Artist William Whitaker (1943-2018)

Having a mentor can be a great benefit for your artistic skills. Since I started to be interested in oil painting about 15 years ago I’ve had two people I would consider as mentors to whom I had contact and from whom I could learn from – artists Lienhard Pallast and Michael Milosevic. For many young artists in the online community William Whitaker was kind of a mentor. He was always generous with his knowledge and encouragement.

I myself also regarded him as a kind of mentor for me, although we emailed propably only ten times. But he was also involved in a German online forum that explicitly dealt with classical painting. In this forum we often not only received written tips from him, but also several photos with close-ups.

He also asked me to send him photos of my apartment so that he could give me tips on how to set it up for painting and how to hang the windows for the right light.

On 6 March 2018, he died of the consequences of heart surgery at the age of 75.

Here are several tutorials by William Whitaker

I do not know when his website will go offline. It has not been maintained for ten years. To see more of his paintings, go to the ARC Living Master™ gallery. There you can also find HiRes images – for example of the beautiful painting “The Secret”!

On his website he also offers 5 painting demonstrations. Other demonstrations were posted for example on the portrait artist forum “A Stoke of Genius” (female head painting demonstration | Nupastel drawing technique) or on Conceptart.org (Portrait demo of a woman | Painting demo of nude female torsos | Some notes on oil painting materials | Palettes! How to finish a wood palette for oils).

William particularly emphasized one student: Emily Gordon. Her artistic development can be read here (from Bill’s perspective) and here (from Emily’s perspective).

Portrait painting demonstration by William Whitaker

Several years ago there was a German online forum dedicated to classical art where Bill showed his generosity as well. He provided us with advice and his own material. Below is the painting demonstration of a female portrait that he once posted in the forum:

William Whitaker’s palette:

Bills palette for the painting demonstration above was as follows:

  • Flake white (with a little titanium white added)
  • Grey — ivory black and flake/titanium white mixed together
  • ivory black
  • asphaltum
  • transparent earth read
  • raw umber
  • raw sienna
  • yellow ochre
  • cadmium orange
  • cadmium red light
  • my pre-mixed flesh tone
  • any dark ruby red
  • ultramarine blue
  • green, made of 1 part pthalo green and 2 or 3 parts of transparent earth red — pre-mixed on my glass mixing tray.
  • cadmium yellow. I will use this color for the frames of the glasses the model is wearing.

Video: William Whitaker Portrait Painting Demonstration

In June 2004 painter William Whitaker painted a portrait of fellow Prix de West artist Jim Wilcox during a 2004 Prix de West demonstration session. He talked about his own technique and other aspects of painting as he worked.

Since William Whitaker was always very generous with his teaching materials and I could not research a commercial distribution of this video, I put this video, which was made available to me by William Whitaker personally, after best knowledge and conscience on the Internet.

Please excuse the poor sound quality – I have tried to enhance it as best as possible.


And here’s a video that I already posted in my post “Curd soap: cheap and healthy alternative to harming solvents for cleaning brushes” – no painting here, just brush cleaning tips.

Slideshow videos of his paintings



Thank you Bill for supporting the community! May the brush be with you!

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