Ladies of Literature

Only $57.00


Great stories have been a source of inspiration for the theater, ballet, opera, art, film and music for centuries. Stories and characters created from pure imagination, told again, and again in so many creative ways. Stories like Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Anna Karenina, The Secret Garden, Alice In Wonderland, Madame Bovary, the list goes on and on.

Page after page, we wander along side of our favorite character and become a part of her experiences. Maybe we see parts of ourselves in them, the beauty, the broken parts, the passion, their strength and intelligence. This could be why we return to their stories over and over.

In this class we will look to our favorite stories and female characters for inspiration to create and tell new stories. You may feel inclined to reread an old favorite or a new book with fresh new characters.

I encourage you to watch the film and enjoy the visual beauty of the imagined world. Immerse yourself in the characters, the landscape, the time period, the costumes, the scene and set designs, and the musical score. Your imagination will be overflowing with ideas.

You will have complete artistic freedom to weave your own beautiful story and create inspired artwork that only you can create.



Classroom Is Open!

Only $57.00



Here's a description of our special projects:


Project 1 : gather inspiration


In this project we will gather images, books, words, colors, and music to spark our imaginations. I will share a beautifully curated Pinterest board along with some of my favorite books, films, ballets and stage plays to help nurture the creative spark.

I will share with you how I deconstruct a vintage book and use the pages, covers, spine and other materials in some of the projects.

We will establish a beautiful color palette on a vintage book cover to bring a cohesiveness to your work. You may want to create more than one to display in your creative space.


Project 2 - Inspired by Jane Eyre

The Mad Women In The Attic - Bertha Mason Rochester - Charcoal Portrait

When we read a beautiful book each one of us imagines how the main character and supporting characters may look. We conjure up their images as we walk alongside of them and witness how their life, loves and adventures unfold.

I selected Bertha Mason Rochester, also known as the mad woman in the attic, and Mr. Rochester’s first wife, as inspiration for my portrait. Even though we don’t really know much about her, she is an important character in Charlotte Bronte’s gothic tale. I felt such empathy to her haunting plight of mental illness and wanted to express this in my portrait.

We will begin by toning watercolor paper with a light ink wash and clear gesso. I will share with you how I begin with soft charcoal to find the portraits features and establish value and form. I will also share with you how I use powdered charcoal and acetone to create beautiful layers and dripping effects.

In this project I will encourage you to select a few different reference photos so you can create a unique portrait


Project 3 - Charlotte Bronte - The Storyteller’s Dress


The Storyteller’s Dress weaves together the story of Jane Eyre along with the life of the author, Charlotte Bronte. I

In this project you will take photos of your drawings, paintings, and sketches to use in the collage. In addition, I will demonstrate how I use parts of the vintage book we deconstructed to create texture and layers by stitching and gluing with matte medium.


We will also use some of the charcoal techniques we explored in Project 2

I’m completely obsessed with this project and I hope you will be as well.


Project 4 - The Secret Garden Expressive Floral Series


Inspired by the magic of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett we will create a series of express floral paintings. You will begin by creating a background in a color on cradle board or canvas, from the color palette you created earlier in the class.

I will guide you through my process of creating loose flowers and then building up layers of pastels, acrylics, mark making and yummy texture.




Inspired by one of Shakespeare’s extraordinary characters, Juliet, we will create a rich, expressive  portrait using many of the techniques we’ve explored throughout the class.

I will walk you through how to layout the portrait using a modern reference image in charcoal and then create movement with clear gesso. We will then build layer upon layer of charcoal to build form. By adding simple marks, touches of pastels and quotes from the play, you will bring emotion and depth to your portrait.

 In order to set the scene for your portrait, we will create an impressionist inspired background using acrylic paints and pastels.


Classroom Is Open!

Only $57.00



What will you learn in this class?

  • Find inspiration in your favorite books, theater, and film in order to create beautiful and inspired art that only you can create.

  • Use a variety of photo references to develop a unique portrait.

  • Develop a beautiful color palette that will bring cohesion to your work.

  • Learn how to begin with soft charcoals and then move toward compressed charcoal to create a successful portrait.

  • Learn how to layout a portrait and understand relationships and values.

  • Learn how to draw an expressive portrait using different types of charcoal.

  • Learn how to create beautiful, expressive effects with powdered charcoal - splashes, drips, and splatters.

  • Use ink and clear gesso to create a beautiful toned background for your work.

  • Create a unique, figurative piece using vintage ephemera, personal drawings, stitching, paint, pastels and charcoal.

  • Create a beautiful, expressive floral series inspired by a favorite book, using acrylic paint and pastels.

  • Select one of Shakespeare’s female characters be your muse and create a rich, expressive mixed media portrait.

  • Learn how to deconstruct a vintage book and use all the parts in your work.

Classroom Is Open!

Only $57.00





About Renee Mueller

I received 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" I found it 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 six or seven 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.