29-year-old Whitney Hall’s oil paintings combine the inspiration of the wild Northern Rockies and the intense color of the Southwest. Born and raised in San Diego, Whitney studied under a wide variety of contemporary California impressionists, expressionists, and colorists, focusing her studies mainly on figurative drawing and painting. After moving to Montana in 2008 she was introduced to Russian Impressionism and the Northern Rockies’ deep legacy of animal painting that changed the course of her work from human to beast. Despite her four-legged subject matter, her approach is still figurative at its root, with a focus on the design and character of each animal she paints. Today her colorful animal compositions reflect this mixed art heritage with their constant push and pull between technique and intuition, form and expression, harmony and contrast.
In 2010 Whitney was the youngest artist to be juried into the C.M. Russell Art Auction. In 2011, she was published in Southwest Art Magazine as one of “21 Under 31: Young Artists to Collect Now” and received the Award of Excellence in the Oil Painters of America’s 2011 Western Regional Exhibition. Her work has since been juried into many national shows and auctions, including the 2014 Russell Auction, the 2014 and 2015 Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale, and the 2015 Celebration of Fine Art.
Statement & Process:
I believe a horse is to look at as much as it is to ride. Coming from a figurative background, I see in horses the same form and movement that would make a dancer or athlete beautiful. They come in an unending variety of sizes and builds and temperaments, and I don’t believe I could ever grow tired of painting them. Through my paintings I want to give a new perspective from an animal who has been one of the single most important forces behind what we know of as ‘The West.’
I also bring to my work a fascination with color theory. I carefully design the palette for each piece to balance the harmony and contrast of the colors. The result is a painting full of rich intense color but also bringing a subtlety that a more aggressive approach to color would not fully showcase.