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The Art of the Family

February 08, 1996|LAURIE K. SCHENDEN

Patricia Boyd says she "didn't have a clue" that her artistic talent was being nurtured as a child when her mother, Charlene Martin, spread out paper, clay and beads over the kitchen table for the kids to play with. Boyd's sister, Sylvia Walker, remembers the white butcher paper Martin brought home for the kids to color.

The creative seeds planted in all four of Martin's children took root in a big way: Two went to art school, and the others make art as a hobby.

Boyd and Walker join their mother as exhibitors at the 14th annual Artists' Salute to Black History Month at Plaza Pasadena, which runs through Sunday. The women's talents may be cut from the same cloth, but their expression is unique. Martin, 78, paints and constructs three-dimensional portraits in fabric, wood, beads and other materials. Boyd, a physician's assistant, makes jewelry, and Walker, who says her "bread-and-butter money is illustrating children's books and doing fashion illustrations for McCall's and Simplicity," sells prints of her original images.

"There's a sense of pride connected," Walker says of the Pasadena showcase for African American artists, "but mostly, in my case, these are positive images of African American children, and it reminds people of their children or their own childhoods. A lot of the time on the news or in the media the images are so negative."

"I feel like I'm participating in a part of my own heritage," adds Boyd, who says she is also trying to share that tradition with her children and grandchildren. "It's important to include the children. . . . I'm trying to do what my mother did."

The Artists' Salute to Black History Month is open during mall hours at Plaza Pasadena, Colorado and Los Robles boulevards. Storytelling, talks with artists and seniors' and children's crafts are planned. Call for schedule. Free. (213) 939-0250.

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