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Meet Mike Jenkins

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mike Jenkins.

Mike Jenkins has been in, on, and under the water since he could walk. Mike grew up fishing, boating, and swimming in Virginia’s Northern Neck. He worked on a charter fishing boat through high school and college. His Grandfather was a sailor. His Dad is a charter boat captain. This started Mike’s love for all things nautical. Mike paints boats, beaches, birds, beasts, and the occasional portrait. His inspiration for painting comes from God and the sea.

Mike started drawing and painting in the early 1970s. His first mentor was Sidney E King who painted nearly 200 murals for the National Park Service and the largest Mural painted in the USA. Later Mike studied with Kristopher Meadows, one of the most inspiring portrait painters in the southeast and an honors graduate of the Savannah College of Arts and Design.

Today, Mike enjoys painting and sketching the beauty of Florida’s beaches, birds, and boats. His realistic style using oil and acrylic paints brings God’s beauty into your home.

Mike runs a professional service consulting business. Painting helps Mike balance the scales between daily left-brain activities, by diving deeply into more creative endeavors.

Mike and his wife Betty are juried artists and members of the Jensen Beach Art League. They exhibit their work at www.MikeJenkinsFineArt.com and at local shows. Mike’s commissions include people, pets, and boats.

If you want to know Mike’s thoughts, watch his videos and see his most recent finished work by following MikeJenkinsFineArt on Facebook. Watch Mike’s painting progression from sketch to signature by following @MikeJenkinsFineArt on Instagram.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I started painting in high school and my work won a few awards. Then I attended college, started a career, got married, had a family, and moved four times. During this time, I painted one painting every five years. About five years ago, I was having lunch with my family in a local eatery. In a side room, there were several incredible portraits. I learned Kristopher Meadows, the artist, offered classes. I signed up with Kris and never looked back.

I fined tuned my skills by painting, teaching, and selling art. Now that I have more time to paint, I struggle to keep my inspiration under control. I have a file containing dozens of great ideas and can’t decide what to do next. Should I paint large, detailed, paintings or should I do small, focused art. In the end, I’ve found it most satisfying to look, listen, and wait for the small voice to tell me what’s next. This voice is seldom wrong.

My toughest struggle is figuring out how to connect my art to the right influencers. The painting part is usually easy. My art sells when the right buyer is engaged. My biggest struggle, as well as most of my artist friends, is finding and motivating the influencers. I’m a geek. I have frolicked in technology my whole life. I know there is a technical solution that will help many like me to engage our market and I’m determined to make it happen.

Please tell us more about your artwork, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I paint all things nautical with the occasional portrait. I learned to paint using oils and do some of my best work with oils, but I’ve made it a personal mission to learn to do the same quality work with acrylics. Why, because oils take much longer to dry and I’m impatient.

My most captivating early paintings are tall ships, my granddad’s boat, my grandmother’s home, and a pencil drawing of my church. My latest favorites include a portrait of my niece in her Naval Academy uniform, a mermaid that combines portraits with marine life, a whole flock of Florida turtles, a few puppies, and the local marina.

My 9×12 or smaller turtles and pelicans sell out quickly at the local surf shop. The larger paintings become focal points for redecorated homes and condos. My most recent commissioned work includes a rendering of my neighbor holding the Tarpon he just landed on the beach.  This was rendered from a monochrome photo taken over 25 years ago.  Another commissions is a stylized painting of the local surf shop who sells my smaller work.

My best work would be classified as realism. I usually downplay the background forcing the focal point to leap off the canvas. If you can hear the gulls, smell the rain, or taste the saltwater while viewing my paintings, then I am a happy artist.

So, what should we be on the lookout for, what’s next in store for you?
Last year, I bought a build-it-yourself guitar kit. Guitarists call this a FrankenStrat. When I opened the box, I immediately saw a dolphin, Mahi Mahi, and Dorado fish. I painted the guitar to resemble a dolphin. Now, I struggle to learn to play guitar. When I say struggle, I mean I pretty much stink at guitar.

I’ve bought a small watercolor kit. The idea that I can travel with a tiny paint set and crank out beautiful art in minutes is intriguing. Still, I find myself spending my time learning better techniques for acrylics that make my paintings more lifelike. I’ve come a long way in five years, but I’m can get better. The watercolors can wait.

I mentioned my inner geek is pushing to find a way to leverage technology to match artists to influencers. I think this will be my biggest challenge in the next couple of years.

For kicks, I may develop a few digital pieces just because it is the logical next move.

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Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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