| "Bowl of Zinnias"
Clementine Hunter's First Oil Painting
Paintings of Clementine Hunter - Part 2
Rand's Association With Alberta Kinsey, Cammie Henry,
Francois Mignon, Clementine Hunter, and Melrose Plantation
The noted Louisiana artist, Alberta Kinsey, and Blythe White
Rand, Whitfield Jack, Jr.'s grandmother, were long-time friends
who shared an ardent love of flowers -- one as a painter, the
other as a gardener. They often spent time at Melrose, as documented
below by numerous passages in Francois Mignon's book, 'Plantation
Memo'. It was on one of these mutual visits that a unique set
of circumstances arose which would set the stage for the painting
of Clementine Hunter's historic first work.
Autographed copy of "Plantation Memo"
given to Mr. Jack
Francis Mignon's autograph on the
Classic photo of
taken in 1955
|References to Blythe Rand and Alberta Kinsey
in Francois Mignon's "Plantation Memo":
|"Painters of distinction took their favorite
vantage for their compositions, painters such as Alberta Kinsey...who
came to Melrose to paint magnolias...like nobody before or since...And
then here were the creators of floral wonders and masters of
that art: Caroline Dormon, Blythe White Rand...and many others
in their botanical hierarchy." Page 3.
|(In describing an old cloth-covered punkah --
a rope-operated swinging panel that acted as sort of a ceiling
fan...) "A decade or so ago, when its calico material had
been shredded by its battles with the breezes, Blythe White Rand
of Alexandria, a skilled innovator at restoration, stretched
heavy Lowells across the open spaces...and the old punkah was
adequately refurbished for another century of service."
|"Then, too, although well along in years
when she (Clementine) first undertook expressing herself on canvas,
she had the good fortune to come into contact with people who
recognized her unique talent, people like James Register, Carolyn
Ramsey, Ora Williams, Helen Baldwin, Eleanor Worsley, Blythe
Rand, and many others, all of whom in their several ways gave
confidence to the artist." Page 128.
|"To the west of the big house, she (Mrs.
Cammie) next focused her attention on developing a garden of
native Louisiana iris. Spurred on by the enthusiasm and often
in the company of such friends as Caroline Dormon of Briarwood,
Blythe White Rand of Alexandria,...and others, she would invade
the flowering bogs of South Louisiana, collecting specimens of
rare beauty...to such a point that Melrose Plantation iris gardens
became celebrated in horticultural circles across the country."
|"...then came this past season when broken
legs emerged as the order of the day. There was Blythe White
Rand of Alexandria, with a leg break...followed by Caroline Dormon..with
a smashed kneecap...and...Sara Jones with a broken hip. I must
confess that these three pieces of bad news about devoted friends
impelled me to rush to my typewriter to dissuade an 81 year old
grandmother from going ahead with her intention to take up figure
skating and revert to tatting instead." Page 277.
|Go to The
Secret Paintings of Clementine Hunter - Part 3
In Part 3
Whitfield Jack, Jr. describes the get-together in which a copper
pitcher, a bunch of zinnias, and a handful of partially-used
tubes of oil paint began the career of a remarkable artist. Present
were Clementine Hunter,
Alberta Kinsey, and Blythe White Rand
Vignettes of Melrose by Whitfield Jack, Jr.
to read in sequence
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