The beauty of Appalachia
Southern Heartland Art Guild honors March artist of the month
For Jack Whitaker, nothing drives his inspiration to paint more than the natural beauty of Appalachia.
Born in Greenville, S.C., Whitaker lived throughout the South before moving to Rochester, N.Y. as a young man to study painting.
After spending some years abroad he eventually decided to settle down in Covington. This month he is the Southern Heartland Gallery’s Artist of the Month.
Favoring paintings of life in the rural South, Whitaker especially likes to paint rough impressionistic scenes taken from the western North Carolina mountains.
“There’s a peace about it, a tranquility,” said Whitaker of his love of painting. “I paint what I know, I paint what I love.”
Whitaker began painting at the age of 13 when he was introduced to it by Lois Hendry, a noted painter in Waynesville, N.C. After trying his hand at engineering briefly in college, Whitaker decided to return to his first love of painting.
He then moved to Rochester where he studied painting and print design at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
He went on to open a picture frame company and art gallery in Rochester. He traveled abroad, painting in Holland, Germany, Italy and the south of France before returning to sell his company in 1990.
Drawn back home to the South, he established Southlight Studios where he creates fine art, murals and faux finishing. His murals have been used by the Hyatt Regency, in celebration of the 1996 Olympics.
Whitaker described his painting philosophy as simply copying the great works of art that God has already created in nature.
“God is the creator of color, composition, light and nature,” Whitaker said. “All I have to do is copy themaster.”
Whitaker said it takes him on average 35 hours to start and finish a painting. In his paintings he uses an oil palette and brushes. Over the years, he estimates he has sold several hundred paintings.
He is represented by the Southern Heartland Gallery, the Sportsman’s Gallery in downtown Atlanta, the Gallery of Gems in Franklin N.C. and Magnolia Art Gallery in Eatonton.
A new gallery artist is profiled every month at Southern Heartland. Trish Bilich, a coordinator of the Artist of the Month program, said the program was begun as a way to give exposure to gallery artists of which there are 24.
Every second Thursday of the month, a reception will
Artist to artist: be held at Southern Heartland for that month’s artist. The public is invited to attend the reception where they can enjoy light refreshments, meet the artist and view his/her work.
Each month the artist’s work will be profiled in the gallery’s display windows as well as at the Newton CountyWelcome Center and inside BB&T Bank, just off the Covington Square.
Featured Artist Jack Whittaker, left, mingles with Southern Heartland Art Guild member Myra Frady, as Whittaker’s paintings hang on the wall behind them during the Southern Heartland Art Gallery’s Artist of the Month reception Thursday evening.
An oil on canvas painting by Jack Whittaker titled “Carolina Quail.”
The Southern Heartland Art Gallery’s Artist of the Month for March is Jack Whitaker who stands at the entrance of the gallery with his painting titled “October on Scotts.”