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  • Writer's pictureShea Stanfield

Art Offers Breathing Room for the Spirit


John Updike once observed, "What art offers is space, a certain breathing room for the spirit." This statement is undoubtedly true in the presence of artist Mark White's meticulously rendered western landscapes and still life paintings. Each scene beacons the viewer closer, inviting the gaze into a world the spirit recognizes from another time and space, a place to breathe, explore and dream. Mark grew up with the cold, overcast Wisconsin winters with amply time to pursue indoor hobbies; for him, drawing occupied both his imagination and time.

Armed with an ample supply of materials and encouragement, Mark sketched his surroundings, developing a keen eye for proportion and detail. Once he reached high school, art classes became his go-to subject of interest, and he describes it as, "Art was far more interesting than Math or Science classes." Although there was an element of math and science influence in the work of artists he admired, M.C. Esher, N.C. Wyeth, DaVinci, and Michelangelo. However, his keen eye for detail carried into his program of college studies with electives in the arts. A degree in Industrial Studies would win out for a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Los Angeles. During his 25-year career in the railroad industry in engineering, marketing, and sales Mark was never without his sketchbook, pen, ink, and graphite to record his fascination with his surroundings.

Once retired, Mark partnered with several other artists to open Gallery One in Casa Grande, Arizona, which served as a working studio and a gallery in the community. Gallery One thrived, in the mid-region Arizona town, for six years.At that point, Mark decided to work from home; now, as he tells it, “The art took over my house.” A problem to solve? Mark built a studio onto his home six years ago, which gives him a space to work, teach, and display his paintings. Having a studio space at home has made his life a lot easier; as he puts it, "Not only do I have the rest of my house back, it provides me a place to work when the spirit moves you regardless of the time of day.” Mark states, “My inspiration comes from everywhere; the landscapes around my home, a small collection of Native American artifacts I use as still-life subjects, and studying the works of other artists or books that contain seeds of ideas in stories told on their pages.”

Mark has worked in various mediums, including graphite, pen, ink, watercolors, and oils, often combining them into one piece. However, over time he has gotten to the point he is focused primarily on painting with oils. His subjects are Southwest and Midwest landscapes, still-life, automotive, and motorcycle portraits.

Mark keeps his skills sharp by participating in workshops that include a variety of mediums from artists Wendy Hill, Becky Joy, Nancy Paterson, John Horejs, and Judy Durr, to name a few. He also gains great value from sharing ideas with artists who are members of the professional organizations he belongs to, such as; the Oil Painters of America, Arizona Plein Aire Painters, Plein Air Painters of America, the American Impressionists Society, the High Country Art Association and the Sonoran Arts League.

“My inspiration comes from everywhere; the landscapes around my home, a small collection of Native American artifacts I use as still-life subjects, and studying the works of other artists or books that contain seeds of ideas in stories told on their pages.”

Mark is also a founding member of the Casa Grande Valley Fine Art Association. Much of his work is commissioned and hangs in private collections across the country. Currently, artist Mark White's paintings may be seen at Xanadu Gallery, Pinetop, Arizona, and shows he does with the High Country Art Association and the Sonoran Arts League, Cave Creek, Arizona. An expanded events schedule and gallery representations are on his website, as well as, contact information for commission pieces, gifts, or arrange to take a class at his studio. Mark encourages you to explore your inspirations and breathing room for the spirit.


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