Where did you get your artistic side from?

Who in your family was an Artist? Where do you get it from? Those are questions I’ve been asked before, as I’m sure other Artists have too!

For a long time, my response was this – “as far as I know, no one else was an Artist in my family…it’s just a talent that was given to me”.

But, over the past few years, I’ve discovered otherwise.

Paternal Grandfather – Papaw

My paternal grandfather (“Papaw”) served in the Navy, later had a long career in the Air Force, and was very handy with all kinds of tools and woodworking. Here he is in his backyard, toting a gun around and doing who-knows-what…probably shooting pop cans (we say pop rather than soda where I grew up).

Papaw in Backyard

I used to go into his basement when I was a kid and look in wonder at every kind of tool you could imagine. Usually, I would just end up nailing a couple pieces of wood together, but if I had been taught how to use everything instead of being told to keep my hands off, I’m sure I would have soaked it all up and perhaps become a very skilled carpenter, or architect. On that note, as parents and adults, we should be very keen and aware of children’s interests, and encourage and kindle those interests!

In any case, Papaw made all kinds of crafts with wood that he would hang around his house, and would paint decorations and pictures on them. So therefore, he was an Artist too!

A couple years before he passed away, I painted this oil painting of him and I (for which he handmade an oak frame). In the painting, we’re standing in his garden, which, without fail, he sowed and reaped vegetables every single year, for probably over 60 years, all the way up until he passed away.

"grandpa painting", "grandfather painting", "grandfather and grandson painting", "grandpa and grandson painting", "family painting", "family portrait", "family art", "dave white painting", "dave white art"
Papaw and I

Maternal Grandfather – Frank

While my maternal grandfather passed away several years before I was born, I’ve been told that he tended to be a perfectionist, which is a trait that I have somewhat inherited (for the good and bad)! Sometimes this can be helpful, and sometimes this trait has to be monitored and controlled, for if I find myself being too much of a perfectionist, I drive myself (and my wife) crazy! However, I do know that this trait is part of the reason I am good at drawing portraits! For to draw a realistic portrait, you need to draw upon skills of detail and precision:

"artist dave white", "dave white art"
Portrait of my Wife

2nd Cousin – Vicki

Even recently, when visiting Papaw’s 90 year-old sister in Ohio, I found out that her daughter (my 2nd cousin) is an Artist in Florida and also shows her work in St. Croix. I had no idea!

My Own Freakin’ Dad!

What’s more, I came to find out that my own Dad, who worked on the railroad for over thirty years, has talent as a photographer. On a recent visit to Indiana, I saw several old photos that he took, and I’ll be darned if he didn’t know a thing or two about image composition!

My Wife!

Lastly, besides by 2nd cousin, I don’t know know of any other woman in my maternal or paternal family tree that have artistic traits. Which is why I’m lucky to have married a Dance Movement Therapist who, in addition to being skilled in psychotherapy, infant psychology and children’s yoga, knows more than her fair share about fine art and performance art!

So, upon reflection, there is actually a good amount of artistic skills that I can confidently say I’ve inherited!

Perhaps my son will inherit an artistic trait or two?

artist dave white
Rafael at 7 Months


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