We the People

The 50 paintings

The Touring Exhibition

Having begun in Charleston, South Carolina WE THE PEOPLE will tour nationally to several museums including the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, the Huntsville Museum of Art and the National Museum of the Marine Corps, near Washington DC. At each location, the Patriot Art Foundation will serve local veterans through special tours of the exhibition as well as offer classes geared toward self-expression and creativity.

Be sure to see We the People while it is at the National Museum of the Marine Corps,
November 1, 2021 - July 24, 2022.  


In 2010, Mary Whyte set out on a mission to paint fifty watercolor portraits of what it means to be an American veteran today. The project was over seven years in the making, taking the artist across the entire United States, to meet and paint some of our country's truest patriots. Featuring current day veterans of all ages, all walks of life and from every state, Whyte's WE THE PEOPLE will be a national treasure that will honor and connect with our men and women in uniform for generations to come.

Photo: Jack Alterman

The 50 State Journey

To get to the veterans in all fifty states Whyte traveled by airplane, car, taxi, Uber, cruise ship, speedboat, ferry, truck, bus, all-terrain vehicle and “one very very slow golf cart”. In her studio, Whyte kept a map of the nation coloring in each state in yellow as it was visited, and later in red when the painting was completed. “It has been the greatest adventure of my life,” says Whyte. “I got to see the entire country, as well as meet and paint some extraordinary Americans. I was always impressed with our veterans.”

The Models

For the series of fifty watercolors, Whyte chose a variety of veterans that would represent our nation's diversity. Depictions of current-day veterans including the Missouri dairy farmer, Rhode Island lobsterman, Pennsylvania science teacher, California homeless man, and forty-six other moving works will be showcased together - culminating in a timeless and heartening portrait of and for the American people.

A few words from 
George Patton “Pat” Waters
US Navy, Retired
Grandson of General George S. Patton




WE THE PEOPLE: Portraits of Veterans in America by Mary Whyte
Published by University of South Carolina Press
136 pages, 67 color and 50 b&w illustrations
Hardcover $49.99  Paperback $34.99   Ebook $34.99



We the people—these words embody the ethos of what it means to be an American citizen. As individuals, we are a tapestry of colors and creeds; united we are a nation committed to preserving our hard-earned freedom. In this heart-stirring collection of watercolor portraits of military veterans—one from each of the fifty states—artist Mary Whyte captures this ethos as well as the dedication, responsibility, and courage it takes to fulfill that promise.

Those who raise their hands to serve may join for different reasons, but all—along with their families—make the extraordinary commitment to place the needs of the country before their own. Whyte gives us the opportunity to meet and to see some of them—to really see them. Whyte’s portrait of America includes individuals from many walks of life, some still active duty, and from every branch: women and men, old and young, and from a wide swath of ethnicities, befitting our glorious melting pot. From a mayor to an astronaut, from a teacher to a garbage collector, from a business entrepreneur to someone who is homeless, Whyte renders their unique and exceptional lives with great care and gentle brush strokes.

We the People is not only a tour across and through these vast United States, it is a tour through the heart and soul, the duty and the commitment of the people who protect not only our Constitution and our country but our very lives. We can only be deeply grateful, inspired, and humbled by all of them.

Mary Whyte is an artist and author whose watercolor paintings have earned international recognition. Her works have been exhibited nationally as well as in China and have been featured in numerous publications stateside and in France, Germany, Russia, Canada, China, the United Kingdom, and Taiwan. Whyte is the author of two books published by the University of South Carolina Press—Working South: Paintings and Sketches by Mary Whyte and Down Bohicket Road: An Artist's Journey. She is also the author of Alfreda's World, Painting Portraits and Figures in Watercolor, An Artist's Way of Seeing, and Watercolor for the Serious Beginner. Whyte is the recipient of the Portrait Society of America’s Gold Medal and the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award, South Carolina’s highest honor in the arts.


“Mary Whyte’s We the People is a moving and important tribute to our nation’s greatest patriots—the men and women who served our country with courage, selflessness, and honor.” Major General James E. Livingston, Medal Of Honor Recipient


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