Artist James White’s creativity finds expression in many surprising ways.
When did you first realise you had a talent for art?
I grew up on a family farm near Boggabri, and my mother had an artistic nature. She encouraged my brothers and I to sing, learn the piano, and paint. When we went away to boarding school at TAS, she organised for me to have art lessons outside school with the artist Fred Roberts. It was under Fred’s guidance that I realised I could draw and paint really easily, and I have continued to do so ever since.
> What type of art do you specialise in?
I originally painted in oils, but with farming and a family I had limited time to paint – just at night. So I moved to watercolour painting, initially, because art works could be created more quickly. But I became intrigued with the actual medium of watercolour paints.
> What can readers expect to see at your exhibition at Gallery 126?
The exhibition is entitled ‘Something for Everyone’, and that is exactly what it is. During the year I have painted whatever has inspired me, so these artworks are incredibly diverse. I started out with images of corrugated iron, which led me to shearing sheds and then sheep.
An amazing spring in Armidale has seen my love of flowers come to the fore again. Then cleaning out a cupboard I found some old photos of when I was in Venice, so I ‘whipped up’ a few overseas paintings. I have also built a very sophisticated chook house during the winter, and so my three chooks have become subjects for art also.
Finally I did some ink artworks to add to the eclectic mix.
> How long does it take you to get the perfect painting?
There’s no perfect painting, which is why I continue to pursue art making. Watercolours are a fairly immediate medium, though they can be contrary. However, some 50 years of practice has given me a degree of control over them. I am fascinated by the way the watercolours react with the paper and the effects that can be created by graduated washes.
> What more do you wish to accomplish with your art?
Some ten years ago I was accepted as a member of the prestigious Australian Watercolour Institute. This is a group of eighty artists Australia wide who are recognised as the elite in this medium. I exhibit annually with them, as well as with a number of Australian galleries. Over the years I have won a large number of art shows, especially throughout NSW. I hope to continue developing my love of art making for many more years.
> Other than art, what are your interests?
I am an obsessive rennovator of old houses – to the detriment of my art making. Creating something new from something old is an art I learnt from my father – if it can’t be fixed with rusty wire, it is indeed ‘dead’. I am also a keen photographer and bike rider.
> Do you think your subject matter will change as you continue?
My subject matter changes like the wind – I am easily bored! In 2009 I have an exhibition at NERAM for which I am painting now, and my style has changed again to something that is a little revolutionary for me.
Everyone will find something to enjoy in my current exhibition at Gallery 126. The artworks are understandable, colourful – and don’t forget to find the signature gnome in each painting!
> Thank you James.