Our family grew up with the Dennis family. Warren and my father, Larry Edwards, were extremely close friends and fellow artists since they were at Mississippi Southern together. We grew up revering Mr Dennis as a painter and as a witty, wonderful human being. He was a loving father and managed to make great art throughout his long and distinguished career. He will be forever in our lives through his paintings and our sweet memories of him. Rest in peace Warren.
Growing up in Boone with the group of talented professors that started at Appalachian State Teacher’s College in the mid 1960’s, my life has been profoundly blessed. Warren Dennis was one of those that had a continuing impact on my life from then until the present day. One of the many memorable things has happened over the past 7 years. I had been going through a very rough time in my life and had just started dabbling in art after an extended hiatus. Warren and I would get together almost every Sunday night to talk art & music and relax together. These discussions, the music we shared, and his insight into art helped me to begin again with a passion I thought I had lost. During one of these evenings, we discussed one of his favorite painters and instructors. Kuniyoshi had proposed the thought that a painting should capture the atmosphere of a moment. Warren described to me the concept of a painting where there was a pipe sitting on a table, but by simply looking at the painting you could feel the presence of the person who had just been there and the smell, feel, and atmosphere of the room. This thought intrigued me beyond measure, and I have strived to capture the atmosphere and feelings of something I have witnessed or envisioned. His words come to me while I am painting (or contemplating a painting) as well as in my regular life. Mr. Dennis always blew me away as an artist. He was never afraid to change his style and yet maintained authenticity to himself. We are lucky enough to have several of his works in the family and I am amazed every time I look at them and it continues to inspire me. Mr. Dennis, you are sorely missed and I hope that you, Tully Reed, and Larry Edwards are all having a martini together at “Happy Hour” in the next world. How I remember the regular gatherings of you all at our house and being able to listen to all of the philosophy and humor you shared. Thank you for the gifts you have given me.
I was blessed to be around my Uncle Warren many times growing up, and it always seemed that he and my late Uncle Bob were together telling jokes and stories and finding ways to make each other laugh. That makes sense since they were close friends growing up in Clarksdale. I miss those days at the house on Cherry St, where I drove my first stick shift which was a Dennis Subaru, and on a visit to Boone I remember a hair-raising ride on a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway with Uncle Warren as our driver and tour guide in a VW van. He never slowed down talking or driving no matter the twists and turns! I was amazed at the amount of art he produced, the size of many of his paintings, and the depth of emotion expressed in the characters he painted. Now I can think of my dad, Bob, and Warren together again, just like when they were running around on the streets in Clarksdale or swimming in or skiing on Moon Lake. Much love to Aunt Mary Kate, and to Uncle Warren’s greatest legacy - my cousins and their families.
Warren Dennis was a kind gentleman with a great sense of humor. He was also a great artist and committed educator who inspired so many of us.
My introduction to Warren was through his paintings of his heroes. Of which Faulkner was one of mine, which I bought for monthly payments. Then came Warren himself a colleague, friend, and inspiration. What humble, lovely, talented person. Warren’s paintings have been part of my family’s home since the first one that arrived in our house.
Warren and I were in contact for many years at ASU. I was always an admirer of his work. I recall being in the art office during some crisis in the art department while Larry Edwards was chair. Warren was sitting in the outer office with a peculiar smile on his face. I offered a greeting and without looking at me he responded:
"It isn't much to recommend a person that the more serious a situation is the funnier they think it is."
I never found out what he was talking about.
In my first semester at ASU, I had Mr. Dennis for a drawing class. I remember his kindness and how he shared his talents, gently nudging some of us to try harder. His stories and lectures in art history class conveyed artists as personalities instead of static figures in textbooks. We owe him a debt of gratitude for all he gave to Appalachian State. Thank you, Mr. Dennis.
I became an Art student at ASU in the late 80's early 90's and had Dr. Dennis for my Art History instructor. I was pursuing a 2nd degree as my young children were now in school and I lived very close to school. In Dr. Dennis' class I had to move up closer to the front as he spoke calmly and rather softly. I took all of the Art History classes they offered thanks to Dr. Dennis. My house is full of Art History books. I love the strong colors and lines Warren uses in his work and even though they often look very Impressionistic their sensitivity shines through with a wink. He now becomes one of the famous artists and painters he taught us about while his students. He too is famous and will be sadly missed as our memories of him will be cherished.