Art from Her Heart: Folk Artist Clementine Hunter
Illustrator: Shane W. Evans
"Clementine waited until her work in the Big House was done and the twinkle of stars filled the night sky above the Cane River. She was ready to paint, like the artists she cooked and cleaned for on Melrose Plantation. . . . Instead of canvas, she used window shades, glass bottles, black iron skillets, and old boards-whatever she could find. In the middle of her hundred years, Clementine Hunter had decided to paint." Hunter's work, inspired by memories of picking cotton and pecans, wash days, weddings, and baptisms, now hangs in museums across the country. Bibliography. Author's note. Full-color mixed-media illustrations.
JLG Release: Oct 2008
Praise & Reviews
Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist, The Horn Book Guide, School Library Journal
Junior Library Guild
Clementine Hunter is presented as serious and humble, her work firmly grounded in her experience. Born in late December 1886 or early January 1887, she worked on Melrose Plantation, a Louisiana ha With striking illustrations and simple, evocative text, Art from Her Heart is an understated biography of a fascinating American artist.
Clementine Hunter is presented as serious and humble, her work firmly grounded in her experience. Born in late December 1886 or early January 1887, she worked on Melrose Plantation, a Louisiana haven for artists and writers. Hunter was self-taught and began to paint at the age of fifty. Without presuming to understand her motivations for beginning to paint, the book focuses instead on the practical aspects of Hunter’s work: where she got the paints she used and the objects on which she painted.
Shane W. Evans’s mixed-media illustrations, which incorporate brushstrokes, fabric, and lines drawn in pencil, further emphasize this materiality. To Evans’s credit, he does not try to mimic Hunter’s style in his own illustrations. Therefore, when reproductions of Hunter’s paintings do appear in the book, they stand out distinctly.
As the story moves between scenes of Hunter painting and scenes of her and others working on the plantation, gestures and postures are repeated, suggesting a continuity between Hunter’s paintings and the activities that inspired them. Although the book has an optimistic and even triumphant tone, it does not gloss over the discrimination Hunter faced. For example, even when her paintings hung in museums and galleries, one gallery would not let her in the front door; she waited until after hours to see her own work on display. This biography is an unsentimental and extremely moving portrayal of an artist and her work.
8" x 10"
Level 5.3; Points: 0.5;
Scholastic Reading Counts
Level 3.6; Points: 1;