Art Chowder May | June 2017, Issue 9 - Page 35

A RT I S T: SA M T H E P LU M B E R By Ginny Brennan The Mentor’s Story Allan Kollar Gallery – Turn-of-the-Century American Art “My teaching experience in 1974- 75 was wonderful and in overdrive. I taught five classes a day including drawing, painting, design, printmak- ing, and every Thursday showed an art history slide presentation for the last 15 minutes of class. Not wasting a moment, I was the varsity basketball coach, and was attending graduate school at UW, completing my MFA in 1976. I was also an active artist in Seattle though the 1970s. “Paint and Overalls” started fifty-plus years ago at the age of eight. The focus on art came to light when Sam White, a resident of Woodenville, WA attended Bothell High School in 1974. Originally painting with watercolors, Sam experimented with oils, but didn’t care for the extended drying time or using palette knives. Sam’s current style, utilizing acrylics, evolved over forty-three years. Many historic artists including Matisse and Van Gogh have been strong influences on Sam’s art, but Sam gravitates back to Picasso as a favorite. Sam is fascinated by people; “People inspire me.” He tends to be a people watcher and especially enjoys seeking out those that are showing happiness—going for the gusto of life and finding funky hairdos, earrings, eyebrows, body piercings and all the things they do to themselves. Finding Youthful Art In Seattle Housing Projects Although Sam’s early childhood was tough, he did have great influences. One was a special neighbor who let Sam draw and paint. He mowed her lawn with a push lawn mower, and she shared her love of crafts with Sam, teaching him her art. During this time Sam also saw other children copying comics from newspapers and he began do- ing so himself. Eventually he developed his drawing skills without tracing. A wonderful happenstance was Sam’s tutelage with Allan Kollar, who during the 1970’s, was an Art Teacher at Bothell High School. Sam speaks very highly and shows much admiration for the time he spent with Allan Kollar during his formative years, with Allan supporting and encouraging him to soar with his artist strengths. During those early teaching days, I had the same youthful energy the students had back then. Of my two major careers, teaching has left me with the most positive memories. Educating others is not about money, it is about sharing with others that which has brought one so much pleasure. Sam White was a person who had to create. He took several of my classes and never wasted a classroom mo- ment. He immediately went to work putting brush to canvas and moving paint in expressive ways. The studio classroom was where he was happily engaged—a home away from home. If the assignment was to paint one canvas exploring shadows and value contrast in a compositional arrangement, Sam handed in three. He worked fast and had a sense of visual balance within a picture plane. It warms my heart to