Former Hampton resident Barbara Brumit Crockett will be displaying her art at the Covered Bridge Celebration this weekend. It will be the first Tennessee show for Crockett, who has lived in Wake County, N.C., for the past 25 years. She will be one of many vendors, who will have their arts and crafts set up in the Covered Bridge Park, beginning today.
Crockett began painting after her retirement from the Wake County Public School System, resulting in a new career she did not expect.
Crockett, who graduated from Hampton High School and attended East Tennessee State University, taught at University High in Johnson City before moving to Wake County, N.C., where she was an educator for 20 years. She spent the last 12 years of her career as an elementary school principal.
Crockett, who said she enjoyed working, was forced to retire early after being diagnosed with breast cancer six years ago. “I was miserable. I didn’t like being retired. However, I found there is life after retirement, you just have to seek it out. You never know what God has in store for you,” Crockett said.
She discovered art via way of her artist son, Billy Malone, who is an artist in New York. “While recuperating from breast cancer, he during a visit home suggested I take a watercolor class, and I decided to do it,” Crockett said. She took classes at Cheap Joe’s in Boone, N.C., and from there she was on her way to not only being an artist, but a successful one.
“It turned into something I didn’t expect,” said Crockett, who now has her own gallery and paints every day. “I’m really having fun. I can’t wait to start painting every day. I usually spend eight hours a day in my studio,” she shared, noting that it has paid off.
Crockett said that initially she began attending craft shows, selling purses and jewelry. Her husband suggested she try selling some of her paintings. “My first show I took 25 paintings and sold 17 the first day. The next day I sold the rest,” she said. Now, she does numerous shows a year, and most recently one of her paintings sold for $1,000.
Crockett is best known for her vibrant colors, Wake Forest landmarks, and her beautiful winter landscapes. She enjoys doing rustic “mountain” pictures of barns and houses as well as floral pieces.
Crockett admits that she often has a difficult time parting with some of her paintings, but is glad to share them with friends.
Although her favorite medium is watercolors, she does do some oil painting.
Brumit not only speaks with pride of her art work and teaching career, but of her husband, four children and five grandchildren. “They all have successful careers and have been most supportive of me,” she said.
“I recall when Billy was about four, I had taken a watercolor class from Edna Townsend, who had a home in Roan Mountain and did a lot of Roan Mountain paintings. I had begun a painting and had it on an easel. He came into the room, took one look at the painting, and said, ‘Mom, your perspective is off.’ I put the painting away and never painted again until after my retirement,” Crockett said.
“Painting has brought a lot of joy to me,” Crockett said this week as she prepared to travel over the mountains for her first show in her former hometown. “I’m looking forward to it and hope to see a lot of friends and people I grew up with,” she shared.