A second chance at life, a deep spiritual awareness and a desire to learn more about her craft are the forces that drive one area artist to create beautiful images with deep meaning.
Wrenna Monet calls herself a mystic visionary artist. Her paintings are incredibly detailed, colorful and vivid. She describes them as filled with love, light, time, powerful symbology and hidden meanings. But her difficult road to becoming a highly sought-after artist was not easy.
She grew up in a small Alaskan fishing village in a primitive cabin with an artist mother and a father who was an extreme mountain climber. “I grew up thinking that anything I put my mind to, I could accomplish,” Monet said. And one of her early goals was getting out of her small town.
After a career as a professional actor and model in Hollywood, Monet left those industries to do something more meaningful with her life and decided she wanted to teach art. She took a lucrative job on a commercial fishing boat in Alaska to earn enough money to put herself through art school. But during a storm, Monet was struck in the head by a bundle of leadline, which caused a life-threatening blood clot, a traumatic brain injury (TBI), severe memory loss, chronic fibromyalgia and a near complete loss of identity.
“I couldn’t remember how to get home, or if I ate or walked my dog or showered,” Monet said. Because of her condition, many people took advantage of her. “I got my humbleness kicked right out of me. I recognized I was nothing and basically was not able to live independently.” Monet moved in with her mother and stepfather, but after six months, she knew she needed more intensive care and checked herself into a TBI facility.
The blood clot also caused stroke symptoms. Monet couldn’t work the right side of her body, her mouth didn’t work, and she struggled with motor skills. She said she felt a disconnect with her body and a life she only partly remembered before the accident. When she started painting as physical therapy, it clicked. “Going into my painting world was my way of escaping the grief that was around me.”
The accident that nearly killed her was the spark that blossomed into the artistic passion that is now the motivating force in her life. “It’s been interesting rewriting what my identity is,” Monet said. “Making art is my healing outlet to show people there is hope even if we have lost everything.”
She also gained strength and a determination to learn more about painting. After leaving the hospital, Monet flew to Los Angeles to study with Amanda Sage, an American artist at the forefront of a new breed of visionary/interdimensional artists using art as a tool for personal and spiritual growth. That experience opened her eyes not only to her own talents as a painter, but also to the healing power of creating art.
She continued to study with Sage around the world and soon found other well-known visionary master painters who taught her different techniques, such as Mischtechnik, an old-world process involving meticulous layers of glazes that provide luminosity and make paintings glow. Monet wants to continue studying with masters to learn additional skills and eventually create fantasy realism paintings. “When I found out I can learn these techniques, now all I want to do is paint,” she said.
Harking back to her goal before her life-changing brain injury, Monet hopes to teach a six-week visionary art class at Oregon Coast Community College in the fall. Though she still has memory loss and forgets a lot, she takes a lot of notes and says she makes it work. “There are ways to work with our disabilities and make it a beautiful thing.”
In addition, Monet has an eco-friendly clothing line available on her website. “It’s my art made wearable for men, women and kids,” she said.
She is currently painting commissions and is working on her third book cover. “I like bringing people’s ideas to life in my style.” She is also putting together her favorite pieces for an exhibition and is writing a book on her horrible experience in the hospital after the accident. It’s a book about finding herself after going through hell then becoming an artist and getting her life back.
“My mission is to share hope through my book and my work and sharing the message that we can lose our minds but that doesn’t mean we are lost,” she said. “Sometimes you have to lose everything to really find yourself. Art is a really beautiful way for people to hone in on their power.”