As an artist, David Kinker doesn’t separate a life of reflection from the reflections of the water in his paintings. At first glance, the landscapes are representational of the rivers David visits as a naturalist and interpretive river guide. Yet, while painting is a record of his experiences it’s also a record of what he refers to as a special relationship with the “benevolent power of water.” Look closer at the large-scale paintings and the smallest brush strokes transcend place to mimic the light, shadow and shapes that create not only the subject on canvas but represent the way geologic time is expressed along the walls of a canyon.
“The scale in a canyon is very humbling,” he says.
David grew up on a ranch in Wyoming and in rural Arizona where he began drawing and painting as a young boy, starting with natural subjects such as the patterns and colors of birds. With a degree in visual communications and talents as an art instructor, David is also known for his mural work seen throughout Central Oregon: at the Tower Theatre, breweries, restaurants and nonprofits. Yet on his business card, next to fine artist it also says “Turbulent Hydrology Specialist” to reflect his river guide expertise. David has a special reverence for running the rivers found at the base of the oldest and deepest canyons in the world, including those in Peru, Ecuador and in the Grand Canyon. Each trip allows the appreciation for the history, geology, archeology and natural history of each area that is only understood from the bottom of a gorge versus looking down from above. And that is where his artist’s eye synthesizes what he sees and what he experiences.
“Being in deep pieces of earth is very powerful, like being in the heart of the world.”
“Being in deep pieces of earth is very powerful, like being in the heart of the world.” —David Kinker