Amy Whitaker and her patriotic portraits

Why one local artist lends her artistic skills to families of every Oklahoma armed serviceman and woman killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. 



Amy Whitaker doesn’t consider herself especially patriotic.

Although the American flag always flies at her Tulsa home.

Although this Fourth of July she and her family are visiting Philadelphia, the cradle of American independence, where they will tour historic sites.

So this local artist doesn’t describe her current art project as patriotic. She thinks of it as compassionate. She wants to draw an 11-inch-by-14-inch pencil portrait of every Oklahoma armed serviceman and woman killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and present the drawing as a gift to the family. She refers to these servicemen and women as “our fallen heroes.” She calls this art project Works of Heart. Whitaker received her first request for a portrait — a serviceman from Enid killed in action in 2006 — in early June and looks forward to receiving more.

How many Oklahomans serving in the U.S. military have died in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? I understand the number is 85. Oklahoma has one of the highest mortality rates.

What inspired you to undertake this project? When I watched the TV news reports and saw their names scroll across the screen, I thought: They died keeping our world safe for my children and our future. Every one of them leaves a family and people who care about them. Maybe this is a way for me to give some comfort to those people.

Will you work from photographs? I would like to have as much information as the family would like to share. That will help me draw them more accurately — to capture their spirit. I would like to have the family’s favorite photograph, the one that they think best represents their loved one. But I would also like to have a military photograph to post on my Web site.

Do you come from a military family?
I was born in Tanzania, East Africa, where my parents were both teachers. I lived there for six years. When I was in the seventh grade, I found out that my father actually was in the CIA, (working) undercover as a professor during our time in Tanzania.

Your medium is pencil, right?
I work with a graphite pencil. I find pencil to be more dramatic and powerful than colors, which can have emotional values. I have worked in pastel and oil, but I think the spirit of the subject is better captured in black, white and gray.

Your degree (from the University of Kansas) is journalism and business communication. Not art, right?
That’s right. And I have an MBA (from the University of Central Oklahoma). Being a stay-at-home mother of three and running a household is kind of like running a business, so I think I’m using that degree. I don’t have any formal art training, but I always wanted to draw. It is a relaxing hobby to me.

So how did you get from a hobby to this Works of Heart mission? One evening, when my husband was traveling on business, I was drinking a glass of wine and decided to try some sketching. I was amazed when my drawing — a beautiful African woman whose photograph provided my inspiration — suddenly came to life. At first, I wondered if it was just the wine, but the drawing actually looked good. I completed that drawing and gave it to my dad for his last birthday when he turned 69 in 2006. I have been drawing ever since.

Why do you describe this project as “compassionate”?
My dad was traveling in Italy when he caught Legionnaires’ disease and died. A year later, my mother died of cancer. Suddenly, I had joined “the horrendous club (of orphans).” People tell me my portraits of their lost loved ones have given them peace and comfort. That’s what I want to do for the families of these fallen Oklahoma military personnel. It’s a passion. I believe it’s what I’m supposed to do with the talent God has given me.



To commission one of Amy Whitaker’s free military portraits, visit her Web site, www.amycwhitaker.com, or e-mail amycwhitaker@me.com.

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module

Add your comment:

 

Get the best in arts, entertainment and more straight to your inbox.

Join our email list

Edit ModuleShow Tags

July 2019

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

The Museum’s Dickinson Research Center is home to more than 700,000 photographs, 44,000 books, and perhaps unexpectedly, at least 1,000 horses. Meet some of the herd in Horseplay, the new...

Cost: $12.50 adult entry

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »

More information

Joys To The World 4th Summer Camp Enriching the quality of life for young adults with multiple disabilities. WHAT TO EXPECT Summer Camp is designed to meet the needs of students with...

Cost: $100/week; $400/4weeks; $30/day

Where:
Tulsa Hills Church
840 W. 81st Street
Tulsa, OK  74132
View map »


Sponsor: Joys to the World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Ramnath
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

It is time to hit the greens to support the 20th Annual Boys & Girls Club Charity Golf Tournament. Bring your golf buddies in support of Tulsa area youth. Join us for a great day of golf for a...

Cost: Sponsors start at $1,200

Where:
Tulsa Country Club
701 N Union Aveue
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Tulsa
Telephone: 918-587-7801
Contact Name: Samantha Knappen
Website »

More information

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 15.0px Calibri; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. shotgun starts

Where:
Tulsa Country Club
701 N Union Ave
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: The Salvation Army
Contact Name: Dj Morrow Ingram

More information

The tournament will be an 18-hole, 4-person scramble format. Morning Flight shotgun at 8 am and Afternoon flight shotgun at 1 pm. All participants are invited to use the practice facilities prior...

