The Adirondack Artists Guild is pleased to present a retrospective exhibit of paintings by the late Ray and Dicki Jenkins, who were well known for their exquisite watercolor paintings. The show will be on display from January 4 through January 27. A reception will take place on Friday January 11 at the gallery from 5-7 pm. Everyone is welcome to come and see the outstanding art that Ray and Dicki produced while living in the Adirondacks.
Ray Jenkins was one of the five original members of the Adirondack Artists Guild, along with Mark Kurtz, Corey Pandolph, Ralph Prata and Eleanor Sweeney, when it opened in 1997. Later Dicki joined the group and they both remained members until they retired.
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.
For many years, Dicki carefully rendered realistic true-to-actual-size combinations of Adirondack flowers, ferns, and fungi growing in the gardens, woods, and meadows surrounding her home on Upper Saranac Lake. She applied watercolor and gouache to high quality paper using tiny sable brushes to capture the details that bring her work to life. Toward the end of her painting career, her compositions became more abstract. She received an award from the National Exhibition of American Watercolors at the Arts Center in Old Forge, New York, for one of her floral abstractions.
Dicki also painted in miniature and her tiny landscapes of the Adirondacks were very popular locally. She also enjoyed painting miniatures of her grandchildren as they engaged with their pets and the environment. She participated in multiple national exhibitions sponsored by the Miniature Art Society and won numerous awards.
Ray Jenkins received 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.
Ray first 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. After Ray moved, with Dicki, to the Adirondacks, he designed several local architectural projects and a number of “camps.” Gradually, approaching retirement, he returned to painting and drawing.
In 1991 Ray began to show his work. Within a few years, he began to receive awards at national watercolor exhibitions including the National Exhibition of American Watercolors at the Arts Center in Old Forge, New York, The Salamgundi AWS International Show, The Pennsylvania National Watercolor Show, and The Kentucky National Show. Ray became a signature member of the North East Watercolor Society.
Ray’s artwork displays a strong sense of design and intent. His compositions reflect that he believed in “using” what he saw as opposed to being restricted by reality. He made many detailed pencil sketches on site, making notes of detail, color and mood. He then transferred these sketches to watercolor paper, adjusting composition in the process.
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.”
Ray’s pencil drawings show his architectural skills though when adding buildings to the landscape he had to remember to “loosen up.” He was especially interested in the process of applying value gradations to convey depth, then adding crisp detail, to bring out the light, like the sparkle of a winter morning.
Ray is well known locally for his paintings of the Adirondacks. He enjoyed trips out onto the lakes and rivers by canoe to get a feel for relationships of color and the mood of the sky. He especially enjoyed using watercolor to capture the look of languid evening reflections on placid water.
Ray and Dicki enjoyed travelling together to paint in new and different places. They often joined friends and other painters on excursions to the coast of Maine where their coastal maritime works often celebrate the effects of wind and water on boats and the weathered structures of the fishing industry. In March they often headed south, to paint the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Ray and Dicki also worked together to do most of their own matting and framing. They considered presentation to be an important aspect of artistic endeavor and worked hard late in life to maintain the strength and mechanical skills necessary to precisely cut mats, glass, and frame material, and as Dicki would say: “Pull it all together.”
The Adirondack Artists Guild is a cooperative retail art gallery representing a diverse group of artists residing and working in the Tri-Lakes region of the Adirondack Park. The gallery is located at 52 Main St, Saranac Lake, 518 891-2615. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 until 5, and 11-3 on Sundays. The Guild is on Facebook and on the web at www.adirondackartistsguild. com.