Monday, August 31, 2009

Jim Cooper

This last weekend the vibraphonist Jim Cooper from Saugatuck, Michigan came up to Traverse City to play at Chatau Chantel with the Jeff Haas trio.

You may ask how I might know Jim Cooper, way back in March of 2008 Jim along with Dave Hay, played with Mo(ve)ment in Holland, Michigan for a session of the then, Mo(ve)ment Meets Musicians.

When Jim played with Mo(ve)ment he and Day Hay just went off into their own little world driven by their own creativity and the paintings that Tali Farchi and I painted while Benno Hübner danced. He really has some great improvisational skills and it was really wonderful to hear them move in and out of some of the more traditional jazz pieces that the Jeff Haas trio plays.

After the first set we sat down out on the deck and compared notes on what each other has been doing the last two years or so. It was a nice little reunion.

The next night Jim played a solo piano gig at Horizon Books in Traverse City.  There he played a lot of his original work.  Talent and creativity is an inspirational combination.

Jim Cooper and me.

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Art Teacher

Christa Wise and me.
In 1973 I was attending Lyons Township High School in LaGrange, Illinois. I took as many art classes as my schedule would allow. I might add that I was a dreadful art student in high school. I can remember to this day the frustration I had as I could conceptualize the projects, but it was just not in me at that time to be able execute very well. When I have looked back at sketchbooks from then I can see why no one had encouraged me much.
Every once in a while a teacher comes along and is able to bring things out in students that might otherwise remain unrealized. Christa Wise is one of those teachers. I can't say that I did any more brilliant work in her class than in other art classes I took, but I did come away from that class with feelings that art no matter how I did it, was still of value... That thought stuck with me as I left high school and moved on through life. I couldn't not do art because it just seems that it is what I do. But the more I did it the better I became.
I would think of my art teacher from time to time and the thought would push me on.  Now that the class of 1974 is having their 35th reunion it is a heavy realization that a few years have passed. The last couple of years I have been teaching art from my studio and again my thoughts went to Mrs. Wise. I remembered the respect she showed to me and her students, no matter what their skill level. I have a similar respect for those that I teach. So, I decided to see if I could locate this person that had shaped  the way I approach art. 
I was more than surprised to find that she was still teaching high school art and living in  Michigan of all places. When I contacted her she said that she was going to be vacationing up in Traverse City. Too strange actually, but as luck would have it we did not actually cross paths at that time. Disappointed I figured that there would be another time as we only live 3 hours away. 
Last weekend I was participating in a plein aire painting event in Saugatuck sponsored by the Water Street Gallery.  Saugatuck is were the Wise's live, so I emailed to say I was going to be in town.
So some 36 years later student and teacher meet again. Aside from catching up a little bit, it was somewhat sweet for both of us as when her and her husband came into the gallery there were red dots on 3 of my paintings. It was a great little reunion.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


While I will eventually catch up with most of what happened this summer, I was just photographing some of the paintings that Tali Farchi and I painted on stage in the Capital Theater in Windsor, Ontario as we were there performing as part of the Windsor International Fringe Festival.
The performances followed the presentation of Tali's original Mo(ve)ment show that she does with dancer Benno Hübner.  Each night we painted live on stage with different live musicians. This in an of itself was quite an inspiration. I have to say in that setting it is inspiration that you don't really have time to soak in, you just respond in the moment.

The night before we painted this painting we were lucky enough to be taken as guests to the DIA. While we were there they was a painting by a Danish painter (Jorg, I think was his name) Tali and I were both taken with. We sat in silence studying it for sometime. We talked about the colors and gestural movements in the brushstrokes. We were both really touched by the engery that we felt from the painting. It was interesting as the painting almost seemed as though it could have been something we may have painted on stage.

Tali was impressed by the colors. We walked away from that painting with the want to go and paint. It is interesting how we could be in the position of painting nearly everyday and then to be faced with something that would make us feel that we wanted to paint even more.

The day after this painting was created we looked at it in the theater with new eyes and it was amazing to us how without really thinking how or if we would do anything different, to see that we really pushed where we were to a new place.

I have always found inspiration in other art and artists and the experience of painting with Tali day after day has shown me so much about expression and being free.  These days I am able to take those ideas and keep myself open to the influences that are around me all the time.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Welcome to the Blog from Royce Deans' Studio

Zwolle Sky oil on wood panel  19" X 19"

This is the beginning of a new moment for me, with all of this technology at my fingertips that last several years it has been so simple to be everywhere at once and be completely confused and confusing all at the same time.

This is going to be a defining moment, or so it feels to me anyway.

The last years have been good to me in an interesting sort of a way, some moments have been more interesting than others I must admit. Projects I have been involved in have taken some curious turns.

This blog will be an attempt to be the place where I can report on my adventures, exhibitions, thoughts as well as the latest news and developments that are spawned from my studio. I will spend the next several posts recounting the summer and all of its accomplishments as they come to the forefront of my memory. As well, I will keep you abreast of what is happening as it is or is about to happen.

So, here we go. Now that I have this first entry out of the way. I can get on with it and stop just thinking about it.

Until next time, sit tight.