After over thirty years of teaching painting, Dawn Whitelaw still thinks of herself as a student. Like the painters she so admires, Sorolla, Sargent, and Zorn, she fully understands the importance of not only painting from life, but also keeping it simple. "It's not about rendering every eyelash or tree limb, but about finding the character for your subject and presenting the essential information," says Whitelaw.
Dawn Whitelaw maintains a studio at "The Factory" in Franklin, Tennessee. The opportunity to paint landscape plein air with colleagues adds richness and honesty to her studio work. For over 25 years she taught basic principles of oil painting as an adjunct instructor at David Lipscomb University. Among her influential teachers are Scott Christensen, Cedric Egeli, T. Allen Lawson, Quang Ho and Jim Pollard, but most of her instruction and inspiration comes from nationally preeminent artist Everett Raymond Kinstler. At present, she teaches workshops nationally.
Her ability to capture life in paint has been noticed. Her awards include the Certificate of Merit for her portrait at the National Portrait Convention in 1991, Best of Show at the Portrait Society of America in Washington DC, and the Award of Excellence in the Oil Painter's of America exhibition in 2002. In 2010 Whitelaw was one of ten American women artists invited to participate in the "Inspiring Figures" exhibition at the Butler Institute of American Art.
Dawn Whitelaw has obtained many awards over the years such as 2nd Place, Pastel/Dry Media;, Richeson 75: Figure/Portrait International – 2007, Award of Excellence, Oil Painters of America ,Regional Show – 2002, Best of Show Award, International Portrait Competition – 2001, One of 6 "call for artists" American Academy of Women Artists – 1999, Avalon Award for Creative Excellence – 1997, and the National Portrait Seminar, Certificate of Merit – 1991.