by Barbara Sherf
Kathryn “Kass” Dymecki, 84, who lives on Evergreen Street in Chestnut Hill and who will be participating in a Holiday Vendor Fair at the Hill at Whitemarsh in Lafayette Hill on Friday, Nov. 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., won early recognition for her artistic talents. As a young art student majoring in Textile and Design at Moore College of Art and Design, she won a prestigious P.A.B. Widener Traveling Fellowship. That gave her the freedom to travel and study in Europe for four months. After graduating from Moore in 1953, she went on to work as a fabric colorist in New York City and as a designer for the Masland Duraleather Company in Philadelphia.
Her artistic career was sidelined after she divorced, becoming a single parent. For financial reasons, she took an administrative position at Philadelphia University, working her way up to the director of personnel, while continuing to dabble in a variety of arts and crafts after her 9-to-5 job.
Then, in her 60s she started taking watercolor classes, studying under James McFarlane at the Woodmere Art Museum and Kass Morin Freeman at the Oreland Art Center.
“I love the wetness of watercolors, and the brightness and the transparency,” she said. “ I start with a general idea from a photo I took on a trip and go from there. Some of my finer pieces have come from something I thought was a mistake, but more often than not I’ve managed to turn it around into a positive piece.”
Her painting interests range from florals to still-life arrangements to landscapes.
“Whatever the subject matter,” she said, “color, mood and composition are for me the most important elements in painting.
“I’ve been successful in selling some of them in shows and also to family and friends. You don’t have to draw a straight line to take up painting, and I would encourage anyone with an interest to try it. It’s a wonderful medium, and you can be very free and loose in your painting style.”
When purchasing a piece of art, she advises following your heart. “Most people try to select something that matches the tangerine sofa, but I say if you like it, then buy it and fit it in somewhere else in the room,” she said. “Choose artwork that you can live with for a long time and something that makes you happy.”
Her work has been exhibited at a number of local retirement communities, and has been included in Juried Art Shows at Woodmere, the Philadelphia Watercolor Society, the Oreland Art Center and last year at a one-woman show at the Center on the Hill in the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-242-0672.
Barbara Sherf is a personal historian and newly certified Laughter Yoga Leader who can be reached at CaptureLifeStories@gmail.com.
* This article is reprinted, with permission, from Milestones, a monthly publication of the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging.