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More Than a Likeness

The Enduring Art of Mary Whyte

Mary Whyte

Publication Year: 2013

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 two hundred 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 lowcountry. “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 of detail, 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.”

Published by: University of South Carolina Press


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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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pp. 4-4

Copyright Page

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pp. 5-7

Table of Contents

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pp. 8-9

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pp. ix-x

At the age of nineteen, on the occasion of her first exhibition, Mary Whyte told a reporter, “Everybody needs people.” Whyte herself is a people person, gracious with individuals from all walks of life and patient as she listens to their stories. It has been my pleasure to get to know Mary and her work and to learn about “her people,” ...

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Artist’s Statement

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pp. xi-13

Although I have painted almost all my life, I consider myself a late bloomer. My early years were spent painting a shopping list of different genres: landscapes, nudes, flowers, still lifes, commissioned portraits, and illustrations for children’s books. I was just plain happy to be painting and grateful that my work helped to pay the bills. While my earliest watercolors and oils were hardly masterful, the hours spent holding a paintbrush helped me to develop my technical skills as well as an eye for ...

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The Artistry of Mary Whyte

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pp. 1-239

These words have served as the artist’s guiding principles, and are encapsulated in her life and her art. She selected Italian as a reminder of the year she spent in Rome as an art student, and, perhaps, because that language is uplifting and inspirational. With their longstanding commitment to an artistic and operatic way of life, Italians are consummate models for a dedicated and ambitious painter who feels passionately about her art and her subjects. ...


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pp. 241-243


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pp. 245-248

E-ISBN-13: 9781611173246
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611172768

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 849718887
MUSE Marc Record: Download for More Than a Likeness