This month we are featuring Rod Whyte for the Capitol Hill Art League’s Mind of the Artist series. Read Rod’s story and check out his artwork below.

You can view more of Rod’s artwork here:
Three Sisters at Glencoe

I am an artist who paints, just not in the usual way. I paint using an iPad. This began after I experimented with and taught how to use the iPad to create art with my 5 th grade Art Club at Fairview Elementary School in North Carolina. I start with either a picture or a sketch. I then use paint tools, such as brushes or pencils to draw, create texture, patterns, lines, and color. I usually begin by simplifying shapes, drawing lines of direction, and areas of focus much as a painter would. Then the next step is to use my brush or pencil tools to fill in areas –this can be with large strokes, lines of movement and areas of color. I continue this process, sometimes for many hours, days and even weeks, until the artwork feels completed.

Early Morning on Mt. Vernon Trail

I love color and the expression of light, how color catches the eye, invokes excitement and feelings. Painting is for me a connection with my soul and the forces of nature all around me. It is the closest I come to my spirituality. I am inspired by what I see. This could be the glow of a cloud, the vibrant movements of a flower, the play of shadows in the forest. The look of a wild animal as it is passing by. The expression of a face enjoying the sun. The interplay and constant vibrations of nature around me. This feeling of awe I get just by going on a walk can spark an interest or image in my mind, which then becomes a visual idea of something I must create. I am obsessed with color, and the infinite ways in which I can depict my world. Every piece of artwork I do, becomes a new challenge, using my intuition towards completing an artwork that becomes a harmonious whole. Once my mind tells me that the painting is finished, I then move on.

Hey Brother

I first decided that I wanted to be an artist when I won a drawing contest in the 5th grade. I did a color pencil drawing of a sad clown. After that I took art classes whenever I could. I quit the public High School in my hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin and enrolled in – what was called in the early 1970s – a Free School known as St. Bedes Academy, run by Benedictine Nuns. I remember my mother refused to pay for it, so I worked after school cleaning a church to pay for my own tuition. At Saint Bedes Academy, I took mostly art classes such as painting, drawing and clay. Thus began my journey, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts, a Master of Fine Arts, and a Graphic Design Certification.

Crossing Poplar

After college, I started teaching art at a shelter for abused, abandoned, and neglected children, and as an artist in residence at a community art center, in an impoverished area of Minneapolis, MN. In my adult life, every job I pursued, involved in one way or another, creating or teaching of art. This finally led to me
becoming an art teacher to survive, pay bills, and have a family. I taught Elementary School Art, along with teaching Art Appreciation and Computer Art at a community college. The goal was always to promote art and the importance of self-expression. Then after over 20 years of doing this, I decided to retire and spend more time practicing what I taught, and to create more of my own art.

Prom Night

Check out more of Rod’s art and designs on Instagram at @rodwhyte

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