Reviews for Art From Her Heart : Folk Artist Clementine Hunter

Booklist Reviews 2008 September #1
In the 1950s, segregation laws denied artist Clementine Hunter admission to the gallery that exhibited her work. Throughout her life, she overcame prejudice, poverty, and hard times to create beautiful folk art that is now celebrated across the country. The words and images in this moving picture-book biography show that Hunter was not stopped by self-pity, and she did not wait for the perfect time to paint. She had no canvas, so she made art with whatever she could find--window shades, glass bottles, old boards--and Evans' full-page paintings with bright collage and black line evoke Hunter's hard work on the plantation, and happy times, too, including weddings and baptisms; and they show her creating beautiful, glowing art in the dim kerosene light, as she draws on her memories of her long life. A final author's note that fills in more of Hunter's story, and features small reproductions of her work, will leave readers wanting to turn back for another look. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Spring
A brief text, more impressionistic than fact-filled, introduces readers to the self-taught artist Clementine Hunter (1886-1988), who "didn't wait" for perfect conditions in order to paint her memories of plantation life. Illustrator Evans's canvas resembles the old boards on which Hunter sometimes painted, while the rich colors recall Hunter's own palette. Author's note. Bib. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2008 August #1
Hunter started painting on scraps and gourds at age 50, using paints left by artists who frequented the Louisiana plantation where she worked. She depicted what she saw around her, cementing her legacy as a chronicler of soon-to-disappear plantation life when she became the first African-American artist to have a solo exhibition at major museum. Evans's images echo Hunter's naïve style, his bright palette paying homage to Hunter's own vivid colors. Collage elements on highly textured backgrounds incorporate reproductions of her work. While the story of Hunter's success as an untrained artist will inspire students, they will not be as impressed with Whitehead's narrative. Too many sentence fragments and backward shifts recalling the incidents that inspired Hunter's work detract from the narrative flow. A concluding author's note for adults provides the background necessary to fully understand Hunter's life. Although not outstanding, it is undeniably useful as the only picture-book biography of the self-taught Hunter, who died in 1988 at the age of 101. (thumbnail reproductions, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-9) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2008 September

K-Gr 3-- Although there was a difference in their life spans of about 25 years, Clementine Hunter (1886/1887-1988) and Grandma Moses (1860-1961) had much in common. Neither had any formal art training, both started painting in midlife, both used a folk-art style derived from their individual roots, and both lived long and fruitful lives finding personal passion in their art. Hunter, who today enjoys a modest reputation and whose work is sold in galleries and hung in museums, never received the acclamation that Moses achieved. Whitehead and Evans present an effective vehicle to introduce children to the work of this remarkable Southern black woman. Whitehead's lyrical text speaks of Hunter's perseverance and talent as well as of the simplicity, love of nature, and caring of friends and family that informed her work. Evans bolsters Whitehead's words with bold mixed-media illustrations that portray Hunter in hard times and in good. He often focuses on her hands and face, bringing strength and vitality to the pictures. In one especially poignant image, he depicts the artist standing alone before her pictures at an exhibition after hours: she was forbidden to enter the gallery with other visitors because of her race. Pair this picture-book biography with one about Grandma Moses, perhaps Alexandra Wallner's Grandma Moses (Holiday House, 2004) or W. Nikola-Lisa's The Year with Grandma Moses (Holt, 2000), to present inspiring stories of two outstanding American women artists. Eleven small reproductions of Hunter's works are appended.--Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA

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