TJ White, Artist
I have adored all art since I was a child. My first art instruction was calligraphy when I was in grade school. This was private instruction from a college art professor who was a family friend. Since then I have learned a variety of mediums. My first love is graphite and charcoal portrait drawing. I also enjoy painting in watercolor and acrylic. The forgiving nature of oils makes working with it so relaxing however, because of its long drying time, I make very few pieces using it.
I sold my first piece in 1983. It was a graphite portrait of Eddy Van Halen drawn with a standard #2 pencil. I sold it to a fellow high school student. I ended up having to draw two since another student also wanted one. That was pretty exciting for me, as a young artist. I also ended up donating several pieces to the school during my high school years.
Out of high school I went to work in an art gallery as a custom framer. Because of my lack of professional experience, it took a few phone calls from my high school art teacher and many trips to the gallery to get the job. They decided to take a chance on me, and before long I was repairing and restoring art as well as altering prints for customers. It was the perfect job. I gained a vast amount of knowledge from this one experience.
I have a deep interest in art history and love to travel to museums to view the art of those that have come before me. Sometimes I have to at least just touch a corner of an artwork. I am touching something that one of the great artists touched themselves many years ago. It’s a feeling almost like being there with them while they’re creating.
One of my favorite artists is Pierre-Auguste Renoir. I almost lost my breath when I saw my favorite piece by him, A Girl with a Watering Can, at The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. It was in a corner by itself. I nearly missed it. And yes, I did have to touch the corner.
I never tire of learning about art. I still take as many courses as I can find, and I always learn something new. The last course I participated in was a concepts and techniques course from Pennsylvania State University. I received a Statement of Accomplishment with Distinction. That course was a lot of fun. I learned a lot about pastel drawing and painting. Since then I’ve done quite a bit more with pastels, and as it turns out, charcoal. They have very similar qualities, in my opinion.
I'm currently learning to use Russian Sauce (pronounced saw-oose). I'm using the American version, which is said to be not quite as good as the Russian version. I’m expecting my first set of authentic materials in this medium to be delivered from Russia in mid November.
It is said that Sauce was an art from the dark ages that was lost to the world, but has existed only in Russia since the last century. Few artists practice the art today, and I hope to be one of them.