Monday, August 8, 2011

Painting with Feeling

Mary Whyte is known for her large-scale watercolor paintings. A resident of Johns Island in South Carolina, Mary is noted for her depictions of African-American Gullah women (descendents of coastal Carolina slaves). 

A few years ago, Mary realized that a large segment of our population works unnoticed, year after year, in all kinds of jobs that are becoming outmoded, downsized, or phased out. She then turned her attention to painting southern laborers. Her exhibition of fifty paintings and drawings called “Working South” is currently on tour with several museums and featured in her book Working South: Paintings and Sketches.

As an artist, Mary has learned many lessons over the years—both about art and about life. She has shared many of these lessons in the books she has written. Her latest book, Painting Portraits and Figures in Watercolor releases in December.

As an art instructor, Mary believes that the techniques of watercolor painting can be learned. It can be tricky since watercolor is the only medium that relies strictly on timing. While the skill of painting with watercolors can be taught, Mary believes, “skill is never enough. One must also learn to feel as well as to see in order to become a complete artist and a complete person.”

Mary teaches art workshops all over the United States. We are privileged to have her come teach at Whidbey Island Fine Art Studio in October. We are excited to have her teach us watercolor technique as well as to help us capture our feelings in our paintings. After all, Mary believes that your paintbrush is not just an extension of your hand, but an extension of your soul as well.