A native San Franciscan, Dennis graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the California College of the Arts. His knack for composition and eye for color gave him a distinctive look and he was able to establish himself as an illustrator in San Francisco. Wanting to explore more opportunities as an illustrator, he moved to New York in 1980. While there, he flourished as an artist, which eventually led him to a successful career as one of the nation’s top illustrators.
Dennis Ziemienski, Tucson Diver, Oil on Canvas, 30" x 24"
His compelling poster images include the NFL Super Bowl XXIX and the 2006 Kentucky Derby. His paintings were featured on many well-known book covers including, the Tales of the City series by Armisted Maupin, and several covers for authors Elmore Leonard and James Lee Burke. Dennis was the featured cover artist for Hemispheres, United Airlines in-flight magazine, the National Lampoon and, more recently, Western Art Collector and the Jackson Hole Traveler.
Dennis’ strong and richly colored images borrow much of their inspiration from early 20th century paintings and posters. His early influences, J.C. Leyendecker, N.C. Wyeth, Ludwig Hohlwein and Tom Purvis, were all master designers in composition. The demands of illustration and poster design, with its simplified, sculpturally rendered images, gave Dennis the discipline and draftsmanship that give strength to his paintings today.
In 1986 he returned to his roots in California and bought property and settled in the Sonoma wine country. About this time, Dennis turned his attention to fine art, when continuous requests of his original images were made and private paintings were commissioned.
Dennis Ziemienski, Moonlight over Tumacacori, Oil on Canvas, 36" x 36"
Now Dennis paints, mainly, in oils. The major influences in his paintings are Maynard Dixon, Frank Brangwyn, Ernest Blumenschein, Edward Hopper and Maurice Logan... ironically, all were illustrators, at one time, during their art careers.
At his first show at Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery in Santa Fe, Dennis was pleased to discover that, John Dixon, Maynard Dixon’s son, purchased November Garden, an oil depicting a figure raking leaves in the yard of an old Santa Fe adobe.
As an Artist member of the California Art Club, he received the Jesse Arms Botke award at the 103rd Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition in 2014. His work has been included in collections at the Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, the Booth Western Art Museum, and the Bakersfield Museum of Art. It also has appeared in shows at the Tucson Museum of Art, the Autry Museum, Buffalo Bill Historical Center, the National Museum of Wildlife Art, the National
Cowboy and Heritage Museum and the Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University. Dennis has taught at the California College of the Arts, and the Academy of Art in San Francisco.
The palm-lined avenues, the snow capped desert peaks, the beaches, the vineyards and hills with the dry California light and its intensely clear contrasts, have all contributed to my art in some way. After growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I continue to find myself returning to themes associated with this visual lexicon.
My interest in representational drawing and painting eventually led me to New York and into a successful career in illustration. My early influences, Tom Purvis and Ludwig Hohlwein, tended to be compositionally strong designers. The demands of illustration and poster design, with its simplified, sculpturally rendered images, have served me well, for that discipline and craftsmanship give strength to my paintings today.
Dennis Ziemienski, Cloudburst Amid the Monuments, Oil on Canvas, 32" x 60"
During my illustration career, I mastered painting in acrylics. Now, unemcumbered by unrealistic deadlines, I paint in oils. Major influences in my paintings are Maynard Dixon, Edward Hopper, and Maurice Logan. Ironically, all were illustrators, at one time, during their art careers.
I have found travel to be a completely essential tool for developing different palettes, ideas and for tuning up sensibilities. I love to paint my native California and the West but the land of my ancestors, Italy and the Mediterranean, has also been a frequent subject. It is important for me to use a romantic sense of history and place, when required, to create a vision that lures the viewer into the picture; creating the desire to "be there".
