It is a somewhat foggy rainy morning when I arrive at the home of artist Dale Witherow. In the grass beside the walkway that runs from the gate to the door stand an almost perfect line of Elven Saddle mushrooms, at least 8 maybe 9 of them aligned there as if planted. I am briefly caught up thinking about what an unusual sight this is when the door opens and I am greeted by Dale and escorted into his comfy living room. Coffee in hand I listen as Dale recounts his education, teaching career, things that have encouraged his art, challenges, how his life has progressed.
I am personally interested in the different ways that each artist approaches the start of a project. I ask the question I want answered by each artist I meet. “How do you decide what you will paint? How do you begin? Do you plan or sketch things first?”
Dale responds, “I proceed as if I have a plan, but I have no plan. I start by putting something dark on the canvas, and then go from there.” He follows his impulses to try out new methods, sometimes putting paint on his fore arm, using the brush handle to scratch on designs, whatever calls to him at the moment. “I like being lost because then you discover something,” he says. Dale calls his process, “Seduction of Consciousness through Novelty”
Dale Witherow is a retired professor of Art and Art Education. He received his undergraduate degree from The Indiana University of Pennsylvania, in Indiana, Pennsylvania. Dale signed up for a 6 credit Art Class one summer in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Within 3 weeks, he was so taken by the place that he resigned from his teaching position and moved in with a local family. He remained studying in Mexico for 1.5 years earning his MFA degree. This was a very positive experience for Dale personally and artistically.
Dale’s teaching career continued and covers 30 years working with College, Junior, and Senior High students in Pittsburg, and Mansfield, PA, and Washington DC. After 40 years, students remember his teaching and continue to write to him.
Before moving to the Northwest Dale exhibited his work though out the Mid-Atlantic States, Texas, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. In the decade plus that he has lived in the Northwest, Dale has exhibited in galleries in Scottsdale, AZ, Santa Fe, NM, San Diego, CA, Portland, OR, Tacoma, Langley, Olympia, and Seattle, WA.
Speaking about his work Dale says,” I began painting seriously after retiring. I currently exhibit abstracts, but my roots are in landscape painting. I tend to float between the two. I work mainly in acrylics but often include other media.” Dale explains that his paintings can be placed into different subjects or path ways. For example there is the landscape path, the abstract, the kimono series etc. He says that the paths are like issues he comes back to, to be worked on. Dale believes, “that everything is a self portrait.” He says that his painting, “whether landscape or abstract, is an emotional snapshot wrapped in a song, delivered through life’s passages, and seen with today’s meaning.”
Something that stands out in talking with Dale is the value he places on the people in his life. He is grateful and surprised by the open generosity and assistance provided to him by the people he has met. In the same way his art just comes to him unplanned, positive connections with people just happen. Dale says, “I am really lucky!”
“What is the most important thing you need in your life Dale?”
Dale currently exhibits his work in galleries in Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia, WA. To see more of Dale’s Painting go to: www.witherowgallery.com and follow the link to Fine Art America.com.