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Biography of Serena Rose

picture of visual artist Serena Rose

Serena Rose was born in Lake Wales, Florida. When she was three years old, her father died and her mother moved her and her sister to Knoxville, Tennessee to be near her parents. Serena grew up in a modest Christian home with her mother, step father, and 4 siblings.

Her love for nature could be seen at a very early age and she would disappear into the nearby woodlands daily for hours at a time. For years she explored her private world in the woods and developed a vivid imagination, which was filled with romantic and magical ideas. Little did she know that these early impressions would have an effect on her artistic direction many years later.

Serena Rose's artistic interest began at a young age as well, and she was included in a group exhibition and won her first award at age nine. Though she had an artistic interest, she didn't take it very seriously until later on. At age 19 she and her quadriplegic boyfriend, under her care, traveled around the country, off and on for several years together, in a special van customized for him to live in. In spite of his handicap, he was a very gifted artist and helped to rekindle Serena's interest in art. They decided to spend one winter in beautiful Key West and Serena fell in love with it. They returned to Tennessee and after a thoughtful decision, she moved back to Key West to live. There she met Paul Stevens, a dynamic figure painter and successful gallery owner of many years in Key West. Mr. Stevens recognized Serena's innate talent, and after 8 months of her asking him to teach her, he took her on as a full time apprentice at his studio on the beach in Key West.

Her studies with Mr. Stevens were serious and intensive. He required that she devote all of her time to the program he laid out for her. She worked and lived at his studio for three years concentrating on drawing, composition and design. They had access to many models, due to the location of the studio, so a lot of time was spent drawing figures. They went to gardens in the Key West area to draw on location. She was drawing everything from banyan trees, to cloud formations, to water drops on leaves. Her teacher emphasized the importance of learning drawing, composition and design before learning about color and painting. In the third year of her studies, he let her begin with color use. He taught her some basic color principles and painting techniques.

After her three-year apprenticeship was over, she returned to Knoxville and continued a deep friendship with her mentor until his sad passing in 1999. She continued on for many years developing her skill at drawing and painting, never feeling she had learned enough to do what she really wanted to do, which was to illustrate children's books. She was attracted to things that tell a story. That love of story telling shows best in her current works, which take the artist back to those days as a young girl in the woods in her private world full of romantic and magical ideas.

In 1991, Serena opened Serena Rose Gallery and Studio at the World's Fair Park in Knoxville. She exhibited and sold her art at the gallery and taught classes in drawing. Her studio became a classroom for the Knoxville Museum of Art, the University of Tennessee, The Summer Arts & Sciences Academy, Noah's Ark after school program, and private tutoring. Because of the popularity of her classes in drawing realism, teaching became a full-time preoccupation for five years and over 750 students took classes at her studio.

The increasing demands on her time caused by teaching and running her gallery allowed little time to paint or care for her garden. Therefore, in 1996, she quit teaching and closed her gallery so that she could focus on her art and garden. Her garden has become an integral part of her art, and an exotic setting for her models. Now she is focused on a continuing series of paintings that best reflect her love of life, nature and the child that still lives within her.

Serena's art has been featured in many magazines. She sells her art through her website and magazine exposure. Her art can be purchased directly from her by contacting her studio. Contact information is on the contact page.

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