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Honeywood, Varnette, (Saint Saphire)



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"Saint Saphire" by Varnette Honeywood

32"W x 40"H handcolored, handmade drawn handpulled stone lithograph, the dress is hand embossed with corrie shells --framed


Varnette P. Honeywood- Well-known as an artist and illustrator, Honeywood is highly regarded for her use of color and light, patterns and textures. Her work—primarily paintings, collages, and prints—has received wide exposure in galleries and individual and group shows, as well as in books and on television. Honeywood is famous for her upbeat depictions of black family life. Carrying on the tradition of genre painting, a black artistic movement that followed in the wake of the Harlem Renaissance, her work portrays blacks in a range of settings, going about various activities, always stressing the colorful and creative aspects of African-American culture. Her work tells stories and communicates ideas and thoughts. Much of Honeywood's art concerns the history of black Americans, their sufferings and triumphs, and celebrates the strength and leadership of black women. Honeywood told Contemporary Black Biography (CBB) that her art is sometimes described as "figurative abstraction."

At Spelman College, a historically black women's college in Atlanta, Georgia, Honeywood planned to major in history and become a teacher; however, under the influence of her drawing teacher Joe Ross and the community of students and artists at Spelman, Honeywood switched her major to art. She began to develop her use of brilliant colors and complex designs. Kofi Bailey, a figurative artist whose work was infused with social consciousness, was her major influence at Spelman. Honeywood's participation in the Civil Rights Movement and other protests led her to realize the importance of the visual arts in the struggle for human rights.

Her paintings appeared on television on the Cosby Show spin-off A Different World, as well as on the TV series Amen. Honeywood’s art also has appeared on various trade-book jackets, including all of Tina McElroy’s books as well as in textbooks, on film, and other media. She illustrated Mari Evan’s book on teenage pregnancy, released in 2005. Her work is included in numerous collections throughout the United States and Africa. In 2002, the USC Black Alumni Association and the USC libraries paid tribute to Honeywood with an art exhibition in honor of Black History Month. “Trojans of Ebony Hue: Varnette P. Honeywood, Portrait of a Cultural Artist” was a two-month long exhibition of her artwork, books, photos, quilting, ceramic works, and memorabilia.