'Art Is One of Those Talents You Can Do Forever'; Works in Her Home and in Exhibit Showcase Part-Time St. Johns Resident's Love of Painting

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Byline: ANDREA ASUAJE

Barbara Lutton's house has no empty walls, tables or counter space.

It's filled top to bottom with artwork, paintings of beautiful, struggling faces, children smiling, picturesque landscapes.

Most of the works are canvases, sculptures and knick-knacks. And almost all of the art is of Lutton's own creation.

"My main love is to paint a painting that tells a story," Lutton said.

She said she started painting as a child. As she grew older and became part of the corporate world, she continued to "dabble" in art, but she said she's been able to focus on painting since she retired in 1996.

And now, Lutton's art is on display at the St. Augustine Art Association's "Fantastic Florida" exhibit - one of several exhibitions featuring her work.

ALWAYS ARTISTIC

Lutton said she always found a way to keep painting and art in her life, especially through the support of her family and husband, with whom she traveled to Kenya in 1999.

The couple spent three years as Episcopalian missionaries in Kenya, where she substituted wood blocks for canvas; no canvas was available for her paintings.

She looks fondly at her many paintings from Kenya, where she helped to build churches and take care of children. She said she painted as much as she could during that time on anything and with anything she could get her hands on.

"It's about experience," she said of painting in Africa.

Her paintings from there capture all aspects of African life.

"It's about people and their situations," she said about her paintings. "I'm not so much into painting beautiful people. I like the ones where life is reflected in their eyes."

DIFFERENT WORKS, SAME IDEAS

She said she's worked with all types of colors and products, including pastels, oil and acrylics. She most often works with watercolors, and she's working with abstract subjects.

"You have no idea where it's going to go," she said in regard to watercolors and abstracts. "I never know what's going to happen."

She also said she's not the subtlest painter, evident through her strong use of hues.

"I'm not a subdued painter," she said. "I love color."

Inspired by flowers and landscapes, she says that structures and buildings don't really make her tick artistically. …