information I could get. Whenever he was asked what colour he was using from his seemingly complicated and often messy palette, he would simply reply that he didn’t have a clue!
Richard’s vibrant ability to capture the right moods, particularly the Free State and surrounds, which he loved, was and will probably always be unmatched in watercolour and he will remain the envy of every budding watercolourist who puts paint to paper in an effort to emulate his easy, natural style.
Lately, Richard found that his passion for oils was re-ignited and his modernist interpretation of the Free State landscapes in oil paint, proved to be extremely popular.
Aah Richard, you will be sorely missed my friend, but we will all endeavour to match your incredible skills and if we can achieve even a smattering of what we have observed from you, we will be, like you, eternally blessed!
With much love and energy, Grant