Obituary: Pauline Bewick, prolific painter and illustrator who lived a colorful life
Pauline Bewick, who died of cancer aged 86, was a “prolific artist”, sculptor and illustrator who had a colorful personal life, including a passionate affair with Dubliners frontman Luke Kelly.
he once said of his mother, Alice ‘Harry’ Graham Bewick, that she was ‘determined not to fit in’ and although Pauline was a member of the Royal Hibernian Academy and the artists’ organization Aosdána, she had something of the same spirit.
She has always been open about her relationships and said her affair with Kelly was “not just about sex”.
“He was one of the most special people in my life,” she told Dónal Lynch in a Sunday Independent interview after the publication of his book 80: A Memoir.
“He was an intellectual. What would have been particularly difficult was that he was a very social person and he could never have settled in Kerry. He needed to be in the thick of it. topic.
Born in Northumberland, northeast England, she believed herself to be a descendant of 19th-century artist and printmaker Thomas Bewick.
She and her sister Hazel were largely raised by their mother in Kenmare, County Kerry, although they moved back and forth to England, leading unconventional lives.
After school, which was mainly in Kerry, she studied art at the National College of Art and Design and Bristol.
After some of her illustrations were used by the BBC, she returned to live in Dublin, where she worked as a nightclub singer and actress at the Pike Theatre. However, Pauline was determined to become a full-time painter and illustrator and in 1973 left Dublin for Kerry with her husband Pat Melia, whom she met while a medical student and married in 1963.
They eventually settled in Treanmanagh, near the town of Glenbeigh in County Kerry, and had two daughters, Poppy and Holly.
Although based in Kerry for much of her life, she spent two years (1989 to 1991) traveling to Samoa and the Polynesian islands to find inspiration for her work.
While she was away, her husband began an affair and, as she recounted in her book, they were both open to each other, although this led to difficulties in their relationship.
After advising, she said the couple “laughed at us getting back together”. Pat developed Alzheimer’s disease and died in 2016.
As an artist, his work was colorful and distinctive with a style all his own. Although best known as a painter, she has worked extensively as a book illustrator and has produced album covers and murals.
“She will be missed, but her laughter and sense of fun, and the tremendous purpose of her art will live on,” art historian Ciarán MacGonigal said in his message of condolence.
She was a favorite of former Taoiseach Charlie Haughey, who also had a great love for Kerry and the mythology that featured in many of his paintings.
In 1981 she represented Ireland at the European Graphic Art Biennale in Germany and in 1986 she presented a major retrospective exhibition at the Guinness Hop Store in Dublin. In 2006, she donated over 200 of her works to the state, which are on display at the Waterford Institute of Technology.
His work on the Yellow Man Gray Man project, which occupied much of his later years, was made into a short film. In it, the ever-beautiful entertainer opened up about her philosophy of living in the stunning setting of her Kerry home, near scenic Lake Caragh.
Even at age 80, Pauline was determined to keep up the pace of her work. “There are still adventures to be had and work to be done,” she said. “That’s what keeps me excited and alive.”
Pauline Bewick died last Thursday at her home. She is survived by her two daughters and her grandchildren.
Her remains will rest at her home in Treanmanagh today between 4pm and 6pm, before a private cremation in Cork tomorrow.