Whittingham Paintings . com

Technical Notes on Fine Art Painting

Shameless Self Promotion & Adventures in Figure Painting

About this website. 

Server information will show the 'country of origin' as the USA.  This is is stored with the domain registry which happens to be in the USA. The evilgenius.space website is hosted in Germany and France with its site builder in Lithuania.

About me.

I am a studio painter residing in western Canada.  With me is my brilliant, polyhistoric and yes, beautiful wife.  Sprinkled across the Canadian subcontinent are my children and grandchildren. The fearless and self-possessed women who have modelled for me and upon whom I place great importance reside in this country as well.  Save for one was and is a citizen of the United Mexican States.  I owe much to 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 avoid them altogether.  Behind my choice of subject matter is the implied belief that humanity is central to art and should be its central theme.  This is both a reaction against the dehumanization of mass society and a dismissal of trivial efforts in the field of painting.

In recent years, I had set out to systematically develop and advance the quality of my work.  To this end I have eliminated unrelated activities including other subject matter, overhauled the materials and techniques I work with, and initiated extensive, practical study of my main subject, the female model.  I have worked with models before, but my current work is a quantum leap forward.  Starting in January 2015, I took on long term work projects with my primary model(s) as the sole subject of study.  These each in turn lasted many months; the current subject over two years.   Another aspect of this work consists in analyses, revised methodology and studio work in general.

Three questions I have been asked:

Where did I come from?

I seemed to have appeared suddenly without any prior history.  In a way this is true.  I  moved to Edmonton, Canada a few years ago.  For  thirty years prior to 2016, I painted without exhibiting.   The few exhibitions I participated in, were prior to the advent of the World Wide Web (WWW.) and therefore would have predated hypertext and Internet search engines.

In April 2016 my state of obscurity changed. I launched a small website.  I joined the Edmonton Art Club (up to 2017).

In June 2016, I submitted three paintings in Harcourt House's member exhibit.  These paintings, the first to be shown in some decades, seem to have made an impression.  (Perhaps consternation is a better word.)   There has been significant progress made with my recent work and today this continues unabated.


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. This is not all talk or pedigree; look at the paintings coming out of my studio.

Who Taught Me?:

You are looking at him.  It did not happen overnight, but it did happen in near isolation.

When I first attended university in the 1970s, the painting department was dominated by the New York School (abstract) and they were unwilling or unable to teach figurative art.  I have taken no art classes since university.

I have been painting for 47 years.  I knew and shared studio space with one of the greatest artists in the world - originally from the Peoples Republic of China.  I have been through the museums of Europe and through the mill of art school including directed studies at the university level. I worked hard at invention and problem solving in my own studio for decades. 

John Whittingham

Revised January 11 2019 CE



Second floor studio. Four easels set up with soft rubber wheels to operate over a wooden floor. You can also see the installation of a mini winch on the back of the treacherously slippery eucalyptus easel. Ref. 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


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. At that time I was registered in chemistry at a university.  My art teachers had no background in chemistry.  In contrast I had my own chemical lab by the age of eight.  I soon acquired Leon Battista Alberti's Della Pittura translated from the Tuscan into English.  This book (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.  His name may be familiar to you because Da Vinci used it for his drawing, Vitruvian Man (image below).

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.  We were both wrong.


Affiliations :

Harcourt House (2014- )

Alberta Society of Artists, juried member (2017- )

(also formerly Edmonton Art Club 2016-2017)