Friday, May 6, 2016

Update & Future Plans for this Site


Hi Ed Whitney aficionados and researchers! It is apparent that this blog has been in "drydock" for a few years now, and I have recently received a few questions in this regard, is the site still active?, etc.
Well, yes and no.  I have never waned in my continued interest in collecting Ed Whitney info and memorabilia, as well as continuing to teach and talk about many of his methods and approaches in my watercolor workshops. However, I share the same dilemma as many other professional artists that I know... being spread too thin and wearing too many hats on a daily basis.

I still appreciate any images, workshop info or other memorabilia that you can share with me regarding Ed Whitney's workshops, life or paintings. The question I still get most often is "how much is an Ed Whitney painting I found in my mother's attic worth?" I will paste my response to this question at the bottom of this post.

Regarding the future of this site: I keep the dream alive, and have plans to upgrade and move this site from Blogspot to Wordpress, to modernize the format a bit. It will likely be housed as a unique menu link on my main website, BearTrailArt.com   I hope to work with my developer over the coming year to make this happen.  It will then be easier to maintain and update.

Please continue to contact / email / me directly or via this site with anything you wish to share, and I promise to respond in a timely manner. With every year of teaching watercolor, I find that fewer and fewer of my participants have heard of Whitney or are familiar with his design approach. I suppose this is the way of life, as old teachers move out of the frame and new ones take their place.  In the world of Youtube, DVD's and thousands of books on technique I guess this is to be expected.  I still feel the clarity and focus of Whitney's life's work, "The Complete Guide to Watercolor Painting", has no equal in the realm of how to help us all become the best artists and painters we can be.

Stay tuned and thanks! WES


Response to "How Much is an Ed Whitney Painting Worth?"

I get quite a few inquiries from people wanting to sell a Whitney piece, and asking me for advice on pricing, etc.  Unfortunately, most of the originals from the great watercolor teachers like Whitney and Pike are not bringing strong prices on the market, as most of the people interested in them tend to be artists rather than collectors. For whatever reasons, teachers are lauded as teachers even though they produced many strong paintings of significant aesthetic value and strong design quality. A while back I asked a local collector and friend with extensive skill on researching auction / painting values to investigate Whitney originals. He came up surprisingly empty-handed regarding any trends or indications of strong sales or auction activity. We did find some E-bay postings and a few sales. These fell into the $500-$1000 range, with the higher selling piece being a very well done Whitney forest scene that did not appear to be a demo. This pricing is often disappointing for some folks to hear. I would suppose there are instances of his work selling for significantly higher values, but I did not find such. 

Unfortunately, as knowledge of Whitney's work and teaching is likely to continue to decline, I would not anticipate this value range to change much.  I hope this might be an erroneous prediction. It is a much smaller world now than in Whitney's era, and instant access to the art of millions of accomplished painters worldwide has certainly impacted the marketplace. Trends in watercolor styles have changed dramatically as well, and as Ward Hooper (Whitney's student and collector) indicated, "We are now in an era where emphasis on complexity and technique in watercolor seems to have eclipsed spontaneity and impression". Times change, styles change and trends in prices for art collecting rise and fall.  Contemporary becomes antique, and life goes on. 

The one thing that doesn't change are concepts and design principles for creating successful artwork. Regardless of "how much" an Edgar Whitney painting is worth monetarily, I think it will always be worth a lot more than we can fathom!

Whitney Demo on the Rocks, Kennebunkport 1979

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