Janene Grende was born and raised in Lewiston Idaho, and moved north to Sandpoint area in 1974. She has painted for over 30 years. She paints in gouache (rhymes with wash). Gouache is a medium of watercolor-type pigments that are opaque. She also uses silk dyes on silk to create some very vivid paintings of horses, equestrians, cowgirls and wildlife.
Janene has completed several paintings for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, twice being chosen the artist of the quarter. She also created three other companion prints for the RMEF banquets. The featured artist print ""Comfort Zone", featuring two cougar kittens and their Mom, was a very popular print for RMEF.
She was selected as the Ducks Unlimited artist of the year for Idaho, the first woman to win this honor and the first person to win it twice. She was also DU Washington State Sponsor print artist.
Janene has been a favorite card artist with Leanin Tree Cards. The Bradford Exchange is another company Janene creates artwork for. She designs images for plates, ornaments and sculptured items.
Janene regularly attends the Fall Festival Show in Lake City, Minnesota, at Wild Wings headquarters. She has shown many paintings in their originals catalog and sold work through their Wild Wings Galleries nation wide. They publish Janene’s work with the newest releases titled "Grape Expectations", a kestrel sitting on some grape vines and "Slippery When Wet", a black bear family crossing a log.
Janene was invited to show her horse-inspired paintings with the American Academy of Equine Art in 2002 and 2003, at the Kentucky Horse Park.
When she is not painting she is most likely riding the trails of North Idaho on one of her horses. She also works with children and adults through the United States Pony Club, teaching them safe horse management and riding skills.
“Oh what a beautiful baby,” people would exclaim when they saw the little foal, a leggy, red-leopard-spotted colt named Skookum’s Redsky. My mom, Lila Grende, was hoping for a foal that would have some color, since the mare was a solid bay. Boy did she get her wish. He was all legs and quite the spectacle: where he was chestnut there were white spots and where the white began splashes of chestnut spots abounded. And attitude! His attitude was only surpassed by his curiosity. He made an impression on everyone. He was something special and he knew it, too. When he was born we had no idea his legacy would span generations.
Redsky was my mother’s pride and joy. I can still hear her excited voice on the phone at 4 a.m., June 22, 1978. “It’s a boy, IT’S A BOY! He nickered at me and he’s got spots everywhere!” she exclaimed. “I scared the new neighbors half to death. I ran in from the pasture in my babydoll pjs with my robe flying behind, like some out-of-control superhero. Screaming over and over at the top of my lungs, ‘Honey, we have a baby!’ to your dad.
Mom worked diligently from the start to make Redsky a pleasurable riding horse. She did all the riding and my dad did all the bragging. Redsky was a handful-prancing and showing off. Mom began by training him to a cart and drove him all over the orchards where she lived. They drove to the grocery store. They drove to the apartments for the elderly where her parents lived. Her parents, and any other residents who wanted to go for a ride, just climbed in and away they would go. Sometimes mom even drove Redsky to the bank, but he never did get used to the noise of the slide out box at the drive-thru window. After breaking him to ride they went even further: up into the mountains, out into the nearby fields, and down Hell’s Canyon. They were founding members of the Lewis-Clark Side Saddlers and rode in many parades around the region. Mom and Redsky were pals and soul mates. Then, in 1989, she was diagnosed with cancer. Mom set her sights on riding in one last horse show and then finding a good home for Redsky. Being so full of himself, she wanted to make sure whoever took him was an experienced rider. one of her friends bought him and just a few months later mom slipped into a coma and died.
In the spring of the following year her friend called me and said she was not going to keep Redsky because her personality and his did not fit well together. She asked if I would like to buy him. I didn’t even give it a second thought. I knew mom was worried we wouldn’t be able to handle him, so I did have some concerns. But he fit so well into our family that my concerns quickly melted away. My youngest daughter, Jessi, took him on as a challenge. She called him Grandma’s Redsky, so that every time she won a ribbon at a show the announcement would be a tribute to my mom.
As of this writing Redsky is 26 years old (young) and still going strong. His bright spots may have roaned out, but his bright attitude is still there. Even in his advanced years he needs to be ridden by people who are not faint-of-heart. The most recent rider in our family has been my granddaughter, who rode in a leadline class with me by her side. Her name is Zoe Lila-Rose, after my mom, and she has all the spunk necessary to carry on our family’s equestrian tradition with Grandma’s Redsky. After carrying five generations of our family, from my grandparents to my granddaughter, Redsky can truly be called a living heirloom