BVSCAA Featured Artist

Denise Lewis

Denise Lewis is Bear Valley Springs Cultural Art Association's featured artist for February, 2024

I’ve often thought of myself as a reluctant artist. Not that I was reluctant to paint but that I was reluctant to claim an identity as an artist. It wasn’t until my retirement in 2021 that I fully embraced that part of who I am. 

My first painting was of giant sunflowers on a barn, a career that was cut short when my father forbade me from going anywhere near his barns with my paintbrushes. From there, I graduated to using acrylics on canvas but had difficulty transferring the paint from my brush to my canvas in the way I envisioned. After many disappointing starts, I found a class on painting techniques. It was in that class that I discovered the absolute joy of applying paint to canvas using whatever technique seemed to fit my goals. It was also in that class that I learned to paint for the sheer pleasure of painting. 

I have no single style that defines my art. I tend to use whatever method allows me to paint what my mind’s eye sees, such as using boars’ bristle brushes to create stippling (as seen in Forest at Twilight) or sable brushes to paint the finer details of a coastal marsh (as seen in Sapelo Summer). I’ve also come to love using knives for the ability to create chunky swaths of color (such as seen in The Old Fence Row and the BVS in Bloom series I’m currently creating). Because I like to impart texture into much of my work, I often embed various products in my paints. The trees in The Old Fence Row are filled with wood shavings. The blossoms in BVS in Bloom – Rubber Rabbit Bush are filled with seeds from that plant. I hope to continue my love of painting and exploring different techniques. I finally have removed the qualifier, reluctant, from my identity as an artist.