Summery of my painting for Care Dimensions, Memories of Marblehead


My dad died on January 2, 2013. He was my source of inspiration, rock of support and biggest fan. During the last weeks of his life, my family came to rely heavily on Hospice Care to help us and to give my mom a much needed rest. I had known about the Care Dimensions Auction and reached out to CEO Diane Stringer, whom I have known for many years, to see about being the featured artist for 2016. She happily agreed and invited me to the 2015 Gala to help me get a feel for the event.

As I sat at the Gala, I remember wondering “What subject will I paint?” And then I realized the Regatta was part of the event and I decided to feature the sailing races that take place in the Cape Ann harbor throughout the summer months.

After an excursion on my friend Mike Miller’s boat photographing the races one evening last July, I realized the boats alone would not offer enough of a subject and decided a coastal theme, that included the boats, would be more suitable for my purpose. I visited Cape Ann many times over the ensuing months to photograph the rugged coastline, crashing waves, churning seas and changing skies this area is so famous for and to get a more complete subject for the painting. I combined several of the photographs I took and eventually had enough material to begin work on the painting, which I call Memories of Marblehead.

Slowly the painting took shape.  I remembered to take the time to post my progress on Social Media, and thus, was able to record its genesis and to share my story with my viewers, and friends of Care Dimensions.

This year’s Auction and Gala is scheduled for Friday, June 17 at the Boston Yacht Club in Marblehead. I hope the painting is well received by attendees. It is the best painting I could create in memory of my dad.








Memories of Marblehead (2016), 36 x 24 inches.  Mixed media painting.


Documenting Memories of Marblehead for Care Dimensions Auction

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My friend Gary Tardiff photographing Memories of Marblehead in his South Boston Studio.  The photograph will be used for the giclees of the painting.  The Care Dimensions Auction will be held at the Boston Yacht Club in Marblehead on Friday, June 17.





The painting temporarily installed in the artist’s home.

Marblehead Harbor, 2015







The final photograph of the painting.

Kick Off Event for the Auction Painting, Memories of Marblehead

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At Care Dimensions kick-off event for the 22nd annual Hospice Auction & Regatta to benefit Care Dimensions we unveiled this year’s signature artwork by Topsfield artist Meg Black Handmade Paper Art. This year’s Gala Auction and Dinner will be held at Boston Yacht Club in Marblehead on Friday, June 17th. For more information about event tickets or sponsorship please visit

Hospice Painting: Week Three Retrospective

This is my favorite-and most challenging parts of the creative process: the final stages.  The work starts to come together, but my energy flow can weaken as the process drags on.  And I become so familiar with the image, (too familiar?) that I can become complacent, and overlook areas that need revision.


A close up of the rocks. I am trying to add grey, greens and oranges to the palette to invoke a sense of romantic energy.


Just the hint of a sailboat on the right side of the composition. I love the ghostly quality of it as it glides across the water.


This grouping of sailboats on the left of the composition were taken from photographs of them at a much greater scale. Superimposing and rescaling them into the background here was time-consuming, not to mention changing to colors slightly so they wouldn’t overwhelm the rest of the painting.












Almost finished. I’ll let it go for a few day, come back, and see how I feel. Titian did this, so did Peter Paul Rubens. They would turn their work to the wall for a few days so they couldn’t see it, and then would look at it with fresh eyes.


Hospice Painting, Week Two Retrospective

Day seven: Started working at 5:00 AM. Finally stopped at 5:00 PM. I can’t paint another rock, make up another shade of blue, worry that the waves that are crashing in front might need more waves crashing in back. I’m exhausted! I am loving the stack of rocks on the left of the composition-the orange ones reflecting the sunlight, the veins of white drifting in and out of the rocks. I always wonder where these rocks come from, who puts them there. what machinery was used to move them into such big piles. The scale of the rocks against the distant background is one of my favorite things about this painting right now. Scale is what is creating the energy in this work. To draw the rocks, I make up a pile of goopy pulp and spoon it into my hand. Then I scoop it onto the surface and using a wooden skewer, I draw patterns into the surface with to create the vein affect. Works great! I love these artistic inventions-plastic spoons and wooden skewers become art materials.
Channeling Emily Carr: Raven, the title of one of my favorite paintings by Carr, a Canadian landscape artist, demonstrates the magic of scale. The Raven is so large, looming over the landscape, beak tilted toward the sky. Majestic, just like the Canadian landscape Carr was inspired by.12417623_1233556173338683_562159839210466321_n12321223_1233555660005401_5506571586212810273_n12573760_1233555656672068_7605175903487713119_n

Hospice Painting in progress: Week One Retrospective.

IMG_1512_edited-1Day One: Ah yes, the artist’s worst dilemma and greatest challenge-the blank sheet, the raw background, the gessoed canvas.  Blank, white, virgin background waiting to be turned and twisted, cared for, screamed at, manipulated and manipulating.  Wanting to be turned into something that does not yet exist.  Genesis.  Early monday morning of the creation story.




And so I walked into my studio bright and early and laid one of the many photographs I took last summer down onto the surface that I will use to create this painting.  Palette set, dimensions considered.  Monday morning.


Day Two: I have gridded out the photograph to match the scale of the eventual painting.  I have painted in the background areas and considered how to play up the contrasts, which for me are the most exciting characteristics of the painting.










IMG_1525Day three of working on the Hospice Auction painting. Trying to unite photos of changing skies, crashing wave, sail boats and a rocky shoreline into one composition. Much more needs to be done.






As I work I find myself channeling Winslow Homer, Van Gogh and Rosa Bonheur. This is for me why I study art history. Homer left us clues for how to connect with his subject, his audience and himself.





Van Gogh said in a letter to his brother Theo about his painting of The Good Samaritan, “I hope it has feeling.”







And Rosa?, well out of a fit of frustration she kicked a hole in her in-progress painting of “Plowing in the Nivernais” because she was disgusted at her lack of ability to make the sky look as though it was receding into the distance. My critical eye thinks she was doing just fine.


IMG_1542Day four of painting the Hospice painting. So after looking at this composition more closely, I started feeling as though the sea was too calm. No way am I painting a seascape with sail boats AND calm waters. Too safe.











This got me to thinking about JMW Turner and his lively, sometimes ferocious seascapes. So, I added more stormy clouds, rougher waters, and a starker contest in the rocks. Day four: channeling Turner.

Day Five:  I end the work week by making a brief video of the painting in progress.

Short Video of the painting in progress.



Hospice Painting in Progress, January 18, 2016

The state of the painting as of Monday, January 18 (MKL birthday)  Snowy and 23 degrees outside.  The foreground on the right is taking shape while the sky imagery is in the beginning stages.  Inclusion of the sails boats is still a ways off.  Much work to be done but always a pleasure to work on this imagery during a snow storm.

Sailing in Marblehead Harbor, July 2015

Image Ideas for my next painting.

Loving these sunset photos from last July.  Seems like a long time ago.  Considering using one or both photos in my next painting.  [Read more…]