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Creative Pagosa: Polly McLaughlin

Photo courtesy PACP Polly McLaughlin is one of Pagosa’s MAKERS. Her artistic expressions include work in watercolor, drawing, charcoal, painting and printmaking. McLaughlin is listed in the Pagosa Arts and Culture Project web directory.

Photo courtesy PACP
Polly McLaughlin is one of Pagosa’s MAKERS. Her artistic expressions include work in watercolor, drawing, charcoal, painting and printmaking. McLaughlin is listed in the Pagosa Arts and Culture Project web directory.

The Pagosa Arts & Culture Project is building a web-based directory of all the creative people and businesses in the community. By creating this website, it will make these MAKERS easier to find in online search engines and help share the wealth of innovative and talented individuals that call our small town home.

This sort of database is called “cultural mapping” and is being done by communities around the country in order to realize and recognize the value of their creative assets.

The Pagosa Arts & Culture Project is establishing the groundwork for continued collaboration and cooperation and promotional efforts of the combined community. The goal of the project is to establish a solid foundation of cultural and creative individuals and businesses, to create a viable plan for promoting these assets and to promote the Pagosa area as a worthy place of residence for creative people, a productive place for creative business ventures and a desirable destination for arts tourism.

To register and be listed in the database, go to http://pagosaacp.org/Register.html.

In order to highlight the MAKERS in Pagosa, the PACP will profile its members, giving readers of The PREVIEW a sense of the depth and breadth of the creative community.

This week’s MAKER is Polly McLaughlin.

Q: Tell us a little about who you are, where you were born, educated, your family, growing up and how you came to be doing your creative work?

“I was born and raised in Albuquerque, N.M., one of four children. I left for several years, attending Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., living for a year in Anchorage, Alaska, and in the Denver area.

“Growing up at the time that I did, and in New Mexico with very traditional parents, I was guided to appropriate work for a woman in case, ‘my husband died’ and I needed to support myself. Choices were secretary, nurse or teacher. So I chose teacher and ended up with a master’s degree in secondary English education.

“Later I discovered that teaching teenagers was not my mission, so I left the profession and did several other things. It took me a while to figure out, ‘what I wanted to be when I grew up.’

“Over time I played with art, starting with watercolors, then drawing, charcoal, painting and printmaking. While working and living a busy life, I found my art projects to be a great escape. Now that I have more time, I am count myself so lucky to be doing what has become a passion.”

Q: Describe the objects you make or the creative work you do.

“Until about a year ago, I was primarily painting in acrylics, finding subject matter that evokes emotion and interest in me. My paintings tend to be an impression of something real.

“Last year, I tried printmaking and have really loved it. Printmaking is an intellectual challenge as well as a creative one for me, as the printmaking method I’m using lends itself more to the abstract. It’s a great challenge for me.”

Q: Do you have a regular routine or schedule?

“My schedule is very flexible because we are traveling and at this point in time, I don’t have a studio in Pagosa. I’m working on that, and on devoting more time to my art.”

Q: What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?

“Don’t be so hard on yourself!”

Q: When you’re not making art, what is your favorite thing to do in Pagosa country?

“Hiking, meeting people, playing with our dogs outdoors, skiing, snowshoeing, enjoying our friends. There’s something about Pagosa that encourages friendship — maybe because it’s a smaller environment that places like Albuquerque and other bigger cities.”

Q: What are your goals for the coming year?

“Focus on my art is a primary goal. My husband and I are working on downsizing and eventually moving to Pagosa full-time.”

Q: What is your dream project?

“That is still a work in progress.”

This story was posted on October 24, 2013.