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 David Jenks  (1943 - )

About: David Jenks


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Lived/Active: California      Known for: landscape-forest view

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is from the artist's website:

Born in 1943, David Jenks grew up and studied in Massachusetts, graduating from Williams College with an Art History degree in 1965. He also attended the Yale Summer School of Music and Art and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

His childhood memories include his mother at a drawing board doing freelance commercial art at home. He started drawing at an early age, particularly inspired by the illustrations of N. C. Wyeth and Howard Pyle in books from his own father's childhood.

Entering college with the idea of a career in architecture, he changed course in midstream and graduated as an aspiring fine artist. But it was not until the mid-1980s that he made a full commitment to painting. The intervening years saw various detours into the pop culture of the day and then stints as a carpenter, including four years at Hollywood film studios when his two children were born.

A year in Somerset in the Southwest of England, provided a new beginning and he started painting outdoors in 1983. Plein-air painting back in California was climaxed by a year-and-a-half on the Big Sur and Mendocino coasts and his first one-man show at the Stary-Sheets Gallery in 1986. Then he and his family moved to Sedona, Arizona.

While living in the Southwest, he began to spend the summers painting on the coast of Maine, where his parents had a summer house, which he eventually turned into a gallery. Ultimately, he was spending more of his winters painting Maine in the studio than going out into the desert. That convinced him to move back to the northern California coast, where he has wintered since 1993 and now lives year-round, deriving his greatest inspiration from the sea.

While he continues to paint the outdoors, he is "in training" to be a portrait painter, his new loveand biggest challenge.

David Jenks's paintings have been featured in galleries across the country and in Japan. Articles on his work have appeared in SOUTHWEST ART and AMERICAN ARTIST. Several of his images have been published, most prominently by the New York Graphic Society; and his paintings hang in a number of corporate collections including MBNA America, Fluor Corporation, and Raymond James Financial, Inc.



For me, the spectrum of painting in the objective genres flourishes between two poles. At one end is the seamless realism which has its roots in Renaissance portraiture and today is highly informed by photography. The other is an expressive kind of painting which sprang up in the nineteenth century, exemplified by the French Impressionists. I have an affection for the latter, but I fall under the spell of great painting of all types.

My first inspirations as a child were the vivid, painterly book illustrations of N. C. Wyeth. Some of the large original canvases fill a room at the Brandywine River Museum in Chadd's Ford, Pennsylvania. It is a true shrine of American art.

Now I particularly admire the turn-of-the-century artists Claude Monet, John Singer Sargent, Joaquin Sorolla, and many of the American Impressionists. They painted the light. Sargent and Sorolla were also masters of gesture in their brushwork, and their art still sets a standard for portrait and figure painting.

Outdoors I seek those vantage points where I can feel a spiritual connection or energy. However, out in the landscape or in front of a model, it is the details of local color and form that naturally absorb me. I see everything in sharp focus, which leads me in the direction of a realist style and the attempt to paint exactly what I see. Yet increasingly now, my interest is in the more transitory effects of light and sea and skyuniquely special moments to which one cannot return day after day, which must ultimately be realized in the studio.

Realist painting can become a kind of show-and-tell or tour de force. One tends to focus on the artist's technical feats; and often in such works, what you see is what you get. Artists like Monet, on the other hand, allow the viewer to participate with his imagination as well as his eyes. Pictorial reality is a bit out of focus, because the artist is focusing on something beyond it. In his late water lily paintings, one literally swims in pure energy before the canvas as the world of form dissolves.

So for me, painting is a weaving course between these two styles, always painting form but always prospecting for light, striving to see a deeper harmonyto open the door to that pure energy.


Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 19611965
Degree with Honors in Art History, 1965
One-man Show, paintings and etchings, 1965
Hubbard Hutchinson Memorial Fellowship, 1965
Crane and Company Award, Berkshire Art Association Annual, 1965
Yale Summer School of Music and Art, Norfolk, CT, 1964
School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, 1966.

Juried Shows
United Society of Artists, The Mall Galleries, London, England, 1983
"The Rural Landscape", Mendocino Art Center, Mendocino, CA, 1986
Springfield Art League Annual, Springfield, MA, 1986
The Copley Society, Boston, MA, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992
Award Winner, "National '91 Small Works Exhibition", Cobbleskill, NY, 1991
"Different Strokes", Mendocino Art Center, 1994
"Envisioned in a Pastoral Setting", Shelburne Farms, Shelburne, VT, 1995.
Invitational Shows
"California North Coast Artists", William Gallery, St. Helena, CA, 1987
"The AMERICAN ARTIST Show", The Copley Society, Boston, MA, 1990
"American Art Landscapes", Galerie Quatre Pieces, Tokyo, Japan, 1992
"Contemporary American Realism", Daimaru Gallery, Kobe & Isetan Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, 1993.
Group Shows
Bell-Ross Gallery, Memphis, TN, 1988
Horizon Galleries, Houston, TX, 1992
Art du Monde Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, 1990, 1991, 1992
Crane Art, Tokyo, Nagoya, and Ikebukuro, Japan, 1990, 1991
Galerie Miabe, Fukoka, Kyushu, and Okinawa, Japan, 1990, 1991
World Collection, Yokohama, Japan, 1990, 1991
Daimon Art, Sapporo, North Tokyo, and East Tokyo, Japan, 1990, 1991
Stewart-Kummer Gallery, Gualala, CA 1999.
One-man Shows
Stary-Sheets Gallery, Gualala, CA, 1986
Panache Gallery, Mendocino, 1995
Gallery at Glendeven, Little River, CA, 1998
Cate School, Carpinteria, CA, 1998
Scharffenberger Cellars, Philo, CA, 1999
Gallery One, Mendocino, CA, 2000.

Cover Story: AMERICAN ARTIST, September 1987
Feature Article: SOUTHWEST ART, June 1992.
MBNA America, Wilmington, DE
Caterpillar, Inc., Peoria, IL
Fluor Corporation, Aliso Viejo, CA
Raymond James Financial, St. Petersburg, FL
Quincy Mutual Fire Insurance Company, Quincy, MA
The Andover Companies, North Andover, MA.

New York Graphic Society, Cos Cob, CT
Townhouse Press, Boston, MA
Bayview Press, Thomaston, ME.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

David Jenks is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
The California Art Club

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