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Art offers breathing room for the spirit

Shea Stanfield~ 3/11/2015

John Updike once observed, “What art offers is space, a certain breathing room for the spirit.” This statement is certainly true in the presence of artist Mark White’s meticulously rendered western landscapes and still life paintings. Each scene beckons the viewer closer, inviting the gaze into a world the spirit recognizes from another time and space, a place to breathe, explore, and dream.

Mark grew up with the cold, overcast Wisconsin winters providing ample time to pursue indoor hobbies. For him, drawing occupied both his imagination and time.  Armed with an ample supply of materials and encouragement, Mark sketched his surroundings, developing a keen eye for proportion and detail. Once he reached high school, art classes became his go-to subject of interest. This fascination carried into his program of college studies as well, but in the end a degree in Industrial Studies would win out for a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Los Angeles. During his 25 year career with the railroad industry in engineering, marketing, and sales, Mark was never without his sketchbook to record his surroundings.

Upon retiring, Mark partnered with several other artists to open Gallery 1 in Casa Grande, Ariz., which served as a working studio, as well as a gallery in the community. Gallery 1 thrived in the middle region Arizona town for six years. 

A few years ago, Mark decided to work from home. Now as he tells it, “The art has literally taken over my house.” This move has made his life a lot easier for “working when the spirit moves you regardless of the time of day.” Mark shares his inspiration comes from “just about everywhere,” the landscapes around his home, objects that surround him, studying the works of other artists, or books that contain seeds of ideas in stories on their pages. 

Mark works in a variety of mediums, including graphite, ink, watercolors, and oils, often combining them into one piece. Currently, he is focusing on painting with oils. His work includes subjects of Southwest and Midwest landscapes, still-lifes, automotive, and motorcycle portraits. Mark keeps his skills sharp by taking workshops in an number of mediums from artists, including Wendy Hill, Becky Joy,  Nancy Paterson, John Horejs, and Judy Durr to name a few, as well as attending workshops and classes at the Scottsdale Artists’ School. 

Mark is a member of the Oil Painters of America, Arizona Plein Aire Painters, the Sonoran Arts League, and is a signature member of Southwestern Premier Artists.  He is a founding member of the Casa Grande Valley Fine Art Association. He’s a juried artist with Southwestern Premier Artists, Thunderbird Artists, Vermillion Promotions, Bell Rock Art Shows, Sonoran Art League, and Casa Grande Valley Fine Art Association.  Much of his work is commissioned and is in private collections across the country.  

Currently, Mark’s work can be seen in dozens of events a year throughout Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, and New Mexico. Shows coming up for Mark are Casa Grande Art Museum opening, a one man show, March 27-April 17 in Casa Grande and the Sonoran Arts League Arts Festival in Carefree March 20-22. For a expanded schedule of events and shows, representations of Mark’s work, to discuss a commission piece for your home, office, or as a gift, or arrange to take a class, visit his Web site at or contact him at


Contact arts columnist Shea Stanfield at