Chattanooga artist Michael Jenkins said he has always been inspired by Ansel Adams' iconic black and white photographs of the American West, particularly those of national parks.
Before starting a family, Jenkins and his wife Co Co hit the road to see as many national and state parks as possible in the few short months before expecting their first child.Â
That trip included stops at the Yellowstone Falls in Wyoming, where the two met during stints at summer jobs; the Grand Canyon in Arizona; Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado; and the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, as well as "too many state parks to even remember."
"The national parks of North America are some of the most beautiful places on earth. I'll never forget the ones I've visited," Jenkins said in his artist's statement about the new work.
A little more than a decade and two kids later, Jenkins has turned the inspiration from those road trips and Adams' images into a new series of 12 large, colorful paintings depicting scenes from 10 national parks.
Jenkins selected 12 of his favorite photographs by the late photographer to create the photo-real series using oil paints, then gave each a unique, radiating sky using stencils and spray paint.
"I wanted to do each one in different shades of the same color range. When they are hung together, it would be a full spectrum of color," Jenkins said.
Jenkins said he is not a landscape painter and attempted his first just a few years ago based on a National Geographic photo of a mountain he really liked.
A strong desire to paint the Grand Tetons, which began a little more than a year ago, ignited the artist to continue painting some of his favorite places and pictures.Â After a year of painting and working full time, the new series emerged, and last weekend the paintings were moved off the walls of the couple's bedroom. They are now on view through Aug. 15 at Sluggo's Vegetarian Cafe in North Chattanooga.
Each of the works are for sale, with prices ranging from $460 to $1,000, but Jenkins admits there are several in the series he will truly miss.