Born and raised in Michigan, Debra Reid Jenkins’ art has been greatly influenced by her strong connection to nature. Although initially focusing on illustration in her studies at the Kendall School of Design, she later transferred to Aquinas College in Grand Rapids Michigan in order to study fine art. There she was classically trained in formal portraiture, with an emphasis on solid craftsmanship, refined skill in drawing, and a mastery of anatomy.
In the mid 1980’s, she developed a passion for plein-air painting, which she found to be as compelling as figurative work. Combining the two disciplines led to the creation of illustrations for several children’s books and magazines, which greatly increased the visibility and popularity of her work. She continued to experiment with a synthesis of realism and abstraction that greatly informed her mature style. That continues today, particularly with the modern aesthetic in her marine paintings, in which flat planes of pattern and receding natural space exist simultaneously. Her paintings are influenced by a broad spectrum of art including textiles, the pictorial space of Japanese woodcuts, Impression and contemporary realism. The work of Hokusai, Sorolla, Diebenkorn, Thiebaud, and Chuck Close have been particularly inspirational.
Debra Reid Jenkins is a signature member of the American Society of Marine Artists (ASMA) and the Pastel Society of America, as well as a member of the Society of Gilders and Portrait Society of America. Her work has been in ASMA’s Between the Shining Seas exhibition and the 15th National, which toured eight museums over a three-year period. Debra was featured in the “Today’s Masters” column in the December 2014 issue of Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. Her paintings have been published in the 2010 and 2014 International Artists Magazine Seascapes competitions, as well as Portrait Inspirations, American Artist Magazine and Art Masters.