Sketches September 2015

Fall is in the air which means our Art Season commences for all three galleries! Hurray!

I hope your summer has been filled with enjoyment.

We can't wait to see you back in the Galleries!


Jane Bell Meyer

Jane Bell Meyer

Our Happenings:

  • On Aug. 26-28, We were thrilled to have Austrailian Aritst, Colley Whisson at Illume Gallery of Fine Art, teaching a workshop.
  • On Aug. 21st, Illume Gallery of Fine Art hosted Rose Datoc Dall and Cristall Harper for the SLC Gallery Stroll.  Thank you Rose and Cristall!  It was such a fun evening.
  • If you have not yet had a chance to see the 2015 ‘Where in the World is Plein Air‘ pieces up-close and personal, at Illume Gallery of Fine Art, dont worry!  We have now extended the show throughout the month of September.  After that, the pieces will be divided between all three galleries.
  • Watch for the call for artists for the 2016 ‘Where in the World is Plein Air‘ to post the first week of October.
  • Don’t miss a unique ‘Coversations with the Artist’ with Eileen Whitaker ‘The Art of Handwork’ on October 1st. from 6-9 pm at Illume Gallery of Fine Art. 

Colley Whisson- An Individual of Extraordinary Ability

Our Artist’s Workshops are amazingly popular with artist-attendees coming from all over the country to learn from our master Artists.  At the conclusion of one of our most successful three-day workshops, it was my privilege to sit down with Australian artist Colley Whisson.

What I noticed immediately was Colley’s infectious positive energy.  As I set up for the interview, Colley was engaged in conversation with artist-attendee Bob Harper who came from Victor, Idaho for the workshop.  They were cleaning up from their last three hour painting session, drop cloths still at their feet.  Colley was encouraging and engaged in talking to Harper about his work.  I saw how Harper respected Whisson and felt that I was coming into a special place.

We sat down and began.

Immediately, I wanted to know what it is that inspires Whisson’s creativity.  From early on, plain and simple, light is what has inspired him.  As opposed to many artists who prefer natural light, Whisson loves all forms of light, including artificial.  Emerging as one of the world’s most influential painters of interiors, Whisson can work with just about any light.  He is also inspired by new subjects and loves the excitement of finding something new to paint.  Colley’s favorite subject matter is the next subject he chooses because that is always the unknown.  And he finds the unknown terribly enthralling.

Whisson grew up surrounded in art.  His father was an artist.  In fact, Whisson is proud to point out, his father is the most accomplished art teacher in all of Queensland.  First, he was surrounded by his Dad’s paintings, then his dad’s student’s paintings.  He scoured his father’s art books where he was inspired by the likes of artists Arthur Streeton, Harold Herbert and Richard Schmid.  Their work awed him.  He felt that it was from another world.  After so many years watching from the shadows as others created, Whisson finally got his chance.  At the age of 20, Whisson’s father pulled Colley and his twin brother aside and informed them that they would now be artists.  It is a day engraven upon Whisson’s memory.  The first Tuesday night in 1986.  Colley’s twin brother lasted all of two lessons.  Colley’s fate was more along that of his Father’s.  He has been painting since that January night nearly thirty years ago.  “There are moments in your life that you just…remember,” Colley says.

After two or three months of art lessons, Colley knew that this was his life’s path.  By then he was putting in 4-8 hours a day.  Colley drew in the day while his father taught and then painted in his Father’s studio at night after his Father’s students had gone home. Perhaps this is why Colley is an expert with any kind of light, not just natural light.  It also explains his mastery of Interior work.  A necessitated mastery for which the art community is thankful.  In this season of self-discovery, his twenties, Colley felt that his greatest weakness was in his drawing.  And so he took classes and drew like mad for twelve years.  What was a weakness became his strength and today Whisson wishes that he could make his living from just pencil and paper…that’s how much he loves it.  In fact, if someone ever asks him to sign anything, he asks if he can draw them something beside his signature.

Whisson has gone on from that day in 1986 to become a Master Painter, workshops all over the world (including national galleries in Australia), has two books published, (working on the third), has been featured in 27 articles, produced 12 instructional DVDs, and speaks/teaches in worldwide events.  Whisson is assisted on the business side by his entire family.  His older son- film production.  His younger son- Social Media.  His Wife-Business Manager.

Colley believes in the science and mental fortitude of creation.  He believes that one’s mood should never govern how one paints.  As long as the artist has physical and mental strength, a good subject and belief in themselves, that is all they need.  This “mental toughness” is what Collie believes is his best trait to get what he wants out of his work.  “The best out of ourselves – it’s all that any of us can hope for.  If I know I put my best effort in, I cannot ask myself for anything more.”

It was at this point in the interview that I referred to Whisson as a “Master Artist,” a title that he has earned in its very definition.  I loved his response, “I’ve always been a little uncomfortable being called an artist as if I’ve arrived there.  It should be a life journey.  We should always be striving to be one; as we ourselves are students of the craft.”  As far as we’re concerned if his profession is listed on his passport as “An individual of extraordinary ability” then who are we to disagree.

Whisson creates in a studio with north light pouring in.  And he is very organized.  A skill he tells us he acquired by watching his incredibly disorganized father.  Colley says that organization is important because he doesn’t want to waste energy.  He wants nothing between himself and his subject.

For Colley, Painting in authenticity means being authentic to the subject.  Not altering or faking it.  Not needing to bring in tricks, clichés, or flashy gimmicks.  He visualizes the painting before he starts.  And this is where the work begins.  Colley explains that for him, the vision of the completed work needs to be realized within the first twenty percent of the painting.  (He tells us these things in what can only be described as jubilance.) “There is a tipping point” he says, “a battle between you and it [the painting].  And when you add that one brush stroke and know that your vision will materialize, it’s an adrenaline rush.  I wish everyone could experience it.”

Colley enjoys teaching and meeting collectors all over the world.  He finds it a great honor that these people would, in their actions say, I love what you do so much that I am willing to give a piece of myself to work with you or to purchase your work and carry it with me.  “There is no greater honor.” Colley says.

To aspiring artists Colley says,

“Aim to enjoy the process as much as possible.  It is out of the enjoyment of the simplest things that the hard days aren’t made as much of a chore.  Every day, every work, should be a balanced challenge.”

And to those of us who will never have the talent of creating art, but appreciate it through our collecting, Colley would say:

“I hope that you can appreciate what I have to say through my work.  I hope you find joy in it.  I do it to bring a positive message and joy to the world.  I thrive off of positivity.”

Thank you Colley Whisson, for a wonderful workshop and a beautiful talent.  We look forward to your next visit.  Same time next year.  In the meantime, visit Illume Gallery of Fine Art to see Whisson’s work for yourself.  You’ll be amazed as you are able to feel the artist himself within it.

Christie Gardiner
Director of Brand Journalism

Our artists are always refreshing our galleries with new, exciting artwork. Look at what is new this month!