Meet Inge Snethen-Hoogstra, a junior at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who is majoring in Art History and Applied Linguistics. We would like to congratulate Ms. Snethen-Hoogstra on being selected as one of the three recipients of our Fall 2017 Honorable Mention Commendations for a Frederic Whitaker and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker Foundation Scholarship. You can read Inge Snethen-Hoogstra’s artist statement below:
Reaching the halfway point of my college education has been an exciting time for me. Throughout my first four semesters here at UW-Milwaukee I have been able to familiarize myself more with the opportunities that a University can offer me. Through information sent by UWM and conversations with professors and fellow students the road to my graduation is now geared even more towards my interests. One opportunity that has greatly influenced my college experience is my acceptance in to the Honors College. Its concept of small classes and discussion based seminars has evolved my way of thinking and learning. It has been and will continue to be a positive influence on my college career. Thanks to the Honors College, I am well on my way to completing both my majors, Art History and Applied Linguistics.
Another interest of mine is helping others better understand the rich history of the world through art, language and culture. That is why I have joined PASS, Panther Academic Success Services, as a Supplemental Instruction Leader. I spend ten hours every week helping students better comprehend the material of Art 100: American Art and Culture…. My interest in foreign language and culture has further led me to apply for a Certificate in Ancient Mediterranean Studies. I remembered that I enjoyed studying Latin in middle school and learning about the history of Europe including the country where I grew up, the Netherlands…. After I finish my Bachelor degrees and my certificate I hope to be able to pursue a Master’s degree. Ultimately, I wish to obtain a PhD and become a professor at a University, doing what I love: teaching the significance of art, culture, and history.
Essay Question: Frederic Whitaker and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker each used very distinctive color palettes in their paintings. Please compare and contrast Fred & Eileen’s color palettes, taking into consideration their emphasis on thoughtful preparation, execution, and technique in their watercolor practice.
At first glance, Frederic Whitaker and Eileen Monaghan Whitaker appear to have a similar style, choosing both watercolor for their medium and similar subject matter. But on viewing their works more intimately they go about depicting their chosen subject in distinct ways.
Architecture was Frederic Whitaker’s preferred subject matter and this shows in his use of stark lines and detailed facades. Especially in his work “Baroque Facade”, he uses different shades of grays, browns, and blues to create a crisp image, making it possible for the viewer to discern every detailed aspect of the building. His buildings are well thought-out structures that jump to the foreground. Frederic Whitaker is not afraid to show the meticulous study and planning that went into his works, as he keeps the line-work an important part of his paintings. This is not only the case with his architecture paintings, but with any subject matter he chose. His figure studies for example show a classical approach to anatomy, using the medium of watercolor to examine the play of light and shadow on a figure. He manages to create depth and perspective in his work by using mainly the same color in different shades of light and dark. As with his buildings, every line, curve, and wrinkle is shown.
Eileen Monaghan Whitaker, on the other hand, uses a more vibrant color palette and vivid forms. In her architecture paintings she creates a lively scene by adding spots of red and blue to bricks and rooftops. She also adds figures in such a way that it makes the scene active. They do not blend in with the architecture, but stand out to the viewer. The different shades on building facades create the illusion of detail. Brickwork and decorative architecture is suggested, stark lines are blended in with the rest of the surroundings. The brickwork is suggested in such a way that while she leaves it up to the viewer to complete the details, the hints she leaves make it flow naturally. The building becomes part of the scene as a whole, not its sole focus point. Her vibrant color palette is even more prevalent in her figure studies. Where Frederic had a more academic style, studying form and figure in a Renaissance way, like a DaVinci or Michelangelo. Eileen depicts her figures in a more everyday, whimsical way. Her paintings have a journalistic quality, like family photos of days at the beach, such as in “Con”, or a lazy day at home in “Ah! What Sweet Repose!”, reminding the viewer more of nineteenth century, European, Impressionist painters. Her figure paintings are snapshots of everyday life, whereas Frederic’s are posed and lengthy studies.
Their differences are even more pronounced in their flora and fauna paintings. Frederic Whitaker continues his crisp line-work and focus on figures. However, he does add a pop of color to these works. The color is focused on the flora of the works. The animals themselves are mostly quite monochrome, such as the elephants and the rhinos. The trees and plants are where the color can be found. Different shades of reds and browns are used to indicate leaves and flowers. Eileen Monaghan Whitaker uses color in a much more pronounced way. It is in her animals, plants, and backgrounds. Just like her architecture, the use of color all over blends the figures in with the background. The animals become part of the scene. There are no stark outlines, but flora and fauna weave in and out of each other.
After this closer look at the works of Frederic and Eileen it appears they do in fact have a very distinct style from one another. Even though they both use the medium of watercolor and both paint similar subject matter, they each have their own approach to painting. Eileen Whitaker embraces the use of watercolor fully, expressing its liquid quality. She blends her forms together, hinting at their specific shape and detail. She lightly brushes the paint across the canvas or lets it splotch and run across, emphasizing its watery aspect. Frederic uses the medium in a different way. His detail and linework make his watercolor almost mimic oil paint. He puts the emphasis on the subject matter, not the scene as a whole. He chooses a specific object and lets that stand out to the viewer, depicting it in full detail.
Despite this difference, it is no surprise that they exhibited together and supported each other’s work. The way their works contrast allows them to complete one another. Eileen’s work complements Frederic’s and vice versa.