Drawing Wilmore: Artist’s sketches reflect life in her hometown

Published 7:12 pm Thursday, April 1, 2021

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And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

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– T.S. Eliot


The Jessamine Journal

After living overseas for 15 years and teaching art to students from Kenya to Korea, Libby Beaty recently returned to Wilmore with her husband David and their three children, and has been rediscovering her own small corner of the world by drawing it.

She is creating a pencil sketch each day for 2021. On her Facebook and Instagram web pages, she says: “My goal is to document familiar and sometimes unfamiliar sights around our little town of Wilmore.”

In a recent interview, Beaty said she has been at home most of this year with her children while they have done distance learning, and since she wasn’t in her usual classroom environment, she needed a creative outlet during the coronavirus pandemic and a time of transition for the family.

“It’s almost a form of therapy, honestly, and it’s rediscovering and embracing my new home,” she said, meaning her old home.

Beaty moved to Wilmore with her family when she was 16 and was a student at Jessamine County High School. After graduating from Asbury College, she and David journeyed around the world for nearly 20 years — the last 15 consecutively — and taught in Kenya, Qatar, India, Norway and South Korea. His area is information technology and computer science. Hers is visual art.

“I feel like I kind of see things with fresh eyes,” she said of her return home to a town that hasn’t grown or changed a great deal while she has been gone.

Her most recent drawing on Instagram and Facebook is of a magnolia tree in bloom. During the ice storm last winter, she drew bare trees coated in ice and a sketch of her daughter all bundled up in outdoor winter garb and holding an old wood-and-metal sled that has been in her father-in-law Peter Beaty’s family for generations. There are also street scape pictures of familiar sights around town such as historical Scott Station Inn near the railroad tracks, the arched entrance to Macklem Drive and one of the downtown boutiques with a woman window shopping. There is the iconic Wilmore water tower with the cross atop its tank, and a drawing of a carving on a wooden door of the World Gospel Mission Center of a scene in a tropical country.

She has gotten to know people through her art. For example, there’s a sketch of a girl with her pet pot-bellied pig.

“A person started following me on social media here in Wilmore who said, ‘I have a pet pig if you want to draw it’ and that sounded awesome to me.”

That’s one of the goals of her project, too, is to meet people and connect people through her work.

“I’m just passionate about art, and I want to create community around art and have something positive to focus on and celebrate,” she said. “It has been fun — just the conversations around some of the images.”

She said all of the drawings are done with pencil, and not even colored or shaded pencils.

“I’m just going to try to keep this simple,” she said.

Besides displaying her art on social media, she is working on making prints available online, and maybe cards as well. And she would like to do a book of her drawings of Wilmore.

“It’s been interesting to like, bring a moment of joy during difficult times for a lot of people, I think. And I’ve had people communicate that to me too, which I really appreciate,” Beaty said. “Art can be so powerful, and I’ve seen that through this project.”

You can follow Beaty’s Wilmore art project at:

Instagram: @drawing_wilmore Facebook: @drawingwilmore

About Randy Patrick

Randy Patrick is a reporter for Bluegrass Newsmedia, which includes The Jessamine Journal. He may be reached at 859-759-0015 or by email at randy.patrick@bluegrassnewsmedia.com.

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