An interview with Keinyo White in Washington D.C. & New Zealand

This interview is a year in the making! Unfortunately, that is how far behind I am on this interview series but, as I previously stated, I’m working hard to catch up and continue to improve this series.

Keinyo White is an outstanding artist and watercolorist. He’s been featured in The Washington Post, does amazing work for children’s books, and has obviously been featured here on the gallery.

How did you get started in watercolor?

I starting teaching myself watercolor as a method of making my Children’s book project deadlines on time. From there it filtered over into my personal work and became my medium of choice.

How have your tools changed from when you got started until now, and what are your favorite tools currently?

My tools are just the standard: brush and paper. Although I also use gouache and pen and ink in conjunction with watercolor, as well as a hairdryer if I need a wash to dry quickly. And I prefer to use a paper that’s of very good quality. I found that it affected the watercolor medium a lot.

How do you prefer to work? Plein air, from a photograph, from memory? At a desk, outdoors, in a closet?

Since my focus is portraiture I work from photo reference that I shoot myself. Occasionally for commissioned works I might work from reference that is provided to me, but that is pretty rare. As far as my workspace, I prefer to work quietly and in the privacy of my studio. I am a pretty private person when it comes to making my work.

What has been your favorite painting or painting experience?

My favorite painting experience would have to be living in Rome for a year while on the RISD EHP honors program. In addition to seeing 90% of Italy while living there I also traveled to France, Belgium, the Czech Republic, and Austria. I spent my entire last year of college being surrounded by outstanding painting while living abroad in Europe. Great, great experience.

Name two watercolor artists, perhaps those who are currently inspiring you, that you’d like to have do this interview also.

Unfortunately the two watercolor artists who inspire me the most are no longer alive.

I’d love to thank Keinyo for doing this interview and apologize for the amount of time it has taken me to get to publishing it.

I sincerely enjoyed the brevity of Keinyo’s answers. I think sometimes I over complicate art. While painting is a complex art, in any medium, it really isn’t about the secrets or the tips and tricks one can learn – it is more about trying, practicing, working. I think this is fairly apparent in Keinyo’s answers… he just works. Nothing special. It just so happens he’s a great talent and, no doubt, works very hard at his craft.

Although he didn’t mention who his favorite artists were I found this snippet from his bio that may shed some light on the answer.

“White also pays homage to the Dutch master Rembrandt. He says although he admires other figurative painters such as Lucien Freud, Andrew Wyeth, Vermeer and Velasquez, for him personally “there is Rembrandt and then everyone else is running for second place.”

Well, there you have it.

I’ll end with this quote from Keinyo in his Washington Post bio: “Go forward and just do.”

Photo credit: Dayna Smith-For The Washington Post.