Twin talents . . . Standing in front of their near-identical paintings are twins Barrie (left) and John White, whose artwork is on display in Oamaru. PHOTO: RUBY HEYWARD

It was not just a womb the White twins shared – they also share a talent in art.

Brothers John and Barrie White have been painting since a young age and are exhibiting their artworks – that have strikingly similar features, just as as they do – in Oamaru this month.

Despite living in different cities – John in Christchurch and Barrie in Oamaru – the pair often paint the same subject without realising.

Their most recent accidental synchronisation came in the form of two separate paintings of a pair of ducks drifting on the surface of a pond.

When these occurrences happened, it was very strange, but not uncommon, they said.

The twins were brought up in Macandrew Bay in Dunedin, where they began developing their skills as artists.

“We’ve been painting all of our lives,” Barrie said.

Out of five siblings, the twins were the only members of their family interested in art.

Although their parents did not understand their passion, they supported it, John said.

“We just painted and they accepted it.”

They were sent to weekend art classes at King Edward Technical College in Dunedin.

“[My mother] got a fright when I sold my first painting at 17,” John said.

Their favourite subjects at school were art and “nature studies”, which was reflected in their paintings of rural landscapes and animals.

As boys, the twins would switch name tags at Sunday school for a laugh, and could easily do the same thing with their artwork.

They were separated at 15 years old, when Barrie was sent to work on a poultry farm in Glenavy, north of Oamaru.

This was a difficult experience for them.

But distance has never stopped them from pursuing similar interests.

Both had worked as butchers and had experience in the army – John in the Regular Force and Barrie in the National Service.

John is a life member of the New Brighton Gallery, as is Barrie of the North Otago Art Society.

Their exhibition The White Twins Barrie and John is being held in a space above the old Silk Centre, at the corner of Thames and Wear Sts, until March 28.