Whyte is beloved for her sympathetic portrayals of the working South, and her images of the African-American Gullah women of Johns Island, South Carolina.
She captures her subjects in everyday actions, sweeping the floor, sewing on buttons, or putting on shoes. "All my life I've been interested in the in-between moments," she said. As she laid on wet washes of color before an audience with most of the 700 attendees, she described how she tries to "hold onto the biggest brush you can for as long as you can."
Taking a break from painting her longtime model Tesha Marshland, she described her process for creating her compositions, and she showed sketches done from her imagination in advance of shooting reference. She said she uses photos "for information, not for direction."
"After I have an idea for a painting," she explained, "it's important to think how can I say more? Sometimes that means taking things out of a painting."