William Whitaker grew up in the special world of the working artist. He had access to the finest art materials and was painting in watercolor and oil at the age of six. His fondest early memories are of the sights sounds and smells of the art studio.
The art world of his childhood and youth was the brave new world of abstract expressionism and until he was well out of college his natural inclination to draw accurately and his love for traditional realism was a source of inner conflict. Nevertheless he was fortunate, starting at age 17, to receive a thorough grounding in academic figure drawing and painting from the portrait painter Alvin Gittins at the University of Utah, and after exploring other styles he followed his heart into traditional art.