LOWELL, MI -- We have all some sort of artistic value in one way, shape, or form. For some it may be playing an instrument, for others brick-laying, carpentry, or teaching, while others are truly an artist in oil painting. Today we meet nationally known artist Debra Reid Jenkins who lives and works right here in West Michigan.
At her Lowell studio (in a pole barn) it's warm and toasty on a day where the air temperature is in the teens. Two dogs meander quietly around the studio as Debra Reid Jenkins continues to block-in and paint another piece of landscape of the Great Lakes. This particular one will be of the setting sun over Lake Michigan at Hoffmaster State Park...one of her favorite places to paint. Perhaps like other painters, Jenkins typically roughs out ideas (for her commissioned pieces) on paper or with chalk drawings before actually taking to the canvas with professional grade oil paint. She's currently working on a piece that will soon become part of an art show on the West Coast in San Francisco this spring.
In her studio you could her a pin drop...she likes it that way...otherwise she might find herself tapping her foot to the beat of a song or thinking of the nuances in a song that could distract her from her real artistic integrity of painting. She has about 1200 books on painting, about 300 to 400 brushes, countless pastel sticks, and hundreds of tubes of oil paint. On her palette is about 10-15 colors she works with on a given day. "Different artists have different ideas about how many colors you use. For me, what dictates how many are out there is how many nuances I'm looking for in a painting" says Jenkins.
She considers herself a marine painter these days and has come a long way since her early days starting as a furniture painter. Her goal as a painter? "We live on this amazing, beautiful planet and if I can capture some of that on a canvas, so say if somebody is having a rough day or something, they can look at a painting and kind of escape in to that and enjoy the nature around us."
Debra Reid Jenkins has illustrated five nationally known and sold children's books. See the books here. She has paintings at art fairs and in galleries all over the country. She actually is quite impressed and privileged to be hanging in the same places and in the same galleries as deceased painters of the world whose work can command millions of dollars.