There are 23 paintings of my gracing the walls at Rick & Ann's restaurant in Berkeley, now until December 15th. Stop in and take a look...or better yet, go have breakfast there. You won't regret those gingerbread waffles, let me tell ya. They are amazing!
Clementine Hunter was a self-taught African-American folk artist, born some time between 1886-1888. She was born on a plantation, and didn't start painting until she was in her 50s. I just found this beautiful picture book at the library, Art from Her Heart,
by Kathy Whitehead and illustrated beautifully by Shane W. Evans.
She lived on Melrose plantation, a haven for artists and writers. She found art supplies wherever she could, and painted after her day's work was done. Scenes from plantation life, hanging laundry, working in the fields, hunting, dancing at a party. going to church, filled her canvases.
She strung them up on a clothesline and charged twenty-five cents. She was not let in the front door at one of her first gallery exhibits, but had to enter after the gallery was closed.
By the end of her century long life in 1988, her paintings sold for thousands of dollars and were in museums around the world, including the Smithsonian, and auctioned off at Sotheby's.
I love the exhuberant narrative in her work. She documented a time that no longer exists.
It all began when my aunt gave me The Tyger Voyage (by Richard Adams)when I was fourteen. Looking at Nicola Bayley's glowing illustrations made me want to paint some of my own. I still love her work, and I still have that book.