Davis Perkins Profile Photo

Davis Perkins

San Rafael, CA

The experience of nature in its rawest form first inspired my paintings. As a smokejumper it was critical for me to pay careful attention to the terrain, weather and all the elements of nature. As an artist I try to use that observation in my painting to capture the look and feel of movement in the clouds and to convey the mood and atmosphere. I start a painting by blocking the essential values from dark to light, while keeping the source of light consistent. I try to capture the basic essence of the subject matter so that it reads as a realistic image. I work in plein air and in the studio. I like to paint rather loosely. I often start by brushing on a wash of color, and then use a palette knife to add texture and detail. The palette knife helps me to work quickly, to stay loose and spontaneous so that I don’t overwork the subject. Many artists have inspired me, including the legendary painters Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Frank Wooten and Robert Henri. I have also been influenced by contemporary artists Richard Schmid, Russell Chatham, and Lynn Boggess.

Davis Perkins is a California landscape painter with an unusual background. He has had a long career as a smokejumper, firefighter, paramedic, and professional artist. After serving as a paratroop sergeant (first with the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, and later with the 12th Special Forces Group of the Army Reserve), Davis worked 13 summers as a smokejumper, parachuting into forest fires with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. During the winter he attended art school, graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in fine arts. His early work was featured in solo exhibitions at the Alaskan State Museum and the Smithsonian Institution Air & Space Museum. Both museums selected his work for their permanent collections. In 2015 Davis was selected as a Signature Member of the Oil Painters of America.

Davis exhibits his work in galleries and other art venues in Northern California, while continuing his life of travel and public service. In 2007 he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, and created paintings from his view at the summit. He remains active as a paramedic, and as a member of the Disaster Medical Assistance Team of the Department of Health and Human Services. Since 2010 Davis has served on annual medical relief missions to Haiti, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Liberia (Ebola outbreak), Vanuatu (cyclone relief), Nepal (earthquake relief) and Lesvos, Greece to aid with the recent refugee crisis. Currently, Davis is in Mosul, Iraq with a trauma team, providing medical aid to civilians who have been cut off by the ISIS occupation of the city.

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