CHARLESTON, SC -- After helping my daughter move out of her dorm room at The College of Charleston a couple of weeks ago (which, I must say, is a creative challenge all its own, due to the lack of on-street parking!), I stayed on for a few more days to attend an art workshop.
Of course, I love painting anytime and anywhere, but painting at the Church of Our Saviour on Johns Island for two days was a highlight for me because I discovered an amazing series of paintings in its narthex. The artist is none other than Mary Whyte, one of my favorites.
I was first introduced to Whyte's work several years ago when I had the privilege of seeing her "Working South" show at the Greenville (SC) County Museum of Art. Whyte is known for her watercolor work, but the series at the church was done in oils. I was told she used child members of the church as her models. The frames were handcrafted by her former husband and are a work of art in themselves, each one with its portion of the Bible verse Isaiah 42:10 inscribed in calligraphic gold leaf. At breaktime, I would stand before them in awe and admiration. My fascination with them also seemed to confirm my recent creative urges to paint more people.
My second favorite thing about the week was exploring Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. For the second day of the workshop, we painted en plein air there. I stayed on and walked the trails (my phone told me I logged over 9 miles that day!), having the best time photographing peacocks, egrets, flora and alligators. Most exciting was hearing two gators bellowing in the creek. Wow! What an incredibly beautiful place.