Cherished artist Elizabeth “Betsy” Dedon Pauly (1957-2016) loves cats. This morning, as though to please her, David’s and my ancient feline, dear Ding, drapes before me languidly lounging across my computer keyboard. While I celebrate Betsy with letters and words I arrange on my screen, together Ding and I enjoy my studio’s open-window breezes.
Indeed, we’re having the climate I hoped for when I moved six years ago to Carthage from the Ozarks of Arkansas. Crossing state lines back then, I’m coming north expecting to find milder temperatures. Instead I’m greeted with a series of long arid summers of intense, unrelenting heat.
Over and over, again and again, I keep on painting canvases filled with plumped up, heavy bellied rain clouds hoping to conjure the relief of the soothing moisture and the mountain breezes I left in the foothills behind me.
Finally my conjuring cloud magic is working in Missouri. Every time the thermometer goes past 90, the weather shifts. We get some showers and the 80’s return. I feel like we’re living in Eden, especially when we taste the perfection of a garden-of-Eden-evening like artCentral’s opening reception for Betsy Pauly’s retrospective exhibition.
Oh, what a gracious, grace-filled night this is. While predictions of thunderstorms persist, we carry on with preparations and dreaming of celebration weather that’s welcoming and perfect. Our dreams magically manifest! Clouds and showers come and go. The skies clear and soft sunlight foretells the bliss of yet another cool August evening.
For months Chuck Pauly, Betsy’s husband, has set the bar high for blessings with his donations of Betsy’s paintings, prints and cards. He graciously makes them all available for purchases that benefit our Betsy Pauly Fund to carry on the work of artCentral. Chuck’s law firm, Checkett & Pauly, PC, proactively extend their underwriting generosity.
Mike Burken’s landscape crew grooms the campus to perfection. My beloved husband, David, adds his outdoor detailing, artfully scatters chairs over the lawn and porch and professionally preps the gallery walls.
Over several months Sally Armstrong, artCentral’s former director, with the assistance of Miriam Putnam, gathers and delivers Betsy’s paintings from the private collections of Betsy’s patrons who happily agree to live with blank spaces on the walls of their homes and offices, so we all may see and share the beauty of Betsy’s creations. For your contributions, my sincere, appreciative “thank you” goes out to Sally Armstrong, Lance and Sharon Beshore, Jim and Elizabeth Creighton, Jon and Connie Dedon, Bill and Cindy Putnam, Wayne and Miriam Putnam, Charles Pauly, Ron and Susan Ross, Janet Wagoner and Mike and Linda Woody.
With her gourmet panache, Judith Goff dresses the reception’s table decked in palate pleasing delectables—ruby red strawberries and shiny pickup veggies; batter baked cheese sticks and sharp English cheese spread; wonton wrapped shrimp bites and Judy’s signature chocolate and sugar cookies.
Board members Jackie Boyer and Betsy Flanigan with their husbands, Alex and Bren, as well as Miriam Putnam and board members Helen Kunze and Brenda Sageng, lend their hands to serving and greeting, while gallery docents Jan Evans and Emily Rose assist patrons with buying their selections. Patrons sip and savor as they mingle, admire and purchase Betsy’s light-filled paintings and limited edition giclée prints.
Celebrating our dear Betsy, the stars come out to shine and remind us that Betsy’s effervescent beauty is with us still and forever on our walls and everywhere.
Betsy Pauly’s elegant retrospective, “The Beauty of Betsy Pauly”, continues on exhibit through September 17, 2017, at Hyde House on the hill, 1110 East Thirteenth in Carthage. The public is invited. Admission is free. Donations are welcome.
Gallery hours: Fridays & Saturdays 12:00-5:00, Sundays 1:00-5:00. All other days call (417) 358-4404 to schedule a visit.