Cost: first sponsor level $1,250

Where:
Tulsa Country Club
701 N. Union Ave.
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Tulsa
Telephone: 918-587-7801
Contact Name: Samantha Knappen, Special Events Manager
Website »

More information

Children's Summer Camp is a week full of games, crafts, field trips and more for deaf and hard-of-hearing children and their siblings.   

Cost: $65 - deaf and hard of hearing; $75 for siblings

Where:
TSHA
8740 E. 11th Street
Tulsa, OK  74112
View map »


Sponsor: TSHA
Telephone: 019-832-8742
Contact Name: Diana Emerson
Website »

More information

The Please Touch the Art exhibit breaks the rules of traditional art exhibits and makes art accessible, especially for visitors who are visually impaired or blind. Guests are encouraged to touch...

Cost: free & open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

More information

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Joys To The World 4th Summer Camp Enriching the quality of life for young adults with multiple disabilities. WHAT TO EXPECT Summer Camp is designed to meet the needs of students with...

Cost: $100/week; $400/4weeks; $30/day

Where:
Tulsa Hills Church
840 W. 81st Street
Tulsa, OK  74132
View map »


Sponsor: Joys to the World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Ramnath
Website »

More information

Magi 4 Christ Campers meet each Monday at 6:00 PM until 7:30 PM. At 4241 S. 37th W. Ave., Tulsa, OK. 74107.  We are a Christian group of camping enthusiasts. We are family friendly. Meeting...

Cost: Donations only

Where:
Hope House
4241 S. 37th W. Ave.
South Door Activity Center
Tulsa, OK  74107
View map »


Sponsor: Magi 4 Christ Campers
Telephone: 918-906-0564
Contact Name: Dorothy Brown

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Children's Summer Camp is a week full of games, crafts, field trips and more for deaf and hard-of-hearing children and their siblings.   

Cost: $65 - deaf and hard of hearing; $75 for siblings

Where:
TSHA
8740 E. 11th Street
Tulsa, OK  74112
View map »


Sponsor: TSHA
Telephone: 019-832-8742
Contact Name: Diana Emerson
Website »

More information

The Please Touch the Art exhibit breaks the rules of traditional art exhibits and makes art accessible, especially for visitors who are visually impaired or blind. Guests are encouraged to touch...

Cost: free & open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

Joys To The World 4th Summer Camp Enriching the quality of life for young adults with multiple disabilities. WHAT TO EXPECT Summer Camp is designed to meet the needs of students with...

Cost: $100/week; $400/4weeks; $30/day

Where:
Tulsa Hills Church
840 W. 81st Street
Tulsa, OK  74132
View map »


Sponsor: Joys to the World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Ramnath
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Children's Summer Camp is a week full of games, crafts, field trips and more for deaf and hard-of-hearing children and their siblings.   

Cost: $65 - deaf and hard of hearing; $75 for siblings

Where:
TSHA
8740 E. 11th Street
Tulsa, OK  74112
View map »


Sponsor: TSHA
Telephone: 019-832-8742
Contact Name: Diana Emerson
Website »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

The Please Touch the Art exhibit breaks the rules of traditional art exhibits and makes art accessible, especially for visitors who are visually impaired or blind. Guests are encouraged to touch...

Cost: free & open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

More information

Joys To The World 4th Summer Camp Enriching the quality of life for young adults with multiple disabilities. WHAT TO EXPECT Summer Camp is designed to meet the needs of students with...

Cost: $100/week; $400/4weeks; $30/day

Where:
Tulsa Hills Church
840 W. 81st Street
Tulsa, OK  74132
View map »


Sponsor: Joys to the World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Ramnath
Website »

More information

Every Wednesday Live Event Trivia is at The Willows Family Ales - Show starts at 7 and is free to play! Movie scenes, Finish the Lyric, Classic Trivia, and more! The crew from T-Town Tacos will be...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Willows Family Ales
418 south peoria ave
tulsa, OK  74120
View map »


Sponsor: The Willows Family Ales
Telephone: (918) 895-6798
Contact Name: Julian Morgan
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Children's Summer Camp is a week full of games, crafts, field trips and more for deaf and hard-of-hearing children and their siblings.   

Cost: $65 - deaf and hard of hearing; $75 for siblings

Where:
TSHA
8740 E. 11th Street
Tulsa, OK  74112
View map »


Sponsor: TSHA
Telephone: 019-832-8742
Contact Name: Diana Emerson
Website »

More information

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

The Please Touch the Art exhibit breaks the rules of traditional art exhibits and makes art accessible, especially for visitors who are visually impaired or blind. Guests are encouraged to touch...

