Artist Misty Walkup finds inspiration everywhere on Orient Hill.

It’s a rural mountain community in Greenbrier County, and home to lots of wildlife.

That’s perfect because she specializes in animal portraits, critters ranging from wolves to chipmunks.

Nature is her inspiration, and she’s only steps away from the animals she paints.

Black bears are a favorite.

They are regular visitors to her backyard, but that’s only the beginning.

She enjoys looking at her husband’s woodland cameras, and uses the images as she paints.

“Sometimes it is hard to think about letting a painting go, but then again I want others to get the same kind of enjoyment I do out of nature,” she said.

Her kitchen is the studio for her business, Laurel Creek Mountain Art.

It’s where she has painted pieces that have gone across the country as well as around the world after being purchased on Ebay.

Customers have come from every state in the nation, while others reside in Canada, New Zealand, China and Greece.

Painting at home is the best of all worlds because she can create while staying close to her family.

Her preferred mediums are acrylic, oil and color pencil.

She also does pet portraits, custom painting and wood relief carvings.

Since giving back is important, she frequently provides pieces of art for nonprofit organizations.

She frequently donates her work to charitable projects, including a large mural done in the Crichton Elementary School cafeteria.

Now part of the block walls resemble a village, and soon the other side will be transformed into a forest setting.

All in all, it’s a labor of love even after 20 years.

And just about any surface can serve as a canvass, including rocks.

Part of her satisfaction comes from small details she’s added to a piece.

A raven painting has a special name and meaning.

“It’s called ‘A Conspiracy’ because that’s what a group of ravens is called. And if you look closely in this painting’s background, you’ll see several others ravens.”

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