My friend and mentor, William Whitaker passed away this morning. He took me in at 19 and taught me to see. I studied with Bill for several years. This particular painting means the world to me. He had it on his easel when I first met him in his studio, and I watched him paint most of it. He let me sit for hours and hours watching him paint. How he tolerated my endless questions! He was always so kind and encouraging. So so many artists owe so much to this wonderful man. The world has lost an art treasure. My favorite Bill Whitaker quote: "That's just the nature of the beast".
I am devastated.
@caseychildsart said it best :
We lost a great man and a talent today. I’m honored to be able to call him my teacher, mentor, and friend. Such a kind, loving, generous man who strove for perfection in all he did. A wonderful example to me, a grand influence, and a huge loss...his contributions to the Utah art community and his influence to the world of art will last forever.
William Whitaker (1943-2018) is one of the most respected living classical-realist figure artists in the Western United States. Whitaker describes his training as being “Most influenced by the academicians of the last century for their craftsmanship, by the impressionists for their color and life, and by the abstract expressionists for their boldness." He earned a BA from the University of Utah where Alvin Gittins was his mentor and later studied at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. Whitaker taught for many years at Brigham Young University before focusing full-time on his studio practice. The list of awards, lectures, exhibits, articles, and other honors received during Whitaker's long career is impressive. He has been designated a living master by the Arts Renewal Center, and an AOA Master by Artists of America.