Cost: free & open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Joys To The World 4th Summer Camp Enriching the quality of life for young adults with multiple disabilities. WHAT TO EXPECT Summer Camp is designed to meet the needs of students with...

Cost: $100/week; $400/4weeks; $30/day

Where:
Tulsa Hills Church
840 W. 81st Street
Tulsa, OK  74132
View map »


Sponsor: Joys to the World, Inc.
Telephone: 918-282-3191
Contact Name: Jenny Ramnath
Website »

More information

Love's Third Thursdays are special, creating the perfect opportunity to mingle at the Museum with friends, experience something new, and enjoy the Museum’s latest exhibitions. From 5...

Cost: $12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art
Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Contact Name: Becky Weintz
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Children's Summer Camp is a week full of games, crafts, field trips and more for deaf and hard-of-hearing children and their siblings.   

Cost: $65 - deaf and hard of hearing; $75 for siblings

Where:
TSHA
8740 E. 11th Street
Tulsa, OK  74112
View map »


Sponsor: TSHA
Telephone: 019-832-8742
Contact Name: Diana Emerson
Website »

More information

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

The Please Touch the Art exhibit breaks the rules of traditional art exhibits and makes art accessible, especially for visitors who are visually impaired or blind. Guests are encouraged to touch...

Cost: free & open to the public

Where:
McKeon Center for Creativity
910 S. Boston Ave.
TCC Metro Campus
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: Tulsa Community College
Telephone: 918-595-7339
Contact Name: Cindy Armstrong

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Accepting: batteries (rechargeable and single use) plastic grocery bags personal paper documents for shredding * Residential only, no businesses please Plastic grocery bags will...

Cost: Free

Where:
Expo Square Exchange Center
4145 E. 21st St.
*drive through along East side of building
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »


Sponsor: The Metropolitan Environmental Trust
Website »

More information

Featuring more than seventy works by French and European masters such as Degas, Manet, Monet, Rousseau and Van Gogh, this exhibition celebrates Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon’s extraordinary gift...

Cost: $15

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: (405) 236-3100
Website »

More information

Sharklahoma is a collaboration between the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Jenks Chamber of Commerce to celebrate our community and its local businesses, while also raising awareness about the ecological...

Cost: Varies

Where:
Oklahoma Aquarium
, OK


Website »

More information

Free event with motivational speaking and resources for financial advisement and social support. We will use this event to fellowship and build bonds and create a strong sister circle.

Cost: Free

Where:
Woodward Park
2435 S Peoria Ave
Tulsa, OK  74114
View map »

More information

America’s LARGEST interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa Broken Arrow! At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: 59.95

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn Tulsa- Broken Arrow
420 W Albany St.
Broken Arrow, OK  74012
View map »


Telephone: 866-496-0535
Contact Name: The Dinner Detective
Website »

More information

RSVP is excited to announce our annual gala! Let's twist again down memory land and the spectacular 60's!!!  During the night, be prepared to dine on delicious food and dance to a...

Cost: 125.00

Where:
River Spirit Casino
8330 Riverside Drive
Tulsa, OK  74135
View map »


Sponsor: RSVP of Tulsa, Inc.
Telephone: 918.280.8656
Contact Name: Annette Poston
Website »

More information

Remember attending those summer family reunions as a kid? Have you become the weird uncle you always avoided or the “crazy cat-lady” aunt that enjoys pinching cheeks? If...

Cost: 8.00

Where:
pH Community House
306 South Phoenix Avenue
Tulsa, OK  74127
View map »


Sponsor: Laughing Matter Improv
Contact Name: Jerry Henderson
Website »

More information

Where:
Tulsa Rugby Pitch
37th Street and Riverside Drive
Tulsa, OK
View map »


Website »

More information

Help DVIS and the Tulsa Drillers knock out violence! We are in our 16th year of raising funds for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Join us by pledging per home run or making a...

Cost: $1+

Where:
Tulsa, OK


Sponsor: DVIS
Telephone: 918-508-2709
Contact Name: Jenée Day
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

What's New


USS Batfish needs your help

Popular tourist destination in nearby Muskogee needs assistance following historic flooding

Comments

Video: Mock Brothers Saddlery

Comments

6 unique places in Wichita worth a stop

Plenty to see and do in Kansas’ largest city

Comments

Award-winning screenwriter comes home to Tulsa

Three-time Emmy Award-winning screenwriter Paul W. Cooper recently returned to his native Tulsa.

Comments

Remembering Tulsa Paper Co.

The Tulsa Paper Co. was founded by Alphonse Jochem in 1917, originally at 21 W. First St.

Comments