Teacher turned painter: Woolard captures nature’s beauty on canvas

Published 6:37 pm Friday, March 4, 2016

Kevin Scott Cutler | Daily News LOCAL TALENT: Born and raised in Washington, Kay Godfrey Woolard showcases her love of art and nature in her gallery Art on Main.

LOCAL TALENT: Born and raised in Washington, Kay Godfrey Woolard showcases her love of art and nature in her gallery Art on Market.

Kay Godfrey Woolard spent a good portion of her life as a teacher, retiring from her position as an instructor at Beaufort County Community College in 2010 with 30 years under her belt.

She then turned to a long dormant talent first discovered as a youngster.

“In fifth grade, I entered a contest to see who could draw the ugliest dragon, and I think I won,” she recalled with a smile. “I’ve dabbled in art for a long time; my favorite thing to do with my grandmother was to color in coloring books and I loved finger painting in kindergarten.”

Whiting Toler was her high school art teacher, and Woolard credited him with cultivating an interest in art.

“But I never felt I was good enough to follow that route for a career,” she said.

After a long, successful career in the classroom Woolard felt it was time to pursue a second career. A highlight was the opening of her own studio, Art on Market, in downtown Washington. The studio marks its one-year anniversary this month.

Woolard captures the beauty of the world around her.

“I’m inspired by water and nature and things that mean something to me,” she said of her art. “It’s not my goal to find a pretty picture and paint; anything I paint is because it is special to me.”

Her favorite medium is acrylics; her paintings are vibrant and rich with color and texture. Her gallery walls showcase images of crabs, seashells, lighthouses, dragonflies, landscapes and seascapes.

“It’s all an exploration, a place for me to show my works with a studio for me to work in with a downtown presence,” Woolard said of her gallery.

Along with her original paintings, Woolard has a line of note cards and inspirational bookmarks, each with a message penned by the artist herself. Prints are available, as well.

“I feel like my art is constantly evolving,” she said. “When I first started painting I wanted to make landscapes as detailed as possible, but now I’m painting out of my head a lot more.”

Woolard has found she enjoys the practical side of having her own gallery, including interaction with shoppers.

“I get the widest range of people who stop in and talk art to me, from little kids to all walks of life … just people from every background. I hope this is a place that is not intimidating at all.”

Like any good retiree, Woolard keeps her hours in the gallery flexible.

“My life is such that I’m in and out,” she said. “But if I’m not in, someone can just call me and I’ll open for them.”

For more information about Art on Market, call 252-943-1016 or email kay@kaywoolardart.com. Woolard has a website, www.kaywoolardart.com, and a Facebook page as well.