ARTS Profile

Watercolorist Polly Dewey: Attached to art

Posted: Thursday, September 14, 2000

Visitation rights to art: Painter Polly Dewey grows so attached to her watercolors, she said sometimes it's hard for her to sell them.

"It can be hard to part with a painting. Sometimes they're like children," she said.

She sold one painting to a friend who recognized her attachment and offered her visitation rights to the painting.

Losing herself in painting: Dewey, 63, worked as a Juneau schoolteacher for 20 years before retiring in 1993. She said it had always been her dream to pursue art full time, and she threw herself into it when she retired.

"Art is all-consuming. You can just lose yourself," she said. "There wasn't time to do both when I was teaching."

She attended workshops in the Lower 48 with nationally acclaimed artists and worked with other painters. In 1997 she spent three weeks in Greece on a trip dedicated to painting.

"In Greece you can paint outdoors every day," she said. "Here, I work a lot from photographs, different combinations of photographs to get the exact concept that I want to what attracted me to that particular scene."

Working fast: She said for her, the trick is to plan like a turtle and paint like a rabbit. She completes most of her paintings in a day or a day and a half.

"Watercolors should not take a long time to paint," she said.

She said Juneau is a great place to work for two reasons. The community is very receptive to artists and the environment is so paintable.

"The subjects are endless flowers, landscapes, and we've got long daylight hours," she said.

The nature of the beast: She adores the richness and transparency of the medium. She also likes the somewhat unpredictable nature of watercolors.

"Sometimes they do things by themselves you're not prepared for and it's wonderful," she said.

She has a studio in her home in Auke Bay, and said her husband does the framing of her work.

Dewey's paintings are available at the Juneau Artists Gallery downtown in the Senate Building.

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