Friday, September 2, 2011

Still alive and well...

(above: Booming Surf, Edgar A. Whitney) This blog title stems from a song by veteran blues-rocker Johnny Winter. Johnny performed recently in Asheville, NC, but after many hard years on the road does so sitting down now. Though Johnny has gone through some hard times and many changes, he still maintains an intense passion for his art, playing blues and rock and roll. Several folks have inquired about the status of the Whitney blog which has been inactive for too long. In relation to the blog, I suppose a better title could be Still Alive...But Changing. I have allowed the effort to falter due to number of personal demands over the past year that I won't go in to, but also felt the need to re-evaluate the current and future approach to the site.

(Ed's Palette 1966) While I disagree that the blog role in social media is dead as some claim these days, it has a different role than it did a few years back. From my Facebook window I can view and comment on fresh off the board watercolors posted by friends in Malaysia, India, China, Macedonia and Seattle. Facebook has certainly confirmed for me that watercolor as a medium has never been more alive and vibrant. Social media then is primary, but filters participants (who want more on a topic) down to a blog. So, in a sense, the blog has become the root folder in technological terms. When combined with the conduits of Facebook and Twitter, a blog still offers great possibilities to expose watermedia painters worldwide to the importance of Whitney as a teacher and watercolor icon.

But, in my view, it is now time for this blog to go beyond collecting memorabilia from the Whitney era and reflections on his colorful teaching career. We must also move toward developing the site as an Ed Whitney focused instructional resource for watercolorists of all levels. Allowing those new to Whitney teachings the ability to see his many quotes and maxims in action and demonstrated via wonderful watercolors from around the world is one of the ways I envision this occurring.

We also shouldn't forget that there are still many former Whitney students, now instructors, out there in action still turning watercolor newcomers on to Whitney philosophy and design principles. A good friend taking up watercolor recently sat in on a Frank Webb workshop and afterwards came up to me gushing over this amazing painter and watercolor teacher that he was just exposed to. Thanks to Frank for helping me get this effort to this point, and for continuing to promote Ed's teachings as vividly as ever!

I don't plan for instructional posts to completely replace the original purposes stated for this blog. With help from others, I will continue to track down and post as much information about Whitney the artist, the character, and one of the founding fathers of the watercolor workshop as possible. I also don't perceive that this will evolve in to a major w/c teaching site. There are hundreds of great demos and teaching clips posted daily. In fact, there is so much instruction at our disposal that I sometimes fear it eclipses the very act of simply painting, and, painting simply.

My vision for moving to an instructional realm will also be simple and I have recruited a few new friends to help out on this front. This is likely to be a slow evolution, as I find that I have no more hours to work with today than I have had over the past year. All I can say is that with a little help, I am excited about getting the blog re-established and continuing to promote Ed Whitney's ideas and principles. His message and specific teachings are as relevant today as during his era, perhaps more so. I'm not sure how you feel, but I find it increasingly challenging to cut through the chaff to find wheat in almost every respect these days. In my view, there is still no better resource than The Complete Guide To Watercolor Painting. I find it to be all wheat. Cheers!


Thanks once again to our wonderful Naomi Brotherton (Texan Ed Whitney student and historian) for the photos of Ed's dirty water palette, and him at the punchbowl, circa1966

5 comments:

IrinaSztukowski said...

So much said in such a small piece of paper: the ocean, the weather, the dynamics. Great painting Edgar!
Thank you,
Irina

Citizen Shelly said...

Hi, I just heard of Ed Whitney from another artist, and I'm a watercolor artist myself. Are there any video workshops that he did that are available for sale or download? I'm also looking for video of Carl Molno. Thanks....

Wes Waugh said...

@ Citizen Shelly: Thanks for your question. Unfortunately, the trend toward video instruction came into being after Ed Whitney's era. I have conferred with Frank Webb and he is aware of a slide show w/ audio that was created by Charles Dunn during Whitney's teaching career, and also believes some filming was done in Texas and shown as a tribute at an SWS meeting after Ed had passed away. We have sent out some inquiries to folks who may have leads to these resources as it would be great to have them "refurbished" in to videos. Unfortunately, tracking down Ed's historical memorabilia is becoming increasingly difficult as time passes!

John and Jane said...

Wow! I tripped onto your blog while studying a Tony Couch book. Do you have aN email list? I would love to be informed of new developments. Thank you so much for your hard work!

Wes Waugh said...

Hi John and Jane, thanks for commenting on the Whitney site. As you can see, it has been in dry-dock for a few years now as I have not had much time to focus on it due to some other art endeavors, 2 kids and too many irons in the fire. I hope to get back to doing some research in the not too distant future and will likely be transferring the blog over to my new site at some point. Check out BearTrailArt.com and leave me a message in the "Contact" box and you will receive notices about the Whitney site.

Happy painting, WES

Whitney Demo on the Rocks, Kennebunkport 1979

Whitney Demo on the Rocks, Kennebunkport 1979
photo courtesy Shirley Langraf