I am an artist-painter and tutor. I have lived in Ashburton on the edge of Dartmoor for many years, with my partner, Nicole Georgiana Townshend (d., 1947-2020,) whom I met on the Dartington College Art and Design in a Social Context course in 1980.
My studio, where I run art classes, is in Chudleigh. I tutor both individuals and groups, including weekly morning workshops, see the Classes page. Get in touch with me via this web-site Contact page for more details, or to arrange a studio/portfolio viewing.
My studio paintings are currently mainly oils or acrylics, although I also enjoy working in watercolour, pastels, and mixed media in various combinations. I have a wide range of subjectmatter, and also a wide range of styles and approaches, which I am always exploring and varying, both in my own work and through viewing that of other artists. This also helps me to give solutions to any technical problems students may have, and to develop their own personal style: I am continually encouraged by how different the work they produce is from each others', and from mine.
My painting is about the experience of looking, scanning, focusing, of discovering: the experience of seeing. And about unpacking our perceptions from our immediate summary identifications of things seen. To give new twists to our visual expectations and associations of things seen. While at the same time to present my own personal "take," my interperetation of mood and atmoshpere of the scene.
Most of my abstracts are analytical in the sense that they start with a carefully observed subject-matter or motif. There is then a series of studies that extract the key elements, the "bones" the colour the form of both the essence of the place and of the experience of being there.
That starting point is the sketch (or occassionally, photo, but only of sites that I already know well, so that I understand their depths and distances. See Skechbook section.) Some paintings remain more representational and identifiable; others become increasingly abstracted, as I work through series on the same subject.
Most of my sketching sites are on neighouring Dartmoor, where I look for colours, specially winter sun, and the effects of weather, wind, cold, on stones, heather, bracken, fields, trees, and for tors, small farms and ruined cottages glinting in sunshine, disappearing in cloud-shadow, or looming out of mist.
I am inspired by a host of painters, mostly from the hundred years or so from about 1870 to 1970, that still seem to point the way down so many avenues of exploration. Three that I keep finding myself returning to are: Ivon Hitchens, Patrick Heron, and Barbara Rae. My core interest is our perception of 3-D space, or depth, through colour (which is light and optics both physiological and psychological,) together with the emotional experience caused by such perception. I believe that the best lessons on that come from the Impressionists.
|MA (Hons), Joint, in Logic-and-Metaphysics with Moral Philosophy. St. Andrews University
|Dip HE Art And Design in a Social Context. Dartington College of Arts.
SELECTED BIOGRAPHICAL OUTLINES
First Two Decades
1951 Born Bournemouth, childhood in the New Forest, and later school in Devon.
1962 The Royal Drawing Society Exhibition, Highly Commended
1969 'A' level Art, A grade.
The Nineteen Seventies
1969 St. Andrews University, Fife. Co-founded, edited, illustrated and contributed prose and verse to 3 editions of a Literary-Arts magazine called “Entry".
1973 Lived in Fife until 1979 practising a variety of craft and art activities, including textiles and topographical line drawings. Employed as a Small-Finds Draughtsman by Perth High Street Archaeological Dig and also as an Artist drawing reconstruction views of the medieval city.
Exhibited paintings, abstract and figurative, in St. Andrews Festival and elsewhere.
1979 Moved to Somerset, produced another series of local line drawings as prints and greetings cards.
1980 Devon, Dartington College, H.E. qualification in “Art and Design in a Social Context,” with a special interest in murals and public art.
1982 Continued painting practice
1985 "One Thousand Miles From Anywhere" Exhibition, various venues, Joint, with Nicole Georgiana Townshend
1985 Creative Writing Apprenticeship Bursary from the Arvon Foundation, and forays into Teaching English as a Foreign Language.
1991 Adult Education Tutor in Brixham and Totnes, and other A.E. Centres, Community College Departments, and the W.E.A. Mainly teaching Watercolours, but also Oils, Art History, Drawing-and-Painting, and ‘A’ level English. 5 years as Art Course Moderator for Open College Network Southwest.
The Twentyfirst Century
2007/8 Started art workshops in First Floor Studio, Clay Door, Old Pottery Court, Chudleigh, and other private tutoring to groups in Yealmpton, Dartington, and South Brent. Courses of weekly tuition for small groups of practised and professional artists. "The Roger Dennis Studio Painters" exhibited at Harbour House Gallery, Kingsbridge, in 2009 & 2011. Also classes for general painting, beginners welcome.
2015 Won first prize in the Poetry Society National Poetry Competition 2014
2016 - 2019 Participated in the art-poetry group event of Teignmouth Poetry Festival, contributing both paintings and poems.
2020 September Open Studio (DAN)
2021 to date Continued running classes Tuesday and Friday mornings in studio
2023 January 3rd Published INVOCATIONS AND PORTRAITS, a poetry book collaboration with Steve Day. My illustrations, artwork and design.