Guild hosts retrospective for the late Jenkinses
SARANAC LAKE — At the Adirondack Artists Guild there is an extremely tiny painting of a girl in a field of flowers and plants. Next to that is a much larger painting of boatyard in Maine at low tide. Houses sit on stilts as the water recedes, exposing the bare ocean floor. Despite the dramatic size difference, the two paintings both show plenty of attention to detail.
The Guild will hold a retrospective exhibit opening, featuring the works of the late couple Ray and Dicki Jenkins Friday at 5 p.m. The exhibit will stay up until Sunday, Jan. 27.
Dicki died in August 2017, and Ray died a few months later in January.
Ray was one of the original five founding members of the Guild in 1997 along with Mark Kurtz (photographer), Corey Pandolph (cartoonist), Ralph Prata (sculptor) and Eleanor Sweeney (photographer). Dicki later joined, but for a time, Ray was the only painter in the bunch.
“You didn’t want a lot of similar work,” Kurtz said. “We wanted to provide an interesting range of artists.”
Kurtz knew the Jenkinses well and described them as nice people, who never had a sense of ego.
“They really enjoyed being a part of the arts community,” Kurtz said.
Aside from painting, Ray had an extensive background in design and architecture. He a Bachelor of Arts degree from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he majored in industrial design. After that, he worked as an industrial designer and commercial artist. Then, for several years, he taught art at Westtown School near Philadelphia. He then settled into a career as an architectural designer.
Kurtz, along with my other artists who knew Ray and his work, said you could easily see the architectural influence in his pieces. He made many detailed pencil sketches on site, taking notes of detail, color and mood. He then transferred these sketches to watercolor paper, adjusting composition in the process.
Before he died, Ray said, “The artist has to stand there and look, or imagine, with a deeper eye. Dig in, look deeper into the subject. Look at relationships as well as color and value, composition, size, light and dark, but also at what you want to say, and don’t be afraid to say it. Seeing beyond just looking is a process that goes along with all aspects of life.”
While Ray focused on scenes of towns, homes, and Adirondack landscapes, Dicki worked on a smaller scale and mainly painted plants, greenery and intricate floral arrangements with vivid colors.
Dicki Jenkins received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Earlham College where she majored in art and physical education. She then studied painting and drawing at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. After twenty years of athletic coaching at Westtown School, near Philadelphia, Dicki returned to painting with a botanical illustration class at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA. She brought this interest in botanical painting to the Adirondacks when she moved there, with Ray, in 1976. Later, she became an active member of the Miniature Society of America. Many of her paintings were only a few inches in size but exhibited clearly detailed images.
“I have no idea how she was able to do that type of stuff,” Kurtz said.
“They had very distinct styles,” Kurtz said. “You didn’t look at their pieces and say, ‘oh, they must be together.'”
If you go…
What: “Remembering the Jenkins” art exhibit reception
Where: Adirondack Artists Guild, 52 Main St., Saranac Lake
When: Friday, Jan. 11, 5 to 7 p.m.
How much: Donations suggested