Growing up in the lush Columbia River Gorge, Don was immersed in creative inspiration, surrounded by majestic pines and broad leaf maples whose branches gratefully bowed beneath lavish rains. With the constant rain and cloud cover, imagination became a survival skill. Native folklore, woodland magic, stories of Sasquatch all seemed natural when living on the river that curled though the Cascade Mountains along the Lewis and Clark trail.
In high school and college Don supplemented his income by drawing portraits for friends. He began painting as a teen after ordering a beginner’s paint set of Grumbacher acrylics from a Sears catalog. Because his welder-father was a budding artist before entering the navy, he was willing to pay for Don’s art lessons with Vicki Vance, an award-winning western and landscape artist. In college, his career took a theological detour, and art became a crucial private therapy in a career of local church ministry, joining the scattered ranks of a few artist-pastors.
While he still enjoys picking up a pencil or brush, his main focus is pyrography – burning images into wood with hot metal tools. His work is displayed in private collections throughout the Pacific Northwest and various parts of the US. In addition to fine arts, he has also done illustration work, including for his own nonfiction book, A Plymouth Pilgrim.
He has recently finished his first novel, The Doll-Man of Blossom Valley, set in 1960s rural eastern Washington State, and is researching his next novel – a mystery based in the Columbia River Gorge. Among his creative heroes are illustrators Gustave Doré and Maxfield Parrish, and author John Steinbeck.
“What I love about pyrography is the collaboration between the artist and the wood. The wood brings its own design, texture, and hues, and the artist burns images with beautiful sepia tones reminiscent of early photography.”
Donald Wayne White
715 North 9th Place, Aumsville, OR 97325
1994 – Abilene Christian University, Master of Divinity, Abilene TX
1990 – Pepperdine University, Master of Science, Ministry, Malibu CA
1983 – Cascade (Columbia Christian) College, Bachelor of Science, Theology, Portland OR
Early in his artistic development, Don was privileged to be taught and mentored by Vicki Vance, an award-winning western and landscape artist in Washington state. As a career local minister, his faith and spiritual practices have always informed his art.
Shows and Exhibitions:
2018 – Artful Tastings, Bethel Heights Winery, Salem OR
2018 – Radius 25: Through My Eyes, Salem Art Association, Salem OR
2020 – A Heart for Art, Art Gone Wild/Toews Studio, Stayton OR
Media & Publications:
2020 – Donald W. White, “Polytinting,” Pyrography Magazine, September 2020.
Don has taught pyrographic arts as an outreach to at-risk teens in Southern Oregon, and as part of a church-based creative arts program. The very nature of woodburning, and its fascination to young people, make it ideal for practicing mindfulness and concentration, reducing stress, and managing their emotions.