Edie Reno’s color and line use developed on the high plains of Wyoming. Animals both wild and domestic figure prominently in her art. Especially horse and pronghorn antelope. She attributes to her love for these two from years as a day rider.
Pen and ink or pencil were her primary tool for years. Her grandmother, Harriett Reno, had given her and siblings books of C.M. Russell and Frederick Remington. Young Edie lived in these books finessing her own line drawings of horses.
Harriett Reno encouraged her to take a painting trip to Portugal with her early mentor, Sali Smythe. Ed and Sali Smythe ran the ‘Line Camp’ gallery in Story, Wyoming. For years, Edie Reno would be at Smythe’s when she wasn’t working. Sali taught her design and color plus bought three of her watercolors. Smythe’s home was fuel of original Borein, Bill Gollings, Jose DeYoung and Kevin Redstar. Their library was full of art books that Reno read deeply. Ed Smythe was a graphic artist who collected original art in his travels for Purina. Smythe’s sold contemporary western art; both sculpture and paintings.
Jolted out of western art by two books of Georgia O’Keefe; Flowers and a biography Reno attributes Harriet Reno again for her role as an encourager. “She constantly fed my eye, my spirit, as well as body." We gardened, cooked and made art together. Her early gifts of N.C. Wyeth, Andy Wyeth and late Georgia O’Keefe gave me insight and focus as an artist,” says Reno.
A stint as an artist in resident at the Water Plant Art Center in Miles City, Montana gave Reno time to develop a body of work of flora and fauna. Constructed of mild steel and bronze it has a haunting of leaf skeletons, animal legs and the terrain of Powder River.
It was shortly after leaving California in 1991, and Reno missed her friends John and Titia Barnett, sculptors and printmakers, this bod of work is a nod to their influences. Meeting John Barnett, sculptor and printmaker at University of California Stanislaus further deepened her modern approach to seeing. There, her six years as a pipefitter, was put to use as a studio tech and assistant in the foundry.
Returning to Wyoming, Reno continued to weld but painting began to be central to her creative life. She fills an 8” x 10” journal each month with drawings, sketches and ideas that later become paintings.
“It is because of Harriett Reno that the pencil became my most favorite tool,” shares Reno. There is a great line in The Followers by Dylan Thomas. “… we were the same age, too young and too old.” Reno conjectures, “That’s the way I see age and studying art history or contemporary art.”