The beauty of Ap­palachia

South­ern Heart­land Art Guild hon­ors March artist of the month

The Covington News - - Sunday Living - By Rachel Oswald

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.

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

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.

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

An oil on can­vas paint­ing by Jack Whit­taker ti­tled “Carolina Quail.”

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

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.”

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