I have some very talented co-workers at my day job. So, I thought I would do an artist spotlight on Andrea White, an amazing painter who I recently had the opportunity to sit down and chat with.
When did you first get interested in painting?
Not until college. I majored in Graphic Design and took painting as an elective. I started with pen and ink portraits. One of my professors once said that I should have switched to a Studio Art Degree.
Do you have a favorite subject to paint?
Anything that is atmospheric, moody and communicates some type of mystery.
What is your preferred medium?
Oil, because it’s more fluid and allows broader brushstrokes. This gives the paintings more depth.
Where do you find yourself inspired the most?
Anytime there is beauty and something that inspires.
Do you have a favorite piece/pieces you’ve painted?
I did a painting of a wave with the thought ‘How would you breath underwater?’ It was inspired by something God was helping me work through at the time and it really spoke to me. Another one was of a dancer. It was all about letting go and having fun in life.
Another favorite of mine is ‘The Resilient Thistle.’ I did it for a Sex Trafficking Awareness Fundraiser. This piece is meaningful for two reasons. One, the thistles symbolize resilience and hope – a hardy plant with a beautiful flower that can bloom up through the cracks of cement. And two, this piece seemed to stir a lot of emotion in people, including a woman rescued from the sex trafficking industry. That says to me there was divine magic in the creative process that I had nothing to do with.
Where is your favorite place to paint?
In the kitchen. It’s open and you feel more connected to the world. It also has the best light for painting.
When you paint, do you set up a display, paint from a photograph or just paint what comes to you?
I have photographs of mine, or photos I’ve found and combined on my computer.
Do you prefer art galleries, art museums or both?
At first I found them daunting. I felt like with all this art around me, I could never compare. Now, I find them inspiring. Some of the art galleries I enjoy the most are in Charleston, South Carolina.
What are your favorite types of paintings to view?
I enjoy paintings with loose, broad brush strokes and bright colors. Art should make you feel something, stir your emotions and inspire you.
Is there something you are working on in your approach to painting? I’m trying to approach it with joy instead of fear. I find if I go into a painting session with joy in my heart, I have a more successful session. I’m also learning not to overwork a painting.
Do you sell your paintings?
I did my first commission piece recently. I’ve also been selling more paintings lately. In the beginning, I mostly gave them away.
What is a painting you recently finished?
I really like clouds, so this painting has a large cloud filled sky and a low horizon.
Is there something someone’s said in the past that has inspired you?
I heard a story about an art teacher who taught elementary students. The parents were so amazed by the paintings their children did and asked the teacher how they could have done such beautiful work. She simply replied, “You just have to know when to take the brush away.”
Sometimes I don’t always like a piece when I finish it, so I’ll just put it up on a wall. Over time I grow to like it, and see past what I thought were imperfections in the beginning.
Any other advice for artists out there?
Sometimes you have to have at least one bad line in a drawing before you have a really good piece. With my pencil portraits it always starts off rough. If someone saw it in the initial stages they would probably think it wasn’t any good. It’s only in the end that you achieve almost photographic results.
Thanks so much Andrea for agreeing to this interview and sharing your art!