Toronto Tuesdays: Wendy J. Whittingham

I’m happy to host Wendy J. Whittingham on the blog today. Wendy is a talented artist and wonderful human being whose gentle nature and nurturing spirit are clearly evident in her work. She is a delight to interact with and she is a positive and encouraging presence.

Welcome, Wendy!

Hi Claudia! I’m thrilled to have been asked to participate! A big thank you!

What’s your favourite creative medium? What draws you to expressing yourself this way?

I’ve tried many different mediums. But my favourite creative medium is currently watercolour. I love the organic qualities of the paint, paper and yes, the wonderfully flowy, splooshy water.  

What inspires you to create? 

Ever since I was little, I‘ve loved making up stories and drawing pictures to go with the words!  Interesting and extraordinary themes, as well as everyday subjects involving children, animals and nature are my favourite.  My hope is that my art brings a touch of fun and playfulness to a home or child’s bedroom.

What, or who, is your greatest creative influence?

I’m a huge fan of the illustrations of Jon J. Muth, also Peter Catalanotto.

What is your favourite time of day to create?

I paint every day, all day, on and off, but usually do more focussed work after dinner when everything is put away and the house is in order. I’m also a writer, wife, mother, grandmother, caregiver, etc., so I merge my daily goals together and see what my priorities are. I love the Pomodoro method for getting through my To-Do list. 

Which of your creations is your personal favourite, and why?

Currently, it’s my latest watercolour, Hang In There, Buddy (pictured above). I donated my painting of a baby orangutang to Project Orangutang to help raise money for the critically endangered orangutang population. Orangutans share 97% of the same DNA as human beings and I cannot imagine our planet without them. Time is running out, not just for orangutangs, but sadly many other species as well.   

How do you deal with creative slumps?

I don’t have any painting slumps in fact I can’t stop painting! Not having time to paint is my main gripe. In any given day, I work on several pieces at different stages of completion so there’s always something to do. When it comes to writing, I tend to have more slumps. I can’t always bring myself to write every day, but I have been pushing myself lately. During Covid, I’ve really missed my critique group, and the social interaction. 

Who are you beyond your art? Give us a few insider facts about you.

Beyond my art, my life revolves around my family. I have 4 adorable and active grandsons under age 7 who I’m crazy about. Seems they are all budding artists as we love to make art together. We also do fun outdoor things like fish, kayak and play basketball. I was a tomboy as a girl, and pretty much go along with whatever they want to do. 

I love to read and guarantee there is a book I’m reading on every level of my home. I used to walk and read when I was a child. I also read at the dinner table (until I got caught) and to this day I read while watching TV.

What’s one of the best – or most memorable – questions you’ve ever been asked, and how did you answer it?

I guess the most important question I’ve ever been asked was when I was in high school – and I can’t remember who asked!  A guidance counsellor, or perhaps a teacher, asked if I would be pursuing a career in writing or art and I turned the question back to her. I was in a hurry to live independently and wanted the fastest route to a job that would sustain me in either field. After weighing the options, I sent applications in, had portfolio interviews and was accepted into Humber College. Three years later I graduated with a degree in Graphic Design.

What’s something you’re excited about right now?

For now, I’m planning to do more art and writing. I’m learning all the time, and it’s all very, very exciting. 

Splooosh!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

Childhood is the most special and precious time of our lives, the time when the character of a child is shaped. It saddens me to think that some children don’t get to be kids due to circumstances beyond their control. As a child, I often turned to books and art to find comfort. I hope that when people look at my paintings, they find some peace, joy, and a sense of safety. 

Mission accomplished, Wendy! I always love seeing your art because the colours you use, combined with your style, create a sense of peace and calm on the page. Thanks so much for participating today! Will you share some links as to where people can find you?

Yes! You can find me on Instagram and Facebook.

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