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Jessamine Shumate worked within a number of different styles and media during her career. Some of her techniques involve oil and the use of a blowtorch.
She uses her serigraphs and silk screens as part of her collage work. Shumate also makes photographic prints of her original work. She also completed a number of abstract art works, using cubism, orientalism and found object art. However, during her time, she lived in artistic isolation.
In southwestern Virginia, there were few other professional artists, and fewer people to discuss and exchange artistic ideas with. Those artists in the southwestern Virginia area during the s and s, were frequently very conservative in their tastes. They often concentrated only on traditional southern art paintings, such as family portraits, landscapes, or simply decorating utensils.
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Few other people in the region had the scope and range of Jessamine Shumate's efforts, and she received much local criticism and disapproval for some of her modern art projects and accomplishments. She was also a founder of what is now called the Piedmont Arts Association in Martinsville, Virginia.
A still controversial series of art works was done showing the Broad Street Christian Church in Martinsville, Virginia  of which she was a member.
Margaret Hadden said: "Her church, Broad Street Christian Church, in Martinsville, was very important to her and she taught the kindergarten class in Sunday school for many years. In another two pastels, she shows the light of the stained glass windows filling the inside of the sanctuary and coming forth out from the church, and illuminating the area around the church, passing through the brick walls.
Another two works were done in watercolor painting of the Philpott Dam in Henry County.
These were done during the construction phase of the dam, and both paintings show the temporary cement factory that was constructed to make the cement locally, and then taken down and removed after the dam was constructed.
Her paintings are the only representations from this period, since most other photographic work concentrated on the construction of the dam itself, and not in the engineering aspects of the construction site.
These paintings have recently been given to the Philpott Dam. Shumate was a native of Henry County who painted the construction during the s.
Sharing the paintings with the public is a fitting tribute to her work and a good way for people to get a sense of what went into creating the dam. Some of these paintings show a cubist style of the gym and other buildings, showing images of the past and present brought together, so older buildings appear to overlap newer construction.
Other paintings are pastels showing scenes of student housing and life in Greensboro, North Carolina from the late s.
Jessamine Shumate was also famous for some of her unusual works. One of the most interesting was a burned cookie sheet. Jessamine Shumate For me this is actually one of the most delightful items in the show.
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No one would guess that her bright, "Pebbly Abstract No. Jim Yeatts, gallery owner, tells us that the artist left the cookie tin in the oven too long one day and tried desperately to get it clean.
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When it didn't begin to shine properly, she decided to paint it and frame it. It may also be some sort of inspiration to other kitchen artists, who prefer paint brushes to scouring pads. Jessamine Shumate had taken something that was "found" and made it into another, more artistic, representation.
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Jessamine Shumate was born to a tradesman and general store owner in Horsepasture, Virginia , Nathan Mortimer White and Ada Bassett White, who was an elementary school truant officer. Her father was quite the country scientist and shade tree inventor, and she said of him in her autobiography, "Another memory is going with my father to the barn each night to feed the animals there.
In , when Halley's Comet was seen, we watched for it and he told me all about it as we walked to the barn. He was very interested in scientific happenings and nature, and I was fascinated by the sight! What a thrill to know I had lived long enough to see Halley's Comet again in This time, however, the sight was not as wonderful!
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Even the scientists were disappointed in the display of Halley's Comet's tail. The next time around, I suppose my great grandchildren will be here to see the comet. As a younger woman, she had never painted seriously, but said she had always wanted to. She had taught art at of the higher grade classes in my school. While her youngest daughter was enrolled in Lynchburg College , she decided to drive to Lynchburg every week and take some art courses there.
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She enjoyed the classes, and later she went to Women's College in Greensboro, North Carolina, now known as the University of North Carolina at Greensboro , to take more advanced art classes.
Every month during the school session, she would ride the train to New York City and stay for a week. She learned a great deal from these classes, and enjoyed her painting and experimenting with many different kinds of medium.
She married Whitney Shumate on December 13, We started dating and went together for three years before we were married.
The family teased me, because Whitney had a large car and when he came to Preston, Virginia to visit, always took me and a few members of my family for rides. When he bought a coupe, everyone said he was getting serious and wanted to leave my family at home when he took me for rides!
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It must have been true, because we were married on December 13, Hadden Mrs. William J. Hadden and Jessamine "Jeppy" White S. Her grandson, Whit Haydn , is a noted magician and entertainer. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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Shumate will have Art Exhibited. Daily Southerner of Tarboro, NC.
No page number or exact date is given. Retrieved 2 January My Memoirs. Page September 26, Jessamine Shumate. December 20, , page 3. Shumate's New Experiments. No pagination or exact date given.
Virginia Highlands Festival. Bassett, Virginia. Malcolm Donald Coe, editor. Text material copyright c , , by the Bassett Printing Corp.
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