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Meet Whitney Alexanderson Heavey of Whitney Heavey Art

Today we’d like to introduce you to Whitney Alexanderson Heavey.

Whitney Alexanderson, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
From an early age, I was exposed to a lot of art. As a child, I would walk the beaches of Long Island with my grandmother who was an artist and daily beach walker. It was on these walks where she taught me the value of being out in nature and really looking to see it’s incredible beauty.

As a teen, thanks to the encouragement of my parents and a few teachers, I began pursuing my love of painting and, more specifically, painting the landscape. It was during my time both at Skidmore College (BS in Fine Art-Painting) and SACI in Florence, Italy (Jr Year Abroad), where I really grew to love experimenting with the bold use of paint and color.

Following college, the need to earn a living led me to a few different careers including buying art for children’s book publishers and teaching art at a boarding school where I met my husband. It wasn’t until several years later in 2005, after my daughters were in school, that I was able to pursue my dream of being a full-time painter and rent my first studio at ArtSpace Maynard, a community of over 70 artist studios.

I have been very lucky to find gallery representation and collectors with whom my art appeals as it has allowed me to continue this pursuit. The more I paint, the more I need to paint. I turned fifty this year and I am so excited that I have a career from which I never have to retire. I can’t wait to see what the next 50 years of painting bring!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Beyond the everyday struggles of balancing being an artist, mother of two daughters, dog owner, and wife to my husband who is equally passionate of his career in cancer research fundraising, I’ve been extremely lucky.

Five years ago out of the blue and feeling pretty healthy, I was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and had 6-month treatment of chemo and radiation at Dana Farmer Cancer Institute in Boston. I was so lucky to have a lot of support and was able to take the time off from painting while I fought cancer.

Thankfully, the treatment worked and I could get back to my art afterward, but in reality, it took more like 2 years to regain my strength and feel back to “normal”. Facing possible mortality really confirmed my belief that I am meant to making art.

Please tell us about Whitney Heavey Art.
In recent years I’ve been able to spend time focused on my true love, the ocean. It is really my obsession. I am an oil painter who loves the feeling and tactile experience of paint. I use photos, time in nature and, lately, videos to inspire my work.

My goal is not to stick to the reference in a literal way, but rather as a reminder of the memory that inspired me and then to let the painting take on a life of its own. I prefer to paint intuitively and explore application methods of the paint.

I have always loved the color and am recently pushing myself to create more complex colors and relationships, especially when it comes to light. My ultimate goal is to bring the viewer some of the comfort, peace, healing, strength, joy, introspection, etc that the ocean (or nature) brings me.

In addition to painting the ocean, I love painting any natural landscape around me. I also paint flowers on occasion, especially in the winter when I am craving color.

I have a lot of experience working with clients and designers to produce large commissions for homes and commercial spaces. These commissions book fairly far in advance. I am proud of the care and extra effort I put into every stage of a commission from getting to know the client and their vision, to working with them throughout the process of the painting. I have found that this extra care leads to both the collector and myself being equally happy with the outcome.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start over, I would have been more organized on the business side of things such as image cataloging, email list building, etc so that as my business grew these systems would already be in place and managed along with time versus having to tackle them as major projects that were never really done correctly to start.

I also have a tendency to agonize over some of my paintings literally scraping, wiping and painting over a painting several times and often in looking back at “in progress” photos realize that in many instances, the painting was finished and strong way before I kept reworking it.

I’ve lost many great paintings in the quest for perfection. In reality, it’s the imperfections of nature and art that make it so very beautiful!

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1 Comment

  1. Anne randle

    April 21, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    LOVE your work Whitney! Great interview

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