Who is more appropriate to feature as April's artist of the month than Spring Whitaker? Such bright colors and pretty floral crowns. If you're an animal lover, you'll absolutely fall in love with Spring's paintings. You can check out the rest of her collection HERE.
Take a look at Spring's beautiful home and studio, while we discover more about the artist herself!
Tell us a little about your background.
It took me a little while to find my path. By the time I was twenty I had moved to California and then back home to NJ again. I was working as a supervisor in an ice-cream parlor that I had worked at in high school, and all during this time I was painting. One day I asked a good friend of mine what he thought about an owl I had painted. I wanted to know if he thought it was good enough for me to sell, nothing like self doubt. He answered honestly, he liked it, BUT, he asked me who would ever hang a painting like that with all those bright colors in their home? He said I should keep people's decor in mind and paint for them. This impacted me greatly, and so I spent the next couple of years trying to paint what I thought other people wanted to see, and it just didn't work. Soon I was painting less and less. In the meantime I settled down, got married, bought a house, traveled, raised a tribe of dogs and became an Arts & Entertainment Director at an assisted living. While the job was rewarding and had its benefits, I got to meet some really unique people, it was a very depressing environment to work in (seriously God bless all you healthcare workers out there!!). It was at this point I knew I had to make a change and so I left my very stable 40 hour a week job to pursue photography. Photographing weddings and families made me happy and it was all going well. My photography business slows down in the winter, and that's when I started to paint again. This time though, I painted for me, not what I thought someone wanted to see but what I actually wanted to paint. Once I did that it flowed out of me! I couldn't stop painting and by that following winter I was looking to have scans made, that spring I discovered Skyline. Since being published with Skyline this past July incredible things have happened with my art, things I never even thought possible. I'm very grateful.
Have you always been an Artist? When did you start painting?
Yes! Ever since I could hold a crayon. My grandmother would hang up every doodle I made in pre-school, her garage became my first gallery. I come from an artistic family, my grandfather was an award winning architect, my mother is a painter & crafter. So yes I have always been an artist and it was very much encouraged. I started painting when I was 14.
What materials and techniques do you use while painting?
I use a mix of fluid and heavy body acrylics as well as crafters paint on canvas. As for my technique I like a dry brush, nothing crazy.
Do you paint these charismatic animal portraits from memory, imagination, real life or photographs?
My paintings start off as an idea or thought. I'll think about a certain animal for a couple of days. I envision his or her position or stance and will start thinking of a color I'd like to see it as. After a few days of picturing the animal and it's stance I begin to search the internet for the right fit. Pre-internet (yes I'm old) I would use volumes of National Geographic books that my uncle Robby would stock our home with. After I find the perfect picture that fits the vision of what I have in my mind of the animal, I screenshot it to my phone. After the animal is sketched out on the canvas I'll use the photo on my phone as a reference while I paint. Every once in awhile my hubby and I will visit zoos and I'll snap my own pictures to use. Zoos give me a great deal of inspiration, I LOVE watching animals! I also get a little sad after visiting a zoo though, it's hard for me to see those gorgeous beasts locked up. A dream of mine is to go on safari, the thought of seeing exotic animals in their natural habitat makes me crazy happy.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Who do you admire?
I have been a fan of Pablo Picasso since grade school, his "Bouquet of Peace" was the first poster I ever bought. I admire Frida Kahlo greatly. I discovered Frida in high school and her work immediately resonated with me. Her folk style, vibrant colors, use of nature and animals drew me in. Seeing her pain but also the humor in her work made me an instant fan. I am enamored by her.
Outside of painting and photography, where do your interests lie?
My husband and I are big National Park people, we've visited 19 of them so far. We love to camp, travel, explore new places, & find fun bars while on vacation. I enjoy interior decorating, I'm forever redoing some room in our home or helping a friend with theirs. As I've gotten older I've become a fan of gardening, the simple joy of keeping your garden alive and thriving fills me with peace and gratitude. Plus I'm a sucker for fresh flowers so thats a big bonus of gardening. Also, I'm fortunate enough to live at the shore so riding our bicycles to the beach all summer long is kinda the best.
Do you have any shows on the horizon? Where can we see more work?
My instagram @springwhitaker usually has the most up do date work. Currently I have my originals for sale at Noon Design Shop in Bayhead, NJ. Notebooks, journals, and cards with my work on them are available at TJ Maxx. I'm hoping to announce a few shows as summer approaches.