J o h n   W h i t t i n g h a m

About this website. 

Server information shows the 'country of origin'.  This is stored with the domain registry which happens to be in the USA. This website, whittinghampaintings.com is hosted in Germany and France with its site builder in the Czech Republic, possibly?


About Me.  À propos de moi.

I am a studio painter resident in Cantley, Québec.  Before that I lived in Edmonton in the great and heroic province of Alberta. Before Alberta, I lived and worked for 45 years in Saskatchewan.  I am forever marked by Western Canada, its fluid social and political context, its ability to rebuild lives and everywhere the acts of random kindness. 


With me is my brilliant, polyhistoric and indeed, beautiful wife.  Sprinkled across the Canadian subcontinent are my children and grandchildren. The self-possessed and courageous women who have modelled for me and who played a central part in the creation of my work reside in this country as well ( one is a citizen of the United Mexican States ). 


As a realist painter I render illusion.  Somewhere within the  painted images is also an allusion to a live person.  More so, if the collaboration and study is sustained over  a long period of time as I have done. I owe much to my models for their effort and contribution.

The subject of my work is the human figure and face.  In painting, the figure, portrait and multi-figure history paintings are among the more difficult subjects.  Many artists today avoid them altogether, at least with any degree of realism.  Behind my choice of subject matter is the implied belief that the subject of humanity is central to art and should be its central theme.  This engenders a type of art counterposed against the dehumanization of mass society and a constructive process dismissive of trivial efforts in the field of painting.

Someone must have taught you. 

No.    Just me.  The ability to paint is not taught but learned.  It did not happen overnight, but it did happen in near isolation.


I have been painting since 1971.  I knew and shared studio space with one of the greatest artists of our time - originally from the Peoples Republic of China.  I have been through the museums of Europe (as late as February 2020) and completed the mill of a Fine Arts school including directed studies at the university level. I worked hard at invention and problem solving over many decades.  I have several university degrees including a BA in Visual Art and a BSc Computer Science.  In addition to my formal education which straddles art and science, I have substantial practical knowledge of other fields.  My recourse to historical sources, science and empiricism, as well as my own protracted enquiry have introduced some divergence from  mainstream art and no small amount of innovation.  I say this without apology. .

John Whittingham

Revised January 28, 2022


Second floor studio. Four easels set up with soft rubber wheels to operate over a wooden floor. (In April 2020 there are now five easels) You can also see the installation of a mini winch on the back of the treacherously slippery eucalyptus easel. (Additionally a fourth winch system was completed in August)

Reference my articles under Easel Modifications. 

A travelling tabouret sits in the foreground with drawers, a sealed container filled with low odour solvent and imbedded holders for water, spray bottle and brushes.  

Photo: Spring 2016 Edmonton, Alberta


It occurred to me that I started where many were late to the party.  I acquired Ralph Mayer's 3rd Ed of the Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques in 1976, a book ironically recommended to me by Ted Godwin.  At that time I was registered in chemistry at a university.  My art teachers had no background in chemistry and often lacked precision in language.  In contrast I had my own chemistry lab by the age of eight. 


Soon afterward I acquired Leon Battista Alberti's Della Pittura translated from the Tuscan into English.  This book (originally 3 vol.) appeared in 1536 CE and is itself informed by Stoic philosophy and the manual, De Architectura written by the Roman military engineer  Marcus Vitruvius Pollio in the first century BCE (dedicated to Augustus Caesar).  Vitruvius' name may be familiar to you because Da Vinci used it for his drawing, Vitruvian Man (image below).


In Della Pittura, Alberti laments the loss of genius so abundant in Antiquity but so absent in his own time - i.e. the dawn of the European Renaissance.  My generation looked at the Renaissance in the same way Alberti looked at Antiquity.  They were both wrong.


Affiliations :

Harcourt House (2014- )

Alberta Society of Artists, juried member (2017-2021 )

(also formerly Edmonton Art Club 2016-2017)