MARY WHYTE has gained national recognition for her figurative watercolors. Most noted for her depictions of the
African-American Gullah women of Johns Island, South Carolina, near where she lives, in recent years Whyte has
turned her attention to paintings of southern laborers. Whyte’s exhibition of fifty paintings and drawings called
“Working South” began touring several museums March 2011, and was the subject of feature on CBS Sunday
Mary Whyte is the author of several books about painting, and her work has been featured in numerous periodicals
and magazines including International Artist, Artist Magazine, American Artist and American Art Collector. Her work
has been included in many national exhibitions including shows with the Butler Museum of American Art, the
American Watercolor Society, the Greenville County Museum of Art in Greenville, South Carolina, and the Allied
Artists of America.
Whyte is a faculty member of the Portrait Society of America, and continues to teach painting workshops
nationwide. Her work can be viewed at Coleman Fine Art in Charleston, South Carolina.Whyte has illustrated over a
dozen children’s books, having several projects published by Chronicle Books and Dial Books. Many of the
illustrations are now in collections of private individuals and institutions including the Mazza Collection of Children’s
Book illustrations of the University of Findlay in Ohio.
In 1991, Mary Whyte and her husband Smith Coleman, moved to an island on the South Carolina coast and developed
close friendships within the African-American community. Soon after her arrival and quite by accident, she met
Alfreda LaBoard, and her intrepid group of senior citizens who gather weekly to make quilts and socialize in a small
rural church. Long time residents of Johns Island and descendants of slaves, these women would change her life and
her paintings in astonishing and unexpected ways. Mary Whyte’s book, Alfreda’s World (Wyrick & Company, 2003),
is about the shared experiences and values that deepened the friendship between the two remarkable women. The
story is told in the touching watercolors and drawings that the artist created over a ten-year period.
MARY WHYTE is a teacher and author whose figurative watercolor paintings have earned international recognition.
A resident of Johns Island, South Carolina, Whyte garners much of her inspiration from the Gullah descendants of
coastal Carolina slaves who number among her most prominent subjects. In 2003, Whyte’s paintings of her Gullah
friends culminated in a museum exhibition and book called Alfreda’s World.
In 2011, Whyte’s groundbreaking exhibition Working South opened with fifty works at the Greenville County
Museum of Art in South Carolina. Four additional museums signed on to exhibit the large-scale, sensitively rendered
watercolors depicting blue-collar workers in industries vanishing throughout the south. Whyte’s unrivaled mastery of
the watercolor medium, along with this exhibition, was featured on CBS Sunday Morning. Her book, Working South,
reverences each painting and sketch with background stories of the Southern people and places beautifully portrayed
within the exhibition.
Down Bohicket Road, released November 2012, is her comprehensive book of paintings completed over a twenty-year
period on Johns Island. It is a rich, visual tribute to friendship that crosses cultural and racial borders and reaches
straight to the heart.
Whyte was one of ten watercolor artists of the world invited to the China and Foreign Countries International
Watercolour Summit at the Nanning Art Gallery in Nanning China, October 2013. Simultaneously, The Butler Institute
of American Art showcased twenty of Whyte’s major works in a solo exhibition named after her recently released
biography titled, More Than A Likeness, The Enduring Art of Mary Whyte, written by Martha R. Severens and
published by University of South Carolina Press.
November 2013 Whyte was featured in a solo exhibition at the National Arts Club in New York City. This exhibition
was extended due to the overwhelming positive public response. Her most recent exhibition will include The World
Watermedia Exposition, in Thailand, 2014.
Whyte is the author of Painting Portraits and Figures in Watercolor, Watercolor for the Serious Beginner, and An
Artist’s Way of Seeing. She continues to teach watercolor nationwide and in Europe.
Whyte’s paintings can be viewed exclusively at Coleman Fine Art; 79 Church Street in Charleston, South Carolina,
where her husband, Master Gilder, Smith Coleman, crafts gilded and carved frames.