Dennis Ziemienski, Shepherd at the Window, Oil on Canvas, 32" x 32"
Born- 1947 San Francisco, CA
Education -1972 California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA BFA
Teaching and Lectures
- 1998-2003 Sonoma Community Center, Sonoma, CA painting & composition
- 1988-1990 Academy of Art College, San Francisco, CA painting & illustration
- 1977-1980 California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA illustration and design
- 1975-1977 Foothill College, Los Altos, CA composition & design
- 1998-2004 Syracuse University, NY guest lecturer
Exhibitions and Awards
- 2015 - William E. Weiss Purchase Award, Buffalo Bill Art Show and Sale, Whitney Western Art Museum
- 2014 - Jessie Arms Botke Award, California Art Club 103rd Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition, Autry Museum, Los Angeles, CA
- 2013 - Fred Harvey and the American Southwest, solo exhibition, Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery, Tucson, AZ
- 2012 - Landscapes of the West, Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
- 2012 - 4th Annual Small Works Show and Sale, Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
- 2011 - Sonoma Treasure Artist, Sonoma, CA
- 2011 - West Along the Mother Road, Route 66, solo exhibition, Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
- 2010 - Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery, Tucson, AZ
- 2010 - The 99th Annual California Art Club Gold Medal Juried Exhibition, Pasadena Museum of California Art, CA
- 2009 - Historic Trading Posts of the West, Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery, Tucson, AZ
- 2009 - Geronimo Remembered, Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery, Tucson, AZ
- 2008 - Solo Exhibition, Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery, NM
- 2007 - Santa Fe Fall Small Works Show and Sale by Gallery Artists, Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery, NM
- 2007 - Santa Lucia Preserve, Invitational En Plein Air, Carmel, CA
- June-July 2007 - Fred Harvey to Route 66 and Everything Inbetween, Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
- 2007 - Arizona: A Millennium of Arizona Art, Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery, Tucson, AZ, featured cover artist
- 2006-2007 Grand Canyon: From Dream to Icon, Tucson Museum of Art, AZ
- 2006 First Place at Point Reyes Plein Air Show, CA
- 2006 Artist for the Kentucky Derby
- 2004 - 11th Annual Carmel Art Festival, Plein Air Competition, Carmel, CA
- Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, Wet Paint Event, Sonoma, CA
- 19th Annual Salute to the Arts Exhibition, Sonoma, CA
- Sonoma Plein Air 2004, Sonoma, CA
- The American Heart Association Gala, San Francisco, CA
- 2003 - California Art Club with the Women's City Club Artist's Choice
- Exhibition, Pasadena, CA
- 18th Annual Salute to the Arts Exhibition, Sonoma, CA
- Sonoma Plein Air 2003, Sonoma, CA
- 2002 - 17th Annual Salute to the Arts Exhibition, Sonoma, CA
- Sonoma Plein Air 2002, Sonoma, CA
- 2001 - 16th Annual Salute to the Arts Exhibition, Sonoma, CA
- 2011 feature article, American Art Collector, August issue
- 2011 feature article, Southwest Art magazine, June issue
- 2010 feature article, Southwest Art magazine, April issue
- 2010 feature article, Western Art Collector, November issue
- 2009 feature article, Western Art Collector, May issue
- 2008 Western Art Collector, cover and featured article, January
- 2007 feature article, Western Art Collector
- 2007 Sonoma Magazine, featured article, Winter
- 2007 Santa Fe Trend
- 2007 Art of the Four Corners, cover and article, Summer
- 2007 Canyon Road Arts, vol. 3, pages 104 -110
- 2006 Southwest Art, Best of the West, May
- 2006 Southwest Art, Best of the West, March
- 1999 Sonoma Valley Magazine, Sept.
- 1997 United Airlines "Hemispheres" Magazine - cover
- California Art Club - Artist Member since 2003
- New York Society of Illustrators - Full Member since 1982
- Oil Painters of America - Member since 2005
Selected Public Collections
- Axiom Wines (makers of Red Truck Wine), CA
- Breakaway Cafe, CA
- Conley Museum of the West, AZ
- Infineon Raceway collection, CA
- Kentucky Derby, KY
- Manka’s Inverness Lodge, Point Reyes National Seashore, CA
- National Football League
- Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, CA
- Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts, Maynard Dixon museum, UT
- Time Life, Inc. collection, NY
- Tucson Museum of Art, Weavings of the Dine’, AZ (Cover painting)
- United Airlines / Hemispheres collection, IL
- The University of Arizona Museum, AZ
Selected Private Collections
- His Royal Highness Charles Prince of Wales
- Cline collection, CA (Cline Cellars)
- John Dixon collection, CA (Maynard Dixon’s son)
- Lasseter collection, CA (chief creative officer at Pixar and Walt Disney Animation)
- Tom Smothers collection, CA (comedian)
- Drs. Mark and Kathleen Sublette, AZ
- Vadasz collection, CA (Executive VP, Intel Corp.)
Return to Dennis Ziemienski's Paintings
Dennis Ziemienski, Navajo Sandstone, Oil on Canvas, 48" x 60"