Today we’d like to introduce you to Cheryl Riner Hodge.
Cheryl Riner, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Even as a small child, I loved art. One of my most memorable Christmas gifts was from my father, who was in the U.S. Air Force — a large dress box filled with lots of paper, pens, crayons, colored pencils and other drawing supplies. Opening that gift to discover more and more art supplies was like a dream!
However, I did not begin my professional life as an artist. First, I studied dental hygiene and enjoyed that work for many years. Little did I know that when I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and forced to give up dental hygiene after a great deal of pain and suffering that I would again find art as meaningful work. Due to my disappointing change in health circumstances, my husband and family members encouraged me to pursue my interest in art as both a creative and therapeutic outlet.
I excitedly began taking classes and workshops with local artists near my then-home in Augusta, Ga., and I quickly discovered that watercolor art was the medium I most enjoyed. Its challenge, vibrancy, and beauty brought me great joy, and my talent was honed by my teachers and embraced by the community.
Just as Artist’s Row was beginning in downtown Augusta, I joined a co-op, opening and co-owning an art gallery with several other artists there and found personal and professional success in my new venture. I enjoyed the skills it took to run a shop and appreciated being part of a greater art community while doing my part to help rejuvenate an arts scene downtown. It also provided me with the opportunity to work while setting some of my own hours so that I could actively raise our daughter.
After our family moved to Rome, Ga., I continued to find a supportive arts community and worked at the Rome Area Council for the Arts on their professional office staff. Helping organize and plan events, fundraise and curate art shows for our northwest Georgia city has been an incredibly fulfilling part of my life.
In 2011, I was selected in a competition to paint a life-sized dolphin statue to feature at the Georgia Aquarium by Georgia Pacific. My acrylic-painted dolphin “lived” outside of the aquarium for several months before moving to its permanent home at Georgia Pacific’s headquarters in downtown Atlanta.
Today, I paint mostly by commission. My heart still lives with watercolor, but I paint with acrylics and have developed an interest in pen & ink art as well. Whether it’s a business or home portrait, a preserved historic building, a child or floral arrangement, my artwork receives my full attention. Details are often what truly capture a subject, and my work is a study in these finer points of light and life.
I am a proud member of the Portrait Society of Georgia, the Georgia Watercolor Society, the Rome Area Council for the Arts, and I lend my talents to local organizations through donations often.
Most recently, I have fulfilled another lifelong dream of illustrating a children’s book. “I Don’t Wanna Wear a Crown,” the first in the Adventures of Natty Cat and Libby series is an important message to my granddaughter and all little girls to work hard and follow their dreams. Information on the book can be found on our website at www.nattycatandlibby.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nattycatandlibby.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Paving a road in the arts is rarely smooth! My personal obstacle remains my Rheumatoid Arthritis, but without it, I may never have found art as my career. I have enjoyed the challenges of learning new skills in art, running small businesses and learning more about the ins and outs of the art world.
I still find self-promotion to be an area of struggle for me, so it can also be one of the things I have the hardest time finding time to do, but I am driven, and I am proud of my work. In addition to private and public galleries and businesses in Rome, you can find my art in cities across the South in galleries, private collections, and in Congressional offices in Washington, D.C.
I have found the special style and skills that make my art different, and I have used that niche to help further my skills and separate my work from the offerings of other talented artists.
Please tell us about Cheryl Riner Hodge, Artist.
My primary medium is watercolor, but I also work in pen and ink and acrylic. When commissioned, of course, I always do my best to please the client. I never want anyone to have a piece of my work that they are not 100% happy with.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Favorite memories include all of the places we lived (Air Force father).
Always receiving art-related gifts at Christmas. I can remember setting aside other gifts to concentrate on whatever art related gifts I received, often finishing the art (or craft) by the end of Christmas Day.
- Address: 44 Devonshire Drive, SE
Rome, GA 30161
- Website: www.cherylrinerhodge.com
- Phone: 706-346-7713; 706232-2681
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: Cheryl Riner Hodge, Artist