Artists Serving Artists – Curtis Whitwam


My studio exists everywhere I go because that’s
where I’m finding my inspiration. I’ve always been really heavily influenced
by nature. I’ve had a fascination with color and patterns
and the effect of light, especially with regards to water. I’ve always spent a lot of time in the outdoors. I studied Earth Sciences when I was in college
and so I have a real deep appreciation for the life-supporting ecosystems that exist. A critical step in my process is going out
and spending time and immersing myself in these natural places. It’s a recharge for me — it’s the way that
I feel filled up, so that when I’m ready to produce my artwork I have this well of ideas
that I want to spring forth. When I’m starting on a piece, I like to sketch
out the composition in pencil and then come in with the paint and start to block it in
and then just kind of build up from there. But my color usage is really important. I rarely use color straight out of the tube. I really enjoy the process of creating my
own colors. Prior to beginning, I’ll actually go through
and I’ll blend a bunch of different colors together, maybe even layout test swatches
so that I can have a good idea of what I’m working with before I even lay the paint to
the paper. I’ve gotten really excited about paints that
have really nice, high pigment load, super saturated colors that don’t fade. And even just during the process they don’t
fade as much. You really get a true sense of the color when
it goes down. They’re also very translucent on the paper
and I like that a lot in my work because of the layering that I do. One of the things that I’ve been doing are
these design-based, patternistic pieces that mimic an environment. In creating those pieces, you can see how
those natural patterns carry over from one thing to another – like for example when
you look at the patterns of the oak tree branching or root system branching down, it looks like
the veins in your body or like the bronchioles in your lungs. And through the use of the color as well as
the patterns what I hope to convey in that is a love for those natural environments because
they will feel a true connection to those natural environments. My artwork is here to show what a healthy
vibrant ecosystem looks like, what healthy vibrant clear water looks like, what these
places are in some cases, what they were in some cases. In my lifetime I’ve seen the degradation of
some of our fresh water springs, so the loss is real and me painting this stuff and being
able to document in that regard from an artist perspective like showing it to people in the
form of a watercolor painting or an acrylic painting gives the viewer a completely different
feeling when they look at it as opposed to say, you know, a photograph. It’s really hard to see what’s happening to
these places and my only hope is that we can work to protect them better than we are now.

24 Replies to “Artists Serving Artists – Curtis Whitwam”

  1. The world around us can be so beautiful if you take a time to look at it. Nature can really help with inspiration on Art, the painting looks so beautiful and very pretty to the Environmental surroundings.

  2. This is a friend – a super nice guy and amazing talented artist – what a great video showing both talent and compassion for the environment – definitely check out his work! Way to go, Curtis!

  3. This guy's paintings are of high professional quality! What is he doing as a sales representative? He is better than most professional artists I have seen.

  4. I am glad that Blick Art Materials appreciates you talent. Not only are you a good promoter for them, but also a very good artist in your own right. Kudos to you and best of luck professionally.

  5. Curtis & I had a great extended conversation last month when he visited my art gallery, and I discovered we belong to the same visual artists' association. What a great video showing his deep observation of nature and how it translates into his beautiful paintings. Next time I visit Blick I'll look for Curtis in the watercolor aisle!

  6. Amazingly beautiful work and showcase of this brilliant artist! I love how Curtis connects intimately with the environment and portrays it in his work.

  7. Love this quick explaination of how you work your process. Simply gorgeous work. I’ll be checking you out on social media to see what you correct.

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