Renee Broxson has mastered the art of reinvention in her six decades of life.
The longtime Director of Tennis at Hidden Dunes Beach and Tennis Resort in Miramar Beach, Fla., took up the game of tennis in her late 20s and was offered a college scholarship at age 32. The scholarship changed the direction of her life as she went on to help coach at her alma mater, the University of West Florida, while also teaching at local clubs. She found her nest at Hidden Dunes 15 years ago, where she and other staff work together to create a homey and welcoming atmosphere, particularly appreciated by their longer-stay winter guests. She recently stepped down from the director’s position (but still teaches and organizes clinics and events) to more fully develop another love: art. Here’s her story:
Q. At what point did you discover art – and how?
A. I grew up with an artist mother who displayed her artwork on weekends at local shows. I developed a love for art going to these shows with her. I discovered my art around 2014 when we had 10 full days of rain. From my experience of putting the time in and developing a skill good enough to play collegiate sports, I knew that with time I could build skills to become an artist. There have been – and will be more – bad paintings than good paintings at this point, but it is all in the learning process, just like when you are learning a new shot in the game of tennis. I believe that you can do anything you want as long as you put the work in to reach your goals.
Q. What medium do you prefer?
A. I prefer acrylic mixed media. I like using acrylic paint but like to use collage or whatever I can get my hands on. Graphite pencils, crayons, colored pencils, and different tools are always fun. Now I know why my mom didn’t throw anything away. It can always be used in the art-making process.
Q. How does the art interact with your work as a tennis pro?
A. Art and tennis are very similar. Both take a ton of work. By building your skills, and you can always get better by putting time into your practice. Also, being willing to make mistakes on the tennis court while learning a new skill is just like producing your art. You need to make mistakes to learn.
Q. You’ve had a thriving winter tennis program. Has the pandemic impacted that?
A. Our winter season is usually our busiest season of the year. It is like a big family reunion every January, but our Canadian family will not join us this year. They play tennis, golf, pickleball, and bridge. Some go to art classes, bible study, and have many happy hours. We are looking forward to their arrival but will miss our Canadian family.
Q. What benefits do you think spending a winter on the coast has for the Snowbirds?
A. I think the biggest benefit of spending the winter on the Gulf Coast is that our visitors can stay active. Our temperatures are mild, which allows outdoor activities to continue throughout the winter months. Activities like tennis and pickleball are safer than most activities in today’s environment with social distancing.
I want to add that one day I want to be a snowbird. I have worked with them for 15 years, and they are an inspiration to all around them. Staying active mentally and physically makes for longer, better years.
You can find Renee’s art at Primp Salon in Miramar Beach, Fla.; East End Gallery at Inlet Beach, and Hidden Dunes Beach and Tennis Resort Tennis Shop. You can also view and order her artwork at: ReneeBroxson.com.