Baylor instructor wields paintbrush, pens alike

Altarpiece 1113 Final FTW
Journalism senior lecturer Carol Perry’s painting “Byzantine Altarpiece” (above) embodies a technique called iconography, which involves painting subjects and symbols that traditionally accompany the icons. This art form often focuses on Christian figures like saints and Christ.
Courtesy Photo

By Madison Miller

Even before teaching at Baylor, Carol Perry always had a knack for painting.

“It’s a blessing to paint,” Perry said. “It is hard to explain, but it is a cousin to great music, spectacular clouds, reflections, snow and awareness of God’s infinite beauty.”

Some of Perry’s work is on display at Moody Memorial Library.

After four years, the senior journalism senior lecturer completed a five-panel altarpiece called “Byzantine Altarpiece” in the ancient tradition. She has been working with a group iconographers on this project.

“The hallmark of this ancient tradition is spiritual discipline,” Perry said. “However, slapping oil paint on a dog portrait canvas is great fun.”

Iconographers create art that emphasizes symbolism and objects that traditionally accompany a subject. Many iconographers focus on Roman Catholic figures like Jesus and various saints.

“Art and faith are a perfect marriage,” Perry said.

Inspirations, for Perry, come from music, deep impressions of images and the art of others. Picking a favorite piece of artwork was a challenge for Perry.

“Only one?” Perry said. “The Sistine Ceiling takes my breath away.”

One of the women creating an iconography piece alongside Perry is Faye Drobnic from Lafayette, La., Drobnic and Perry met at an icon painting workshop in Mississippi, where they learned from a Russian icon painter.

“She has a truly beautiful spirit,” Drobnic said. “She is one of the most generous and gracious people I have ever known in my life.”

Drobnic is a very close friend of Perry’s and said she is always inspired by her.

“I have a tremendous admiration for Carol Perry,” Drobnic said. “She has come into my life and she is like a sister to me.”

Along with teaching, Perry is a public information officer for the city of Waco and the Waco Independent School District. She created the flying W logo for the City of Waco. Perry teaches Media Design, Public Relations Agency and Writing for Media Markets in the journalism, public relations, and new media department.

Perry said her artwork is not only for her benefit, but also for the benefit of her media design students.

“Using visuals in the classroom seems to connect with many students to enhance what they read and hear,” Perry said.

Little Rock, Ark., senior Laura Beth Moore has taken Perry’s Media Design class and is currently in her Public Relations Agency class.

“I tell my mom and everyone else that Carol Perry is my public relations grandmother,” Moore said. “She really cares not only about your work, but she also wants to be someone to get coffee with.”

When Perry is not teaching or painting, she has two dogs that she gives her full attention to and even uses as artistic inspiration.

“A big former medical service German Shepherd and a sassy 12-year-old Standard Poodle are my running buddies,” Perry said. “Painting dog portraits on big canvases and icons in the 15th century Russian tradition are my favorites.”