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Minnie Evans, Visionary Artist
(Houghton Mifflin, 1996 ISBN:0-395-72032-X)
Illustration on jacket: "Design Made at Airlie Garden," by Minnie Evans, National Museum of American Art.
Minnie Evans was forty-three years old when she began to draw pictures based on the strange dreams that had haunted her all her life: giant birds, biblical figures, intricate flowers, mysterious faces, and other fantastic images. And once she began to draw, nothing stopped her--not poverty, or the claim by her family and friends that she was "crazy," or her lack of training as an artist.
Painting Dreams is the story of Minnie Evans, from her childhood to her eventual success as an artist who pursued her vision despite the restrictions placed on her as an African-American woman.
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READ ABOUT MINNIE'S DREAMS
"The Lost Indian" by Minnie Evans, Courtesy of Richard Edson and the Folk Art Gallery
Minnie Evans once said her dreams "tormented" her. She dreamed of intricate
flowers, mythical creatures, giant birds, and mysterious faces. She also dreamed
of people from other cultures--the Chinese, the "lost tribes of Israel," and
Native Americans. According to Minnie, the light in "Lost Indian" is a signal to
help the Indian find his way.
PAINT ONE OF YOUR DREAMS
Detail from crayon drawing of veiled women by Minnie Evans, photograph ©1961 by Nina Howell Starr.
Choose a material: Minnie painted on paper bags, discarded stationery, poster board, or canvas.
Start with a sketch: First she sketched an outline of her dream in pencil.
Add color: Next she applied rainbow colors with crayons, watercolors, or oil paint.
Final step: Sometimes Minnie sketched an entire picture, erased it, then spent days drawing the same image again. "I keep putting down something till after a while something says, 'That's right, Minnie, that's right. All right.'"
(From PAINTING DREAMS: MINNIE EVANS, VISIONARY ARTIST, p. 25.)