I begin every creative project the same way, first by paying attention to that tiny glimmer of an idea, one so small that I can barely hold on to it. Then, I go into my studio, put on some music, and begin gathering materials. I pull out old sketchbooks, finished pieces, photos, color, vintage papers, and whatever else jumps out at me. 

It was during this process that I came across a perfume box from a trip to Paris. My husband purchased a small bottle of perfume for me from Fragonard, a famous perfumery in France. There was a very small portrait by Jean-Honore Fragonard, a famous 18th Century French artist on the box. And, this is what led me down the path to creating this class.

My intention for this class is not about studying a master artist, but to study the women in the portraits, their clothing, the setting, the hairstyles, the color palettes, and embellishments. To speculate about their untold stories, ones they kept close to their hearts. 

So, with a slight nod to the past. We will explore a variety of techniques using different types of charcoal to create beautiful, layered portraits. We will also combine acrylic paints and pastels to create rich, luminous effects as we create a series of inspired and contemporary portraits.

Immediate Access


About the instructor

About Me

Renee Mueller

Thank you for choosing to take my class, I'm so thrilled and honored that you're here. I want to tell you a little about me. I hold a BFA from the University of Michigan where I studied Art History, Dance, and Choreography. I danced professionally and had the honor of teaching dance at the University of Michigan's Musical Theater and Theater Departments. Most of my life has been spent in the dance studio and the theater. Because of this, I have had the privilege to work with many talented dancers, costume designers, set designers, lighting designers, and musicians. One of the many things that I learned from this experience in the performing arts was to honor your ideas and devote yourself to a subject. Also, to share, support, and collaborate. Once I decided to "exit stage left", it was challenging to find another creative outlet. Like many of us, I loved to draw, paint and create as a child, but never really invested a tremendous amount of time in cultivating that practice. About 10 years ago I began drawing again and decided to commit to a daily practice. I was challenged and inspired!. So, I continue to practice, experiment with materials, and allow my ideas to guide me through the process. When creating art, I draw upon the many methods I learned as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher. Research, gathering inspiration, honoring my point of view, and sharing ideas. It is my hope that by sharing my creative practices, my process, techniques and what inspires me, you will find something that works for you.