Some artists attend school for years to learn their craft. Others travel to Europe to study with teachers that come from a long line of masters.

Others, like Park City resident Diane Whitehead, a self-taught oil painter, just need a little push from an uncle.

"It began when I was 12," Whitehead said during an interview with The Park Record. "My uncle was losing his sight and he had an oil-painting set that he gifted to me with some Walter Foster art books."

Coming from a family of eight, Whitehead found that painting was something she could do on her own and everyone would leave her alone.

Through trial and error, Whitehead honed her craft, which focuses on wildlife, animals and western scenery.

"It takes a lifetime and many paintings to get where you want to go and you never really get there," she said with a laugh.

Still, Whitehead is at a good place in her career. She was recently accepted into the Icons of the West invitational exhibition in Missoula, Mont., and had her work featured on the cover of "The Animal World."

She is also an exhibited artist at Redstone Gallery.

On Friday, May 18, the gallery, 1678 Redstone Center Dr., #120, will present "Spurs, Boots and Cowboy Hats," an opening reception/barbecue for Whitehead from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. Admission is free.

Jenece Lemon, owner of the Redstone, said Whitehead's work is popular among her clientele.

"Diane is one of the gallery's top-selling artists, and she's been with us for eight years," Lemon said.


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Having the Redstone Gallery's support has been an important aspect in her career, Whitehead said.

"We've had a good, long, eight-year relationship and I've been with them pretty much since they opened," she said. "It's important that we support each other.

Although Whitehead had an urge to paint from the time she was young, she did take some years off to pursue other careers in pharmaceuticals and real estate.

"I got tired of that, so, I bought 100 canvases, and had the idea if painting No. 100 wasn't better than No. 1, then I would think of something else to do," she said with a laugh. "Every one of the pieces sold, and since then, I've been painting, painting, painting."

Throughout the past few years, Whitehead did take time to study with other artists such as Jove Wang and Carolyn Anderson.

"They really helped with what I wanted to do with my work," she said.

Whitehead chose animals and Western scenery as her subjects because she has a passion for the outdoors.

"I paint what I'm most attracted to and that changes throughout life, so I'm looking forward to travel again to Montana and go through national parks again to get some more photographs, because I paint from my photos," she said. "I also wanted to be a veterinarian since I was a little girl, but my allergies kept me away from that," she said. "I love the animals. I love their eyes and have been fascinated and passionate about animals.

"I didn't grow up on a farm or anything like that, but do spend part of my year in Montana, so I can see a lot of cows, horses and ranches."

Oil has always been Whitehead's favorite mediu,.

"I love the smell, and when I start, it's like buttering a piece of bread," she said.

A career in art has provided Whitehead with opportunities to meet other artists.

"There is a group of us that meet at a ranch in Wyoming every year and we spend all week painting and talking," she said.

Whitehead will present at least 30 works at the Redstone show.

"I have works on the halls of Canyons resort and we're mixing some of those in with the new works and some that I've painted this last winter," she said. "Most of them are fairly new. I've painted some western pieces and have done some muted still lifes, along with my bears and moose."

The Redstone Gallery, 1678 Redstone Center Dr., #120, will present "Spurs, Boots and Cowboy Hats," an opening reception/barbecue for local artist Diane Whitehead, on Friday, May 18, from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. Admission is free.