Stroll down by the Trinity River one day and you actually might catch Jana Renee seeking inspiration and solace. Long before being picked as an artist for the Trinity Trail gallery, she would go there, sometimes with her sister, sometimes alone, to play music or just to think.
“The river is one of the things that tipped the scales for me and got me to liking Fort Worth,” said Renee, who moved to Texas from New York as a child. “The Trinity River was a beautiful part of Fort Worth that helped me to see and understand the beauty of Texas.”
Born in Ithaca, Renee moved to Saginaw in 1997. Answering the call of her artistic nature – she comes by it honest; her grandmother did watercolor landscapes and her great aunt oil paintings – Renee earned an associate’s degree in art at Tarrant County College before earning a bachelor’s of fine arts degree on a scholarship at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
Renee has done about 15 other murals. Because of their scale, the murals are less formal than her oil paintings, but Renee allows classic art to still influence her work.
“Music on the Trinity,” is inspired by the romantically detailed painting “The Charmer,” by John William Waterhouse. In Renee’s painting a young, Southern woman playing a guitar – a cowboy hat hanging on her back – stands in for Waterhouse’s Greek-styled character picking a lyre.
The setting for the mural is a collection of Renee’s favorite spots along the river; the rocks from a low-water dam and the foliage from a little park near University Drive.
“I wanted to create a piece that communicates the peaceful feeling I get on the river …,” Renee said. “My hope is that the image I created brings a peaceful and serene feeling when people interact with it and that it will bring joy to passersby.”
“The day I finished it, I sat down and played my guitar and christened it.”