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Art: 'The Salt in Sugar....' by Artist Patience
-'The Salt in Sugar:  A Portrait of Shug Avery'

When I first learned the theme for this particular exhibit, I knew immediately from which Alice Walker's renown and respected works I wanted to draw my inspiration....

I read 'The Color Purple' in college, and can still well recall, even now decades later, the strong impressions it made upon me at the time.  The tale, with its sweeping narrative, rich characterization and intimate portrayal of African American womanhood in the Depression-era rural south, truly made me appreciative of  the insights into a world so very different from my own, and within a few pages I found myself absorbed.   Particularly engrossing to me was the fiery character of Shug Avery, a passionate free-spirit and non-conformist who refused to submit to the social conventions, limitations and rules set upon her sex and race by the culture into which she was born.  A sassy, sultry blues singer, Shug, with her confidence, glamor, pride and unwillingness to suffer fools gladly, represents freedom and empowerment to her friend, Celie -- Shug's shy, insecure and long-suffering counterpoint.  Though Celie and Shug's relationship gets off to an initial rocky start thanks to Shug's jealousy, with Shug eventually offering Celie the excuse of "That's just the salt in Sugar..." for her previously rude behavior, in time the two become inextricably linked together, and create a bond so long-lasting and strong it builds Celie's self-worth, giving her a precious sense of identity, and in turn allowing her to liberate herself from an unhappy existence of chronic mistreatment, oppression and pain. 

For my entry, I wished to create a portrait of Shug Avery to truly express the many complexities of her most extraordinary character.  Celie is first introduced to Shug via a photograph -- a portrait of Shug that intrigues,  compels and fascinates Celie well before they actually meet.  I imagine a creased, vintage, hand-colored, black-and-white publicity still, tattered and torn but chock-full of the jazz-age glamor of the time, complete with an expression and style for the fictional Shug to boldly reflect her complicated nature and conflicting personality traits.  This is my attempt to represent the indomitable Shug Avery in all her glory of confidence, pride, beauty, strength, sexuality, temper, humor, intelligence, irreverence, compassion, and loving selfishness.....

--Painted in acrylics on an 8 x 10 Paper Canvas-Panel I constructed myself, with built-up overlapping layers of paper for a highly textured and dimensional effect.... 

Detail Image


Detail Image for art 'The Salt in Sugar....'

In an reclaimed vintage frame I recently salvaged.....

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