There should be two Ron Jenkins
one to do artwork, and the other to pursue his many hobbies.
One of the most interesting of these is falconry, and we hasten
to add that a falconer is not a bloodthirsty assassin, but
a rather abstracted and inefficient hunter who is more than
satisfied with one small kill, if that, for a day's hunting.
The bag is insignificant, and incidental.
The lure of falconry lies in
the thrill of having control of a magnificent and beautiful
bird of prey (in Mr. Jenkins' case, a Harris' hawk; he lost
his falcon to an infection), in the temporary escape from
everyday pressures to the world of nature, and in watching
the wild and free flight of his bird which culminates in an
obedient return to his fist. Add to this the satisfaction
of training such a creature, along with Ron's liking for birds,
and the idea of an artist's being also a falconer doesn't
seem so outré.
Pennsylvania terrain is not particularly
well suited to falconry (although it depends somewhat upon
the kind of bird one owns), so if the Jenkins family should
ever move to Wyoming or some other place with wide open spaces,
we know at least one reason for their going.
For the moment, however, Ron
Jenkins can properly be called a Pennsylvanian, since he was
taken from Pawtucket, Rhode Island (where he was born on August
18, 1932) to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, when he was only three
years old, and has lived there ever since. He graduated from
Carlisle High School in 1950.
In January 1951 he joined the
Marine Corps and after boot camp at Parris Island he was sent
in turn to California, Korea, and Quantico, working most of
the time as a telephone lineman. He was promoted to the rank
of Sergeant within three years, and after his separation from
the Corps in January 1954, he returned to Carlisle to marry
Marian Decker, a high school sweetheart.
Mr. Jenkins attended the Philadelphia
Museum School of Art throughout the academic year 1954-55,
but increasing family responsibilities prompted him to drop
his art education temporarily to go to work for a savings
and loan association. It was a job he was to hold for ten
years, but in the meantime he began a correspondence course
in art that ran from 1958 to 1962. He did freelance artwork
whenever he had a spare moment.
Mr. Jenkins works in any medium,
but he says that the fast-drying media of opaque watercolor
or polymer seem to suit him best. He works fast, and although
he will tackle any subject, birds arc his favorite; his work
on them goes especially fast. In fact, he spent so little
time, comparatively speaking, on the 1964 painting of canvasbacks
that won the duck stamp contest for him that it gave him mildly
embarrassed pause; he had almost not submitted it at all.
Fortunately, it did get tucked inside a package of "better"
paintings and got sent to Washington.
In July 1966 Mr. Jenkins began
free-lancing full time. He has illustrated a number of stories
for the Pennsylvania Game News and the Pennsylvania Angler,
besides having done three covers for each of them in 1967.
His work has also appeared in the National Geographic magazine
and the Modern Game Breeding magazine, and is in several private
Mr. Jenkins says his studio
looks "like Fibber McGee's closet." Right now it's
overflowing with pictures and sketches of Wyoming scenery
and wildlife that he brought back from a trip he took in the
summer of 1967. While he was there he helped some researchers
work with grizzly bears and got some invaluable reference
material on the safest, most gentle kind of bear that exists:
an immobilized one. He is working on a bear painting now.
Besides being a member of the
Outdoor Writers' Association of America and of the Pennsylvania
Outdoor Writers' Association, Ron teaches art classes from
time to time and gives speeches on art and conservation.
The Jenkins roof (in 1965) shelters
not only Ron, Marian, and a burgeoning studio, but five young
Jenkinses, all boys, ranging in age from 3 to 12, the hawk,
and a dog. We can presuppose hunting and fishing gear for
six, an insect collection, assorted rocks, minerals, and seashells,
bicycles, sleds, boots, toys, and 313 unmatched mittens. There
may be some confusion in the household at times.