Making progress, one spoon full of paint at a time . . .

Week two: July 28-August 5: I added the tree shapes to the two panels on the left yesterday. For more precise details, I use a spoon to apply the heavily beaten pulp.  

Paintings as they appeared August 2, 2018.

Painting the detail of the sky in the left panel, August, 2018.


In the next post, I will feature the paintings as they appeared at the end of this work week.  











#megblackstudios#topsfieldma #topsfieldtownhall

I have an exciting announcement to make . . .

I have been commissioned to create a large scale painting of an autumn image of River Road, Topsfield for the new Topsfield Town Hall.  The town hall is slated for a grand opening on Saturday, October 20, 2018.  In the meantime, I will be posting on the progress of the commissioned painting.

Proposed painting location: top of main staircase.

Within a few weeks, these very incomplete panels will be ready for installation in their new setting in the town hall. Right now, it feels a bit intimidating looking at so much empty space.

Paintings as they appeared on July 24, 2018. Much work needs to be done.









Paintings as they appeared at the beginning of the workday on July 29, 2018 . . .


. . . and by the end of the workday. I’m focusing on going from left to right as I progress.















End of week one (July 24-29). My goal is to paint one panel at a time to roughly 75% and then move onto the next panel. Panels 4 and 5 will have to wait until panels 1-3 are completed due to the lack of information I have for them. Sound confusing? It feels confusing too!

#commission, #megblackstudios, #topsfieldma #design #interiordesign



My painting process: Working on panel three of Topsfield Town Hall Commission

In this video I demonstrate how I paint with pulp.  I am using a turkey baster to add color to the background surface.  Ultimately, this will be an autumn scene inspired by the fauna of River Road, Topsfield.

The sound of Falling Water: the relationship between the Kauffmann’s and Frank lloyd Wright

I had the pleasure of visiting Falling Water this past Monday.  During our tour, I was impressed by the description our guide provided about the relationship between the Kauffmann’s and Frank Lloyd Wright, specifically as it related to their role as patrons to his now famous design.  Did the Kauffmann’s allow Wright the space necessary to create his masterpiece? How involved were they in the ultimate design?  We did learn that Mrs. Kauffmann insisted on adding screens to the windows one year after taking occupancy of the home given that the mosquitos appear to have loved the home almost as much as did the Kauffmann family and their servants. We also understood that the window treatments, as simple as they were, were also the idea of Mrs. Kauffmann who wanted some degree of privacy for and from her many guests. Finally, Mr. Wright refused to allow Mr. Kauffmann a garage for his many vehicles, instead settling for a “car port” thus inventing this now familiar term.

But, overall, it appears that the Kauffmann’s allowed Mr. Wright the space he needed to create his seminal work, and in doing so, ensured that their famous architect would create what is arguably the most famous home in American history, second only to the White House.

This got me thinking of the importance of the relationship between client and architect, patron and artist.  It is a delicate dance to give the client what they want, while maintaining the integrity of the design and allowing for the artistic vision to come through.  I have had experiences on both ends of the client/artist spectrum, from experiences for which my artistic vision was given space, to suffering the consequences of the “overly involved client.”  The Kauffmann’s were well served by Mr. Wright, and it appears he as well by his clients who allowed him the creative air to breath so they could enjoy the sounds of falling water.


Open House at Care Dimensions, Lincoln, MA

Sunday, March 24 was the long awaited and eagerly anticipated opening of the Care Dimensions Hospice House in Lincoln, MA.

The 18 bedroom house is just gorgeous, the work of Siemasko and Verbridge Interior Design and EGA architects. 

To play even a small part in this project was an honor and a thrill.  Many thanks to the staff at Care Dimensions for commissioning me to create two works for this special place.


Care Dimensions Open House, Lincoln, MA. How paintings Tell a Story installed in the background.

Terra Cotta Army at the Virginia Museum of Art, Richmond.

What a thrill to see members of the Terra Cotta Army at the Virginia Museum of Art last week. I had no idea they were on exhibition-made my trip to Virginia and DC all the more memorable. 

Care Dimensions Paintings, Lincoln, MA. Installed.

Very excited to see these works installed in their new home.  Looking forward to the open house for this important space.  Many families will benefit for the hard work and dedication of the Care Dimensions staff who worked so tirelessly on this project.

Installed, January, 2018.


The autumn painting in progress, September, 2017.

An in progress review of the paintings, October, 2017.

Video of the paintings I created for the new Care Dimensions Hospice House in Waltham, MA.

This grouping of paintings which I have titled How paintings tell a story, was created for the new Care Dimensions Hospice House in Waltham, MA. The subject for the paintings was inspired by the natural environment of nearby Walden Pond and its most famous resident, Henry David Thoreau, who lived in a small cabin on the property for two years following the death of his brother.


I returned to Walden Pond many times throughout the creative progress in order to visit Thoreau’s home as it was reflected through the seasons.  I also visited the construction site in different stages of completion to ensure my paintings would be complimentary for the intended space.  Going back and forth between the Pond, the job site, and then working in my studio proved important to make sure I was synchronizing the paintings, Thoreau’s essays and the new hospice house.

The paintings attempt to celebrate the beauty of Walden Woods as they simultaneously act as metaphors for life’s story, much as Thoreau did in his many written essays on the same subject.

The painting on the left suggests sunrise seeping through the trees, breathing life onto the earth. The light source coming from behind and casting a long shadow mimics stage lighting, giving the painting a theatrical quality. This sets the stage for a life to come, a promise of a future to be explored. The trees point to the right, guiding the viewer to the painting in the center.

The central painting includes a pathway in the composition. This suggests moving forward into unknown terrain, climbing a path that is a bit crooked and uneven, but guided by the light that is now in the background.  The open space in this composition is on the right of the painting-the light blue of the sky which holds a sense of distance, a way forward, the bend of the trees guiding the wanderer into the distance.

The painting on the right contains the body of water that one expects to find on Walden Pond: calm, cool, and a deep Prussian blue value that bespeaks a brisk New England autumn day.  In this composition, the trees shift to the left, allowing the viewer to return to the first painting and engage with all three paintings as a whole.

The trees are included in all three of the paintings to represent the rootedness of life.  The water is symbolic of ephemeral nature, another visual and spiritual symbol recognized in many cultures throughout history.

As a naturalist, Thoreau understood that the path to a greater understanding of life is through an understanding of the natural world around us: “We can never have enough of nature”, he wrote. “We must be refreshed by the sight of the wilderness with its living and its decaying trees.”

It is my hope that visitors to the Hospice House in Waltham will find peace and serenity as they rest in front of these paintings, whose story mimics those of the people they have come to visit.



My visual interpretation of Henry David Thoreau: How paintings tell a story.

A Walk through Walden Woods in search of Thoreau’s Cabin.

I spent last Saturday walking through Walden Woods in search of inspiration for my #caredimenisons commission. The new Care Dimensions building is located in Waltham, MA. not far from Walden Pond. The commission features three paintings inspired by the natural environment of Walden Pond. The quiet serenity, sense of peace and the smell of autumn trees on the trail was invigorating. Thoreau, who lived in Walden Woods for two years after the death of his brother John, (his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson owned the land at the time and let him live on it for free), wrote his most famous essays while huddled in his very small cabin. A replica of the cabin is on site and invites visitors to imagine what it was like for Thoreau to live there. I understand Thoreau’s desire to live simply and peacefully. I hope my paintings reflect the Walden Pond Thoreau came to know so well.