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Alfreda's World
     

Alfreda's World

by Mary Whyte
 

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Artist Mary Whyte moved with her husband to a small South Carolina barrier island 10 years ago and quite by accident met a group of senior citizens who were making quilts in a small abandoned church. Longtime residents of Johns Island and desc<%END%>ants of slaves, this extraordinary group of African American women changed Whyte's life and paintings in astonishing and

Overview

Artist Mary Whyte moved with her husband to a small South Carolina barrier island 10 years ago and quite by accident met a group of senior citizens who were making quilts in a small abandoned church. Longtime residents of Johns Island and desc<%END%>ants of slaves, this extraordinary group of African American women changed Whyte's life and paintings in astonishing and unexpected ways. Chronicled in dialogue and images are the Gullah way of life and the evolution of an incredible fri<%END%>ship between the artist and Alfreda LaBoard, who became the subject of many of her paintings. Whyte uses the watercolor medium to produce rich, dark tones and textures. Her combination of tightly controlled brush strokes and loose, broad sweeps of washes, coupled with contrasts of light and dark, produce a level of intensity not usually associated with watercolor. The use of mostly transparent pigments, hard and soft edges, limited backgrounds, and simple poses bring into focus for the viewer what Whyte feels is important. Her watercolors reveal not only what it is like to be African American and living the Gullah tradition in South Carolina, but at the same time, what it feels like to one who is not.

Author Biography: Mary Whyte has earned national recognition as both artist and illustrator, with works exhibited in the American Watercolor Society and the Allied Artists of America shows. She is the author of Watercolor for the Serious Beginner. She lives in Charleston, South Carolina.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780941711678
Publisher:
Wyrick & Company
Publication date:
03/01/2003
Pages:
90
Product dimensions:
8.78(w) x 8.76(h) x 0.53(d)

Read an Excerpt

The first time I saw Alfreda, she was hauling a large pan of sloping cornbread from an enormous black iron stove. Standing in the kitchen doorway at the back of an old wooden church, I was witnessing the birth of one of her signature creations: sweet-smelling cornbread that was thick and cakelike on one end, and thin and burnt on the other, a feature caused by the slanting wooden floor underneath the heavy stove. There seemed to be not a single right angle in the whole building, the oldest African American church on Johns Island. It had been built right after the Civil War from the scavenged pieces of a shipwreck, and the kitchen looked as though it had not been updated in a hundred years.

Meet the Author

Mary Whyte is a graduate of The Tyler School of Art and is a nationally known watercolor artist, author, and teacher. She is a resident of Johns Island, South Carolina, where she finds many of her subjects among the Gullah people--descendants of the slave culture of the barrier islands of coastal Carolina. Her works have been exhibited at and collected by many art galleries and museums. She is the author of Alfreda's World and the illustrator of a number of children's books.

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