Kitty Waybright

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Kitty Waybright

Kitty Waybright was born in Akron, Ohio. Her art training did not begin until the middle of a life filled with raising a family. In 1972, she started taking classes in watercolor at the Cuyahoga Valley Arts Center. Interestingly at the same time, she began learning to transcribe documents for the blind into braille, even teaching classes during several years she worked as a braillist. Since the time that she started painting, Kitty has also honed her skills through many workshops including those of Glen Bradshaw, Marc Moon, Don Andrews, Fred Graff, John Salminen and others.

Kitty joined the OWS in 1978, and it was not too long until she was regularly exhibiting in the annual exhibition. She has received several awards including the 1992 OWS Silver Medal for her painting
Old Shay #5. In addition, she soon took the role of the Society’s historian, a position she held until 2016.

The historian keeps tabs on the Ohio Watercolor Society through collecting information relating to the OWS and its members. Kitty kept a notebook every year with board minutes, newsletters, prospectuses, catalogs, membership directories, as well as newspaper articles, exhibition lists and opening announcements, and workshop flyers. Kitty says that the best thing about being historian is keeping up on what's happening and meeting a lot of good people.

Kitty is not only a member of the OWS, but also a signature member of the National Watercolor Society, Pennsylvania Watercolor Society, Whiskey Painters of America—a group started in the 1950s in Akron—and the American Watercolor Society (AWS). Kitty was first accepted into the annual AWS exhibition in 1991, when she received the Paul Remmey Memorial Award. It wasn’t until 2002 that she was next accepted, and she won the Elizabeth Callan Award for a floral still life,
Stop and Smell the Roses. She achieved signature status in 2003 as well as the Louis Kaep Award for her painting Old Shay Drivers.

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Old Shay #5

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Old Shay Drivers

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Shay #2

Working primarily in transparent watercolor, Kitty’s paintings are influenced by the play of light and shadow on any subject. She believes that in life we have to find the light in the shadows. Moreover, she feels that exploring watercolor is a continual education of the senses; emotionally, imaginatively as well as visually.

Kitty’s childhood experience in hearing about and seeing shay engines influenced her choice of subject matter, and these engines have been the subjects of numerous paintings including many award winners. Her mother’s family lived near a railroad and she loved seeing the old shays, which were built in Lima, Ohio for the logging industry. They were gear-driven engines that could manipulate rough tracks, turn easily and support heavy carloads of lumber. Each engine had a different design and the numbering of Kitty’s paintings correspond to the various engine models.

Kitty lives in Cuyahoga Falls. Her late husband Stanley also painted in watercolors; she has three grown children, two of whom live in Ohio and one in Delaware.