Retired teacher recognized for various artwork

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 3, 2007

BURLINGTON — She picks a flower, not to decorate her home but to study for a drawing. Nature and photographs are her subject matter.

From delicate floral watercolors to intricate pen and ink drawings, Claudia Bryant has created more than 150 paintings.

Art surrounds her in her home, not only hers but friends’ and family’s artwork.

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Although she has taken many art classes and workshops in the past 10 years since she started painting, Bryant also teaches herself by studying and experimentation.

“As a sample, I was going to teach myself how to do raindrops on petals,” she said as she shows the results of her creation, irises with raindrops.

Traveling to North Carolina and Florida to take art workshops, Bryant has studied the fine techniques of several mediums including colored pencils.

One creation was with a special watercolor paper.

“You splash water on it, take a two-inch brush, splash color on it and as it begins to run — when you see something, you start using your brush to shape it,” Bryant said.

She is a member of the Ironton Art Association. After her husband died, she began going to the Lawrence County Senior Citizen Center in Sybene.

“They were so good to me, I painted a watercolor of their building and gave it to them,” Bryant said. “I just wanted to do something for them.”

The painting is hanging in the entrance hall at the center.

Bryant is a retired school teacher and school administrator from the Cabell County, W.Va., school system.

“When I decided to retire in August, my husband died four weeks later,” she said. “I’d already signed up for retirement, so I retired.”

The principal started calling her and she signed up to do substitute work in the elementary school. She taught another four years when Marshall University called her to be an adjunct professor to teach in the education department. She taught at Marshall for another five years.

“While I was there, I was in classes in acrylic,” Bryant said. “My teacher kept saying ‘Why don’t you try watercolor?’ and I kept saying, ‘It’s too hard, it’s too hard.’”

He kept encouraging her to take watercolor and finally, she began taking the classes.

“Now, I love it — it’s my favorite,” she said.

She has numerous ribbons and awards from various art shows in the Tri-State.

Bryant’s son and sister send her pictures to paint. One painting is of an eagle taken from a photograph her son-in-law sent her.

“My son-in-law climbed Grandfather’s Mountain in Boone, North Carolina, to take that,” Bryant said.

She took classes at Cabell County Vo-Tech School and at Ohio University Southern. Bryant paints with her friends who critique her work.

“They help me,” she said. “Anything they say, I change.”