The only son of an artist father, William Whitaker grew up in the world of the working artist. He had access to the finest art materials and was painting by the time he was six.
Until he was well out of college, Whitaker’s natural inclination to draw accurately and his love for traditional realism were a source of inner conflict. Nevertheless, he was fortunate, starting at age 17, to receive a thorough grounding in academic figure drawing from the portrait painter Alvin Gittins at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Whitaker loves to paint from life in an old-fashioned studio. No matter what direction his art takes him, he always comes back to the model in the studio, the form bathed in the beautiful, quiet, cool light coming down from a high, north window. “I’ve learned that art leads and the artist follows. Just when I think I’ve finally found the answers, something new comes along,” he says. “I have a wonderful life. I get to paint and draw every day. Each new day is exciting, and my favorite painting is always the next one I plan to do.”