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home : good life : good life September 15, 2014

1/7/2014 11:40:00 AM
Friends of the Library to present watercolorist Mary Whyte who will talk about her book
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Friends of Florence County Library will host artist Mary Whyte on Sunday, Jan. 26, at 3 p.m. in the Stukes Meeting Room. She will talk about her book, “More Than a Likeness: The Enduring Art of Mary Whyte.” Her books are available for purchase at the library and will be available at the program. Ms. Whyte will be autographing the books after her presentation. This program is free and open to the public “More Than a Likeness: The Enduring Art of Mary Whyte” offers an intimate look into the private life and inspiring work of a renowned watercolorist. Published by the University of SC Press, “More Than a Likeness: The Enduring Art of Mary Whyte”, is the first comprehensive book on the life and work of one of today’s most renowned watercolorists. From Whyte’s earliest paintings in rural Ohio and Pennsylvania, to the riveting portraits of her southern neighbors, historian Martha R. Severens provides us with an intimate look into the artist’s private world. With more than 200 full-color images of Whyte’s paintings and sketches, as well as comparison works by masters such as Winslow Homer, Andrew Wyeth, and John Singer Sargent, Severens clearly illustrates how Whyte’s art has been shaped and how the artist forged her own place in the world today.

Though Whyte’s academic training in Philadelphia was in oil painting, she learned the art of watercolor on her own – by studying masterworks in museums. Today Whyte’s style of watercolor painting is a unique blend of classical realism and contemporary vision, as seen in her intimate portraits of Southern blue-collar workers and elderly African American women in the South Carolina low country. “For me ideas are more plentiful than the hours to paint them, and I worry that I cannot get to all of my thoughts before they are forgotten or are pushed aside by more pressing concerns,” explains Whyte. “Some works take time to evolve. Like small seeds the paintings might not come to fruition until several years later, after there has been ample time for germination.” Using broad sweeping washes as well as miniscule brushstrokes, Whyte directs the viewer’s attention to the areas in her paintings she deems most important. Murky passages of neutral colors often give way to areas of intense detail and color, giving the works a variety of edges and poetic focus. Several paintings included in the book are accompanied by enlarged areas showcasing Whyte’s technical mastery. More Than a Likeness is replete with engaging artwork and inspiring text that mark the mid-point in Whyte’s artistry. Of what she will paint in the future, the artist says, “I have always believed that as artists we don’t choose our vocation, style, or subject matter.

Art chooses us.” About the Artist Watercolor artist Mary Whyte is a teacher and author whose figurative paintings have earned national recognition. Her portraits are included in numerous corporate, private, and university collections, as well as in the permanent collections of South Carolina’s Greenville County Museum of Art and the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston. Whyte’s work has been featured in International Artist, Artist, American Artist, Watercolor, American Art Collector, L’Art de l’Aquarelle, and many other publications. Martha Teichner of CBS Sunday Morning filmed and interviewed Ms. Whyte while touring to find inspiration for Working South. Whyte is the author of two books published by the University of South Carolina Press: Working South: Paintings and Sketches by Mary Whyte and Down Bohicket Road: An Artist’s Journey. She is also the author of Alfreda’s World, Painting Portraits and Figures in Watercolor, An Artist’s Way of Seeing, and Watercolor for the Serious Beginner. Whyte’s work can be found at Coleman Fine Art in Charleston. In 2013 Whyte was awarded the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award, South Carolina’s highest award in the arts. For more information contact Mary Wiser, 843-413-7065 mwiser@florencelibrary.org













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