A Brief and Rather Uninformative Autobiography
portrait study of William Whitaker by Alvin Gittins San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, 1967
At this stage of site development, my words are going to indeed be exceedingly brief and uninformative. I have to paint sometime!
I had a fabulous teacher in Alvin Gittins. The man had a rare gift for likeness. He painted this study in about an hour while I stood in his studio in Mexico. When I look at the picture, it brings that time and place to life. It was only much later that I realized how fortunate I'd been to have this gifted person as a master. He was only fifty-nine when he died. I'm going to make a web site on him this year.
I had a strange and marvelous upbringing and it's taken me years to overcome the influences from my early years. When I was seven, I was placed in a children's art appreciation class at the La Jolla art center. An eager docent, lecturing on a work by Renoir, pointed out the red colors in the painting and told us that every single good painting has red in it somewhere. Well, it took me decades to get over that!
Most people I know had traumatic art experiences in school. When they discovered that their birdie or ducky picture fell short of their high expectations, they gave up on art and shifted to law or medicine. Some of them discovered years later that time had improved their talents. One of the best landscape painters in the country is a trained lawyer. You don't want to mess around with him.
I failed at every sensible, reasonable pursuit and so stayed the course.
That is my history so far.
I'll write some more misleading and gratuitous personal history soon. Promise!
charcoal self portrait, 1983