In Memory of Polly

Many of you don’t know that I also have a private blog for family and immediate friends.  That blog was started, gosh, way back in 2007.  I’m not very faithful about updating that bog now, but when I have something of importance to share with family and immediate friends that is one tool of communication.

In today’s Paducah Sun newspaper:  Pauline “Polly” Bingenheimer Harris, formerly of Paducah, KY, departed this earth on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 in Lexington, S.C.

Just over a year ago I posted some thoughts on my private blog about Polly and the role she played in my “artistic” endeavors.  In honor of her recent passing I am going to share those thoughts here.  They remain true.

Have I told you before how very much I have to learn about all of this photography stuff? If not, let me say it now. I have sooooooooo much to learn about this photography stuff!

I have to try to put in writing my appreciation for former Paducah Middle School art teacher, Polly Harris.

Ten or twelve years ago a group of Paducah Middle teachers would gather informally once a week to paint; more specifically, watercolor. Polly would loosely “guide” us each week frequently offering advice, insight, suggestions, instruction, etc.

I was by far the least talented of the group but it didn’t ever seem to matter. The group was very welcoming and encouraging. The weekly sessions were fun, relaxing, and stimulating.

Any “artistic eye” that I might be fortunate enough to possess primarily stems from the Paducah Middle teacher art group. Any other art background is strictly limited to college Art Appreciation!

However, I will note that many art principles parallel with music principles. Form. Balance. Color. Repetition. Texture. Pattern. Accent. Well, you get the idea.

And, again I repeat……I think my “eye” is better than my technique. Therefore, I am trying very hard to improve my technique; with the camera itself and in the “digital darkroom.”

This is a photograph of one of Polly’s watercolor paintings. One sunny afternoon the group met at my house to paint flowers in my garden.  I can still see the graceful and dignified manner that Polly skillfully used with her sable brushes.  She would get quiet and the strokes would begin to flow.  Before one’s eyes the minimal brush stokes would evolve into a beautiful piece of art.

I was thrilled at the time she gave this painting to me.  And now, at this time, this painting takes on even more importance.  It hangs over my kitchen sink; a place where I can enjoy it, and think of Polly, on a regular basis.

Perhaps the message of today’s post is two fold.  One, enjoy and cherish those who are important to you while you can.  And two, thank someone who played an important role in the shaping of your life.

Sadly, I didn’t  have the chance to show Polly my photographs or tell her how much she influenced me.

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12 Responses to In Memory of Polly

  1. we have to be thankful for the time we had with the people we cherish and keep their memories alive! I’m glad that you have the painting…it is beautiful, thoughtful and symbolic.

    My thoughts are with you and all those who knew her.

  2. Oh Sue, as Heather said, it’s great that you have all of these wonderful memories to cherish of her and her talents and what an influence she had on you.

    I’m sure as Polly taught her informal painting students that she knew she had an influence over their creativity and knew of your appreciation. 🙂

  3. Toni says:

    Sue, I’m sorry for the loss of your friend. I’m sure she knew of your appreciation for her. It comes through very clearly in your words.

  4. Sue – its a lovely way to honour and remember someone.

  5. Julie McLeod says:

    Your admiration and appreciation is so clear in your writing and it makes a lovely tribute to your teacher.

  6. Sue, what a lovely tribute to an wonderful person. I am sure she is looking down and smiling everytime you look at her beautiful painting!

  7. Bo says:

    Well said, Sue. A loving and lovely tribute.

  8. Marcie says:

    What a wonderful post and tribute to Polly. Beautifully written!

  9. Se'Lah says:

    Wonderful painting and tribute to Polly.

    Have a great weekend.

  10. Oscar says:

    What a wonderful tribute to your dear friend.

    I will pray for her and you.

  11. elk says:

    oh this touched my heart

  12. Anita Bower says:


    Thank you for sharing this wonderful annecdote. It is amazing how much we can learn from each other, and how many talented people are in our little communities.

    Polly’s watercolor is just lovely! My guess is that you thanked Polly many times while with her, and that she knew she had influenced your art.

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