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.