Chickamauga Battlefield is one of local artist Jody Whittemore’s favorite places to find scenes he wants to paint.
Local artist Jody Whittemore has painted the Ringgold Depot from many angles.
Local artist Jody Whittemore sometimes paints that same scene during different seasons; here he’s painted Wilder Tower in the fall.
In addition to painting, local artist Jody Whittemore does woodworking.
Local artist Jody Whittemore does both woodworking and paintings.

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Chickamauga Battlefield is one of local artist Jody Whittemore’s favorite places to find scenes he wants to paint.
Local artist Jody Whittemore has painted the Ringgold Depot from many angles.
Local artist Jody Whittemore sometimes paints that same scene during different seasons; here he’s painted Wilder Tower in the fall.
In addition to painting, local artist Jody Whittemore does woodworking.
Local artist Jody Whittemore does both woodworking and paintings.
For Jody Whittmore, art is more than painting and creating —- it’s his life.
The Ringgold-raised and LaFayette-based artist started drawing as a young child. “We would have these little art contests in school,” says Whittemore. “I would draw waterfalls or Civil War scenes. The other kids would draw Ninja Turtles and win. It was a little disappointing to me.”
Whittemore says he never saw art as a career path, so he pursued drafting and mathematics. Art became a stress-reliever hobby for him. For a while, he did a lot of woodworking, creating chess sets and animal shapes with drawers built into them: cats, owls, butterflies, dragons, pugs. He created a small Hobbit house that has a round front door that’s a drawer.
Today, Whittemore focuses on painting. His love of history is reflected in his works: Chickamauga Battlefield’s cannons and Wilder Tower, the Ringgold Depot and businesses along Nashville Street, the Ringgold Wedding Chapel.
One painting depicts the underpass on Nashville Street. “It’s not something most people would paint,” says Whittemore, “but it’s something that has been a part of so many people’s lives. I felt like it needed a painting.”
“Right now,” Whittemore says, “the world feels like it’s ours. But at one time it belonged to someone else and in the future it will belong to other people. We’re just borrowing the earth. When I touch the stones on the depot and think about who placed them and who touched them years before me, it inspires me.”
One painting of the Ringgold Depot that Whittemore did took him around 120 hours. It’s not a way to become rich, but Whittemore says it was eventually so important to him to paint full-time that he made the leap, though he still does side jobs to bring in a little extra money.
Whittemore says he’s addicted to the painting process but not to the paintings themselves. He says the process is intense. “You start out excited. By the time you’re finished, you’ve spent every emotion possible and you need to move on. I paint my experience of things.”
Two of Whittemore’s favorite painters are the late father and son N.C. Wyeth and Andrew Wyeth. “They were very different artists. N.C. used bright colors. Andrew used ugly, muddy greens and browns but his technique was fascinating.”
Whittemore likes the painting “Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper. It depicts a lighted diner on a dark, deserted nighttime street, a few late customers lingering at the wrap-around lunch counter. “Look really close at how Hopper applied his paint,” Whittemore says, “at the brush strokes, at the colors within the colors.”
Whittemore says he uses only top-grade materials and the highest grade pigments and paints. “I think about how much longer than me I want my paintings to survive.” He paints mostly acrylics and watercolors but occasionally dabbles in other mediums.
“There are three reasons people buy paintings,” Whittemore says. “One is for décor -— to make their house look pretty. One is as an investment —- mostly famous art. And one is they have an emotional connection to the painting.”
Whittemore does commissioned pieces in addition to his regular works. “I do houses, properties, businesses, pets.” He says he would like to see some of his works on postcards someday. He also still does woodworking projects.
Whittemore’s work can be seen at Ringgold Art & Frame, at Regional Art Alliance shows and on his Facebook page. Originals and prints are available.
To learn more or to contact Whittemore about commissioned pieces, visit https://www.facebook.com/jwhitt79/photos.
Art, says Whittmore, has been a part of the human experience since the days of cave painting. Even with the digitalization of life today and art that can be done on computers, he does not see the desire to take pencil or brush to paper ever disappearing.
Tamara Wolk is a reporter for The Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga., and Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga.

Whittemore’s work can be seen at Ringgold Art & Frame, at Regional Art Alliance shows and on his Facebook page. Originals and prints are available. To learn more or to contact Whittemore about commissioned pieces, visit https://www.facebook.com/jwhitt79/photos.
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