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Volume 26, Number 4 — April 2019

Deciding Moment: Bout With Cancer Makes Woman Realizes Art is Her Passion


*** This story was published Sept. 26, 2008 in the Bristol Herald Courier. ***

MENDOTA, Va. ? For Donna C. Kaylor, a bout with breast cancer a few years ago inspired her to have a renewed interest in painting.

"I was one of the lucky people," Kaylor said. "It was a lot less serious than most of them are ... but it was one of those things that changes your life."

The cancer inspired Kaylor to paint a few pieces for Relay for Life, a fundraising effort to fight cancer.
Along the way, she re-evaluated her goals.

"It kind of made me sit back and say, 'Hey, what do I want to do with my life?'" Kaylor said. "And painting was one of those things, so I thought, 'Hey, I want to do more of it.'"


At 63, Kaylor has had a longtime interest in the arts. "I've always loved to paint," said Kaylor, who grew up at Towson, Md., and came to Bristol in 1963 as a student at Virginia Intermont College. Initially, she also wanted to study at the Maryland Institute of Art. But plans changed when she met her husband, Bill Kaylor.

Today, after years of living in Maryland, the Kaylors reside about halfway between Mendota and Hiltons, near the Washington-Scott county line, along the North Fork of the Holston River.

As an artist, Kaylor specializes in acrylics, watercolors and pencil sketches. She paints lots of buildings, clouds and landscapes. "I like to do barns. And I love gristmills," Kaylor said. "I think they're fascinating."


Over the years, Kaylor has painted depictions of places like White's Mill near Abingdon and Mabry Mill at Meadows of Dan.
She has also painted Scott County's musical landmarks, including the A.P. Carter Cabin, the Carter Fold and A.P. Carter General Store.

"I do my own framing and matting," Kaylor said. "My husband and I hunt around flea markets for frames."

Over the next month, Kaylor is showing off her paintings as part of the Wednesday Morning Painters Exhibit, held at the Arts Depot in Abingdon. The exhibition celebrates a group of artists who meet each Wednesday and simply have fun painting.
"It's great," Kaylor said. "And we're always looking for more people. We just get together and have a good time."

What: Donna C. Kaylor is one of several featured artists in the Wednesday Morning Painters Exhibit
Where: Arts Depot, 314 Depot Square, Abingdon
Details: The exhibit features several local painters
When: Sept. 25 to Nov. 8, 2008.
Info: (276) 628-9091

A! ExtraTopics: Art