[bra_dropcaps style=’dropcap1′]D[/bra_dropcaps]ennas Davis has been painting, illustrating, and designing in the Nashville area for 33 years. His commercial clients include Disney, Forbes, Nabisco, Betty Crocker, Neiman Marcus and many others. He has over 5 million copies of his children’s books in print around the world.

“What really gets me excited as an artist”, says Dennas, “is to paint. I want to capture the beauty of the light and color in the world around us every day. I’ve spent years using various techniques and trying different media, to share what I’m seeing within the ordinary objects and landscapes of life. I’m able to use my phone to grab the fleeting moments of visual memories.” Dennas says that working from a photo can’t actually give him enough information about light and color. However, since he takes the photo himself, it’s almost like being there. “My memories of the scene, combined with the recording allows me to express what I want to.”

“As I work, I strive to incorporate all of these elements: light, color, composition, beauty, expression, and a sense that the paint itself is as important as every other element.” One of his favorite quotes by one of his favorite painters, Henri Matisse, said this about his own work:

[bra_blockquote align=”]What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter – a soothing, calming influence on the mind, rather like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue.[/bra_blockquote]

“I dream of that also”, says Dennas. Another good saying about Matisse that he likes is that Matisse was labeled “the hewer of light”. He still spends time studying the work of his favorite painters; Van Gogh, Matisse, Cezanne, Sargent, and Monet.

Dennas is also very concerned with social issues, including the environment, culture, community, and politics, but he says this about his paintings, “I’m not interested in having my art take you into thought processes about our society. I just don’t think it’s needed.” The artist allows his work to be used to promote issues and raise awareness though. For the last couple of years, he has worked with various charity and environmental groups. His giant fish sculpture made from trash hangs in the Cool Springs Whole Foods and was created for the Harpeth River Watershed Association. In August, 2013, he will paint a 24 foot wide, 8 foot tall painting for them as well, in an effort to create more awareness of their campaign to protect and preserve our local water resource.

The painting will be created outside from August 2 through 10, in the area behind Gallery 202 on 2nd Avenue in downtown Franklin. The public is invited to come by any time during the week, which kicks off at the Franklin Art Scene, our local art walk on the first Friday night of each month. The rest of the week Dennas will be painting beginning around 10 am each morning and ending at 5 or 6 pm.