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Volume 26, Number 4 — April 2019

Claudia Rutherford's Art wins "People's Choice"

The award-winning watercolor
The award-winning watercolor "Feline Perspective" by Claudia Rutherford. (Photo credit: Bob Cassell)

December 14, 2010

ABINGDON, VA — A large crowd gathered at the Arts Depot during the recent Depot Artists Association's Twenty-First Annual Members Show Holiday Open House. Approximately 100 people gathered to view 129 pieces of 71 of the region's talented artists' work displayed in the gallery and enjoyed David Collins, as he filled the gallery with song.

Everyone who viewed the exhibit during the early part of the show was encouraged to vote for their favorite piece of artwork to receive the 12th annual Arts Depot People's Choice Award. This award is presented to the artist whose piece of artwork was selected by those who cast their vote from the show's opening through the week after the Holiday Open House.

Bristol, Va.'s, Claudia Rutherford is the recipient this year's award. Her winning artwork is a watercolor painting entitled "Feline Perspective" that she completed in the fall of this year. This painting features a very alert cat named "Oliver" lounging in a porch swing. Oliver is a cat rescued from the animal shelter and now enjoys being a barn cat. He loves to get in the porch swing and let the dogs push the swing with their noses. From his expression, he really enjoys this pastime. This painting, and the others on display, may be seen until the exhibit closes on December 30.

Rutherford discovered art at age six, drawing animals on discarded paper bags from her great uncle's grocery store. Fulfilling her dream of receiving art instruction, she majored in art at Northern Illinois University in the early 1970s. She paid her tuition and fees by selling her art, mostly commissioned oil portraits.

Setting aside her art to raise her four daughters, she pursued a career as an advocate for abused children. She returned to her art in 2007 when she retired and moved to a small farm northwest of Bristol, Va with her husband. Since that time Rutherford has participated in several workshops presented by Harry Thompson & Jean Corbett and works exclusively in watercolor.

In 2008, she received the People's Choice Award in the Watauga Valley Art League Christmas show, placed third in the Newell-Hendershot Never Too Late exhibition and held the office of president elect for the Watauga Valley Art League in Johnson City, TN.

In 2009 she was awarded the Best of Show and second place award in the Newell-Hendershot Never Too Late show and has received two Honorable Mentions in the juried Virginia Highlands Festival show in Abingdon, Va.

This year, Rutherford received the second place award in the "Roots and Sprouts Art Show" in Bristol, Va. She has been teaching beginning and intermediate watercolor classes at the Abingdon Arts Depot since 2009. The majority of her paintings in the show depict her love of Virginia people and animals. She attempts to capture their personalities and tell their stories through her meticulous realistic style. Radiant, high contrasts infuses her work with emotions such as joy, sorrow and reflection. She strives to elicit the same emotions from the viewer.

The Depot Artists Association is a non-profit volunteer organization that operates the Arts Depot and is dedicated to promoting the arts in the community and features the region's artists. The Arts Depot is located in the historic Depot Square area of downtown Abingdon, Va. The gallery and artists studios are open for viewing Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 11a.m. to 3 p.m., or by appointment. There is no admission charge. For further information, contact the Arts Depot at (276) 628-9091, or e-mail, or visit their web site at

The association is supported in part by grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

A! ExtraTopics: Achievements, Art