Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Art and Visual Culture


Integrated Visual Arts

First Advisor

Brent Holland


Growing up on a farm that has been in my family since 1849, I gained an admiration and reverence for the land that so many of my family members have worked. Like ghosts or spirits that walk the place, monument-like markers exist, signifying the actions and lives of those who came before me. A tractor may remain parked as it has been for years since the last time it was driven. A broken crock full of metal now slowly sinks into the earth under years of maple leaves fallen from the massive trees that my grandfather planted when he was six years old. A winter-killed field of grass frosted with a light snow cracks like eggshells under my chore boots. And a dead cow lies in a pasture to be consumed by scavengers of all species. I find stories on my family’s farm, and I record, document, and preserve them almost obsessively in my detailed graphite drawings and mixed-media acrylic paintings. My paintings begin with detailed underdrawings that often remain visible in the final painting. The underdrawings provide a visible structure or armature like bones on the body or the vaulting in a Gothic church. I create these mixed-media acrylic paintings using watered-down acrylic, acrylic ink, and handmade acrylic paints using natural pigments applied in multiple thin washes and using detailed, woven mark making. However, it is not so much the people or even the places as it is the opportunity within each painting or drawing to capture something timeless—something that would have been true yesterday or ten thousand years ago.

I consider my method of using underdrawings to have precedent in the techniques of Northern European artists from the 15th and early 16th century such as Robert Chaplin, Hans Memling, and Albrecht Dürer. Underdrawings are drawings done on panel, canvas, paper, or other substrate that assist in resolving compositional issues before the artist starts painting. Later painters took inspiration from these historical models in terms of both subject matter and working method and would apply concepts gleaned from these artists. One painter who did this Iowa native Grant Wood. The combination and juxtaposition of Regionalism, with its emphasis upon a particular rural venue, and the paradoxical mystery of Surrealism form the aesthetic precedent that is the basis of my artwork. I enjoy painting every blade of grass while allowing a disconcerting ambiguity to lurk below the surface to encourage viewers into a deeper dialogue with the paintings. I strive to find the sublime in the mundane that permeates each life to preserve and portray that for the future. An entire world is portrayed within the individual lines

Copyright Owner

Robert David Jinkins



File Format


File Size

56 pages