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Austintown woman pursuing her lifelong interest

July 17, 2013
By J.T. Whitehouse , Town Crier

For most of her life, Joann Claycomb of Austintown, has wanted to paint. She never had time to get serious while raising her family, but now she is taking time to go after her dream.

"Now it's time for me to do what I want to do," she said.

Up to now, Claycomb has been busy raising her own family and watching her grandchildren grow. She said her husband, Barry, has always held fast to the old school belief that one parent should stay home with the kids while the other works to bring home the money. The couple stayed with that philosophy by raising their own children and helping with the grandchildren. The couple will soon become great grandparents and today, Claycomb has the time to go after her passion.

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Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Joann Claycomb of Austintown, is pursuing something she has always wanted to do — paint. She is one of dozens of amateur artists enrolled in the classes at the Austintown Senior Center.

In February, she got a membership at the Austintown Senior Center and enrolled in Sue Jacobs' art class. At first, it was a little tougher than expected.

"At first I didn't understand the concepts," she said. "Sue takes her time with us and is very patient."

She said her first piece wasn't what she wanted. In fact, she said she was frustrated with the way it was turning out and she never finished it. Not one to give up, Claycomb attended more classes and her work has improved. Since that first one she said was a flop, she has finished three paintings that were to her liking.

A lot of what Claycomb creates involves mountain scenes. She said Barry had purchased a camper so they could drive into the mountains of Pennsylvania and enjoy the serenity of the mountain woodlands.

"I love the mountains and I want to start painting them," she said. "Someday I am hoping to work on paintings while camping in the mountains, but I am not there yet."

She doesn't miss a class at the Senior Center and even said if it were offered every day she would be at every session.

Jacobs said Claycomb is typical of the students in her art classes at the center. Many have wanted to paint all their life, but the time isn't there until they reach their retirement years. She said if Claycomb stays with it, she could someday be a featured artist.

"In September, and twice in October, we are going to feature the work of some of our more accomplished artists," Jacobs said. "We will have a wall at the center to showcase a different artist's work on a regular basis. Each display will include a bio on the artist."

While Claycomb may have a few more sessions to reach that level, she said her ambition will help keep her on a road of constant improvement. She said that her confidence has grown so much over the past few months that she intends to bring that first piece back to the center and finish it.

Besides pursuing her childhood dream and being able to capture the splendor of the mountains, Claycomb said painting has one other welcomed side product.

"It is very relaxing and soothing," she said.



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