Art from Her Heart: Folk Artist Clementine Hunter

Art from Her Heart: Folk Artist Clementine Hunter

4.5 2
by Kathy Whitehead, Shane W. Evans
     
 

A picture book biography of the remarkable folk artist Clementine Hunter.

Can you imagine being an artist who isn't allowed into your own show? That's what happened to folk artist Clementine Hunter. Her paintings went from hanging on her clothesline to hanging in museums, yet because of the color of her skin, a friend had to sneak her in when the gallery was

Overview

A picture book biography of the remarkable folk artist Clementine Hunter.

Can you imagine being an artist who isn't allowed into your own show? That's what happened to folk artist Clementine Hunter. Her paintings went from hanging on her clothesline to hanging in museums, yet because of the color of her skin, a friend had to sneak her in when the gallery was closed.

With lyrical writing and striking illustrations, this picture book biography introduces kids to a self-taught artist whose paintings captured scenes of backbreaking work and joyous celebrations of southern farm life. They preserve a part of American history we rarely see and prove that art can help keep the spirit alive.
 

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The message of Clementine Hunter's life, to not wait for the perfect time to create, will inspire many readers." —Ashley Bryan, winner of the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration and the Arbuthnot Prize

"Whitehead’s lyrical text speaks of Hunter’s perseverance and talent as well as of the simplicity, love of nature, and caring of friends and family that informed her work. Evans bolsters Whitehead’s words with bold mixed-media illustrations that portray Hunter in hard times and in good." —School Library Journal

"Clementine Hunter . . . overcame prejudice, poverty, and hard times to create beautiful folk art that is now celebrated across the country. . . . Evans' full-page paintings with bright collage and black line evoke Hunter's hard work on the plantation, and happy times, too, including weddings and baptisms; and they show her creating beautiful, glowing art in the dim kerosene light, as she draws on her memories of her long life." —Booklist

School Library Journal

K-Gr 3

Although there was a difference in their life spans of about 25 years, Clementine Hunter (1886/1887-1988) and Grandma Moses (1860-1961) had much in common. Neither had any formal art training, both started painting in midlife, both used a folk-art style derived from their individual roots, and both lived long and fruitful lives finding personal passion in their art. Hunter, who today enjoys a modest reputation and whose work is sold in galleries and hung in museums, never received the acclamation that Moses achieved. Whitehead and Evans present an effective vehicle to introduce children to the work of this remarkable Southern black woman. Whitehead's lyrical text speaks of Hunter's perseverance and talent as well as of the simplicity, love of nature, and caring of friends and family that informed her work. Evans bolsters Whitehead's words with bold mixed-media illustrations that portray Hunter in hard times and in good. He often focuses on her hands and face, bringing strength and vitality to the pictures. In one especially poignant image, he depicts the artist standing alone before her pictures at an exhibition after hours: she was forbidden to enter the gallery with other visitors because of her race. Pair this picture-book biography with one about Grandma Moses, perhaps Alexandra Wallner's Grandma Moses (Holiday House, 2004) or W. Nikola-Lisa's The Year with Grandma Moses (Holt, 2000), to present inspiring stories of two outstanding American women artists. Eleven small reproductions of Hunter's works are appended.-Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA

Kirkus Reviews
Hunter started painting on scraps and gourds at age 50, using paints left by artists who frequented the Louisiana plantation where she worked. She depicted what she saw around her, cementing her legacy as a chronicler of soon-to-disappear plantation life when she became the first African-American artist to have a solo exhibition at major museum. Evans's images echo Hunter's naive style, his bright palette paying homage to Hunter's own vivid colors. Collage elements on highly textured backgrounds incorporate reproductions of her work. While the story of Hunter's success as an untrained artist will inspire students, they will not be as impressed with Whitehead's narrative. Too many sentence fragments and backward shifts recalling the incidents that inspired Hunter's work detract from the narrative flow. A concluding author's note for adults provides the background necessary to fully understand Hunter's life. Although not outstanding, it is undeniably useful as the only picture-book biography of the self-taught Hunter, who died in 1988 at the age of 101. (thumbnail reproductions, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399242199
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
09/18/2008
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
811,555
Product dimensions:
10.18(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.37(d)
Lexile:
AD870L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 8 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"The message of Clementine Hunter's life, to not wait for the perfect time to create, will inspire many readers." —Ashley Bryan, winner of the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration and the Arbuthnot Prize

"Whitehead’s lyrical text speaks of Hunter’s perseverance and talent as well as of the simplicity, love of nature, and caring of friends and family that informed her work. Evans bolsters Whitehead’s words with bold mixed-media illustrations that portray Hunter in hard times and in good." —School Library Journal

"Clementine Hunter . . . overcame prejudice, poverty, and hard times to create beautiful folk art that is now celebrated across the country. . . . Evans' full-page paintings with bright collage and black line evoke Hunter's hard work on the plantation, and happy times, too, including weddings and baptisms; and they show her creating beautiful, glowing art in the dim kerosene light, as she draws on her memories of her long life." —Booklist

Meet the Author

Kathy Whitehead lives in College Station, Texas.

Shane W. Evans lives in Kansas City, Missouri.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Intended for children, but a great read for all ages. Thoroughly enjoyed learning about an important artist from recent history.