Whitbeck Notes
Winter 2020/ 21
Royal Bouquet
36" x 48"   oil on canvas
      Welcome to the Winter 2020/ 21 Whitbeck Notes, and Happy New Year! Despite all that has gone on during this last year and everything that could have caused distraction and unproductiveness, much has been completed in the studio and many paintings have been packed up and shipped off to new owners. With not having attended any outdoor art shows this year I was able to find an advantage in that I was allowed the luxury to continue on in the studio when normally I would have been away, sometimes for as long as a month at a time. So whatever this new 2021 season offers I will be ready and with more paintings then usual to start the season.
      Since 2006 I have found that near the end of the year, about September, I would be running low on paintings and that there was always that pressure to produce within a small amount of time in between the shows. But now, not squandering this extra time given to me I was able to produce a number of paintings above and beyond my usual count. One of these new paintings is the large 36" by 48" floral centerpiece titled Royal Bouquet which can be seen above as well as some images of the various painting stages below. Inspired by a few of my favorite 17th century Dutch and Flemish flower painters, mainly Jan Breughel, I put together this explosion of blooms concentrating on each and every one, giving each their due. And, of course, there are a handful of various insects spread throughout. Two butterflies, one moth, a grasshopper and two similar little beetles. Some obvious, others not so much.
      As well as these new paintings there have also been a number of commissions that I have much enjoyed working on. Even though winter is the more convenient time to work on these, a few had come in during the spring and summer, and of such a variety too! Ranging from reproducing a fragment of a middle eastern carpet with two stylized frogs onto a beautiful handmade cherry chest to an elegant fruit still life where the patron had sent me an amazing handmade lace tablecloth done by her father to be put into the painting! Another, more recent (and not yet finished) is a wonderful black lacquered heart shaped box on the lid of which a small floral will be painted: red flamed tulips and a provins rose, very exciting! Something new! 
      I know I have mentioned this before, but one of the great things about commissions is the fact that what is being done is not just my creation alone, but also that of the patron, as much or as little as they wish. So, in the end, it is more then a James Whitbeck painting that is hung on the wall, but something that they also have played a part in creating. Below are a few images of some of these and last years commissions. Feel free to contact me with some ideas of your own.
      My guess, written with hopefulness, is that most likely the spring art shows will be cancelled, but those of the summer and fall might have a good chance of being held. First and foremost is to the safety of all, and even though some shows might be held, I will go by what the situation is at the time and make my own judgement. There have been many shows that continued on all throughout the 2020 season, and I could have attended these but chose not to. There have been a few shows that have sent out their 2021 applications for summer and fall which had mentioned that they would cancel if it seemed unsafe. I have applied to these and will keep you posted as time goes on.
      Keep an eye on my website, www.jameswhitbeck.com to see what is new and also for those show updates. I have a few new still life and floral pieces nearing completion and as soon as they are varnished I will have them up and available to view. Feel free to write with any questions or comments and I look forward to hopefully setting up the artshow tent once again and visiting with you somewhere down the road.
All  my best,
and Happy New Year,
James Whitbeck
cell: (413) 695-3937

"Every beloved object
is the midpoint of
a paradise."