Laura Burdette always wanted to be an artist, and her childhood dream has come true.
The youngest of five girls, she grew up in Keyrock, near Pineville.
“Two of my sisters (Paula and Susie) and I would sit at the dining room table for hours, drawing and painting,” she recalled.
“One year we painted homemade calendars for Christmas gifts for family.
“Some of my fondest memories are doing art with my sisters.
“I've always enjoyed drawing and painting, as far back as I can remember,” Burdette said.
“When I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said, 'An artist.'
“God heard my prayers and opened up opportunities for my art career.”
Burdette attended Concord College (now Concord University) for two years, majoring in commercial art.
“I learned a lot in those years,” she said. “One thing I learned was that commercial art wasn't where I needed to be. I know now that studio art fits better for me.”
For 28 years, Burdette worked as a waitress.
“During that time, I was given the opportunity to give out my business cards and sell to customers. This established my studio business before I retired from waiting tables,” she explained.
“I taught art classes at the Harmony School of Music, in Beaver.
“When I moved back to Pineville in 2014, a mini-grant from the West Virginia Hub paid for all the supplies and equipment needed to start teaching art classes in Wyoming County and doing paint parties.
“I give all praise to my God for His blessings. For allowing me to paint and providing opportunities so abundantly over the years.
“Now, I work as a teacher's aide for Wyoming County Schools, and still maintain my studio business.”
The biggest inspiration for her paintings is life.
“Mainly God's creation, as I am in total awe at the intricate details of nature's beauty.
“Some of my best ideas come from customers who want to give loved ones a meaningful gift – homeplaces, pet portraits, and many other types of paintings.
“I love being a part of their gift-giving! After Christmas, I enjoy customers calling, or sending me pictures of their family or friends opening something made just for them,” she said.
Her biggest influences have been her parents, David and Mary Brooks, and her sisters – Linda, Kati, Susie, and Paula.
“Their unconditional love for God and family has strengthened my walk through this journey of life,” Burdette emphasized.
“My dad was quite the poet,” she said.
“He wrote many songs and poems over the years. He taught us to appreciate poetry and creative writing.
“While I was quarantined recently, I became inspired to write a little, and now I find myself composing little ditties in my head.”
One of Burdette's writing creations during her isolation is “Ode To A Quarantine”:
I'm down to seven cans of bean,
But still I have to quarantine.
A salad would be mighty fine,
And ice cream would be most divine.
But try and trying as I may,
I'm tired of counting down the days!
In addition to painting, Burdette enjoys spending her leisure time outdoors, hiking, swimming and working.
“Oh, and catching critters with my grandson Donovan.
“Generally speaking, I paint almost every day. It's great therapy,” she said.
She also enjoys “fellowship with my church family at Guyandotte Baptist Church...”
She is most proud of her family – her son and grandson, and her daughter-in-law.
“My son writes and plays piano. He has that creative gene, and it seems that my grandson does too,” she said. “My grandson is the most compassionate child I have ever met.”
For more information about Burdette's work or to book a paint party, she has a Facebook page, Laura Burdette's Studio, or phone her at 304-575-3817.