Observing the intricate work involved in a Lewan painting, an avid art collector asks Mr. Lewan, "How long did it take to do this painting? How did you learn how to paint like that ?" Lewan answers: "It took about fifteen years. That is fifteen years of study and experience to develop the ability and about one hundred eighty-five hours to do the painting".
Dennis Patrick Lewan's interest in art began at age five and drawing became one of his favorite activities. Never having much in the way of formal fine art classes, Dennis would find himself in trouble at school because of drawing instead of studying the regular subjects.
At age ten he displayed a natural talent for music after taking some lessons on the accordion. He began to compose his own music. While attending high school in his hometown of Thorp, Wisconsin during the mid-sixties, he became fascinated with rock 'n roll and pop music. After purchasing his first guitar he taught himself how to play and joined a rock band. Intrigued by the many pop-art posters being sold everywhere at that time, Dennis found another great adventure: Designing his own original posters.
Upon completing school courses in Wasau, Dennis' band had the opportunity to record their music in Chicago. While there he visited a major art museum and was in awe over the highly detailed paintings of the "Old Masters". So impressed by these magnificent works of art, he would spend up to sixteen hours at a time experimenting with different styles and techniques of oil painting.
By the late 70's, Dennis had the opportunity to sell some of his paintings through an art gallery in Chicago and within about a year was discovered by many other art dealers and collectors. By 1982 he had to paint six days a week just to keep up with sales. By this time his work had attained a quality comparable to the "Old Masters" works that he had admired in museums.
In 1985 Dennis and his wife, Susanne, relocated to southern California where the major portion of his artwork was being marketed. Now and then they take time out to go on romantic trips to scenic and historic places. The trips very often turn adventuresome due to another constant traveling companion, his camera. It was either a pretty Victorian house, or an old, quaint English village, or maybe that elusive majestic castle in Germany that he had to find in order to photograph and use in his home studio. When Dennis makes personal appearances at art exhibits, people are delighted with the story of how a painting comes together and that he found the subject for it.. on a certain "trip".
Mr. Lewan has developed a style with unique qualities and has become "the modern day master of realism, romanticism and fantasy". He says, "I concentrate on picking up where the "Old Masters" left off, by adding camouflaged images in many of my paintings. I like to have a painting tell a story and stimulate the imagination of everyone who views it. I like to create in each painting a special place that people want to 'walk into and visit'".
Art collectors are also attracted by the great depth and detail of each painting and other artists have been inspired to emulate his style. Dennis' paintings have made their way into many countries and into the collections of many celebrities, corporations and banking institutions. Among the awards he has received, the one he seems most proud of is the 1997 Collector's Edition Award of Excellence in the fine art print category. His winning painting titled "The Bearister's Mansion" was chosen by popular vote from the many readers of Collector's Edition Magazine all over North America.
Recalling a beautiful song by Paul McCartney titled "The Long and Winding Road", Dennis relates. "I feel I have traveled that road and am still on it".
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