James Whitney Snow


1946 - 2006

J. Whitney Snow, a Marblehead native who grew up in the Old Town area, was "Painter in Residence" at art schools in Paris and Verona, as well as a Teaching Fellow at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He won the Boit Prize for watercolor, and was two-time winner of the Dana Pond award for painting. Among his many accomplishments are the "Giant Suspended Snowflake" in Trinidad, Colorado, the "Pirated Outdoor Billboard" in Los Angeles, and murals in Denver. He published two books, Crossing Rolands Fissure, 1996, and The Techno Prince, 2000. A graduate of the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts, his landscapes were nationally acclaimed "in his lifetime." His last showing was in his hometown of Marblehead. It was a tribute to his life. He succumbed to cancer shortly thereafter.

Editor's Note: Despite his worldly travels and fame within the art world, Whitney enjoyed returning to his hometown of Marblehead for short visits and high school reunions. He always brought his small dog with him who usually traveled atop the dashboard of his van. Whenever Whitney was in town I would bump into him walking his dog by the Castle on his way to Crocker Park. I remember fondly his great sense of humor, his wry whit, his personable disposition, and a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. I attended his final art show and was amazed by his paintings, the symbolism he employed in his artwork, and the subtle humor he added to his work. Whitney was a true Master and will be missed by all who were privileged to know him.

A Memorial Celebration honoring Whitney's life was held in late spring on Priest's Island, located near the entrance of Marblehead Harbor. Whitney's ashes were spread across the Atlantic Ocean while guests told humerous stories about him.


The Illusion of Light

by James Whitney Snow

In the metaphysical sense what inspires me to paint is, of course, the light.
The three dimensional world disappears into the darkness
only to suddenly reappear
as light falls across the previous invisible surfaces.
The illusion of dark is shattered by the illusion of light
and we play in the shifting patterns that each evoke.
Painting is just a way to re-experience
the wonder
that most of us lose too early in life.
It can teach us joy through observation and work
and when the day is done, we can return to the dark
with a heightened sense
of the infinite cycle of light and dark.


The "darker side" of Whitney

For some unknown reason, Whitney was known, on occasion, to cut up a few paintings and mail the pieces to his friends. I guess this is better than cutting off an ear. See example below.