Monday, February 13, 2017


On Saturday,  February 4th,  I gave an artist talk and demo for the Watertown Art Association.  This is a lively art association and one of the oldest in the country.  I am one of four presenters in their series Elemental Forces: Earth, Air, Fire & Water funded by the Watertown Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.   These demos are free and open to the public.   The next demo features encaustic artist Tracy Spadafora on March 4th @ 2PM.  

12x12 value sketch

It takes a bit of planning on my part as I am not entirely comfortable painting in front of an audience.  The week prior my husband and I walked the Minuteman Trail in Concord, MA.  There I took a photo of a large house just off the trail.  From the photo I did some rough sketches, a value study then a painting sketch.  

12x12 painting sketch

My goal was to play with the earth shades: yellow ochre, burnt sienna & umber and raw sienna & umber,  so I planned out my palette first.   These are colors I seldom use yet they are so rich in mass tones and are the colors of a snowless New England landscape.  

I found pre-planning my palette a worthwhile exercise.   After doing the above warm-ups the composition proved to be a tad boring so I returned to sketching.  The house in Concord was the inspiration but the beauty of being an artist is being able to rearrange the landscape. 

At the demo I blocked out the big shapes sky vs house & land using ultramarine blue and hansa yellow light.  I worked on an 18" x 18" birch panel prepped w/ a few layers of gesso.  

I use a lot of medium so there is a bit of glare on these images.  Once I got the paint on the panel my nervousness dwindled.  The audience asked great questions and were quite engaged in the process.  I wore a mike and after a few technical difficulties that turned out to be a plus.  Thank you Jodie Wigren for that tip. 

My mother-in-law also attended and she gave me a very helpful helpful tip.  "Repeat each question so everyone attending can hear. " Thank you Mary Waters!  

As you can see from these images the painting went through many transitions.  

I continued to simplify the composition from the sketch by removing the trees and reduced it to the essential elements of the house on a hill.  A finished painting for now and a fun adventure spending time pushing paint and engaging with other artists on a Saturday afternoon.  Many thanks to Jodie Wigren, Dawn Evans Scaltreto and President Donna Gaspar

Thursday, February 9, 2017


36" x 36"
mixed media/panel

Yesterday  I received the wonderful news that Solstice, a recent painting finished just this past December, has found a new home.  This is 36" x 36" birch panel and part of a series I have been working on since last January 2016.  I have 12 panels in various states. In a few days I will post the evolution of this painting.  One can work on a painting for weeks then suddenly it all comes together.  The mystery and magic of pushing paint amazes me.

Many thanks to Powers Gallery for sending this painting to a new home!

Thursday, February 2, 2017


8" x 8"

I will be giving an artist talk and a painting demo this Saturday at the Watertown Art Association.  This is part of their ongoing series titled Elemental Forces and my work will represent the Earth element.  Below is a description of this free and open-to-the-public event. 
Special thanks to artists Jodie Wigren and Dawn Evan Scaltreto for this kind invitation to share my painting process and to Watertown Cultural Council for supporting this series. 

Martha Wakefield presents Abstracting Nature
Saturday, February  4, 2017, 2—4 pm
The Innovation Space, Arsenal Project Mall, Old Navy Entrance,
485 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA
This month’s Watertown Art Association’s “Elemental Forces” series funded by Watertown Cultural Council will feature the element, “Earth” and artist/teacher, Martha Wakefield. Painting in oils on panels she will share her tools, techniques and playful approach to enjoying the plein air experience.  As a popular art teacher Wakefield will also describe her approach to elements of the graphic language in creating an unique expressive voice.  To see more of her work visit her website at   Pictured above, Drifting Echoes © Martha Wakefield 2017, oil on panel
Watertown Art Association’s demonstrator series are free and open to the public.  Their program,  Elemental Forces: Earth Air, Fire, Water,  is funded by the Watertown Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, December 22, 2016


This holiday season is always full of wonderful surprises.  My painting above, Black Chemise #8, recently at the Cambridge Art Association small works show, has been invited to a new home.

It is always a joy to have one's work honored by such an invitation. While I am excited by the sale I am more excited knowing that someone that I consider a dear friend and talented artist bought this work.  So my friend many thanks!

This work is from my Chemise series painted in 2011.  It is acrylic on handmade paper mounted on canvas.  The paper comes from Taos, NM.  The series is based on love, loss and what remains.  The remains is my imagination of my mother's soul wearing such a garment when on her spiritual journey during the time of Dia de los Muertos and All Soul's Day.  Black was a color that suited her.

My vision for this series is also based on a wonderful memory  When my mother dressed for an evening out she always wore black, a beautiful red glossed her lips and Chanel # 5 left traces of her as she walked out the door with my handsome dad.  Oh the memory...

Friday, December 2, 2016


Tis the season for the holiday small works shows.  

oil/panel  8"x8"

This year three of my paintings: Swept Away, Here Once Before & Reflections Can Whisper,  from my Wild Beauty series have been invited to Courthouse Gallery in Ellsworth, ME.  The exhibit is from Wednesday, December 7th through the 30th.  A open house and artists' reception will take place on Wednesday, December 14th from 5-7 PM.   I am honored to have my work in such as prestigious gallery.

oil/panel  8"x 8"

These three landscapes were painted plein air in Boothbay Harbor and Pemaquid Point, Maine.  

oil/panel  12"x12"

oil/panel  12"x12"

Back in the studio when the weather is not as inviting to paint outside I like to play with floral arrangements.  It is the closest thing to the landscape in shapes, colors and the wildness of the flowers's petals.  At Concord Art Association, where I also teach painting classes, I have two such works in their Holiday Originals show.  This show will run from December 1st until Sunday, December 20th.  The gallery is open Tuesday - Saturday from 10 AM until 4:30 PM & Sundays 12 - 4 PM.

oil/canvas 12"x12"

Art is a wonderful way to escape the madness of the season whether visiting galleries or museums. This is a season to celebrate what is most important: family, friends and creative expression. Wishing you a sweet holiday season of magic and joy!

Sunday, October 2, 2016


Yesterday I delivered eight of my Slip paintings to SheBreathes Balance and Wellness Studio in Walpole, MA.  As soon as I entered the door I was in awe of this beautiful space and positive energy.  SheBreathes is the brainchild of Jennifer Gulbrand and is all about empowering women to love and honor themselves.  

Here is their mission statement:

Promote the importance of self-care for balance, health and wellness and teach women to love and honor themselves.
​Create a welcoming environment for women to gather, learn from, share with each other, grow individually and be inspired by the experience of women supporting other women in search of their own transformation.
Establish a collaborative of professionals in the fields of health & wellness, life balance, education and the arts in order to promote their gifts, and strengthen their connection with the community.
Our Studio at 85 West Street, Walpole, MA, offers a warm, inviting venue for all women.  


The hanging went smoothly under the expertise of Dave Amaral, musician, and the artistic eye of Beth Knaus, writer, art consultant & senior staff member of SheBreathes. 

The large space is serenely welcoming with such creative attention to details from top to bottom that it just invites one to linger forever.  I know I could.  Please check out their offering of classes, lectures, and speaker series all focused on women supporting women. Just being in the space one can feel relaxed and refreshed.  Its truly magical.  

I am so honored to have my Slip paintings grace the wall of SheBreathes this month of October.  Many thanks to Jennifer Gulbrand, Beth Knaus, David Amaral and Elizabeth Hermon who generously promoted my artwork to SheBreathes.

Saturday, October 1, 2016


Old Frog Pond Farm

On Sunday afternoon, September 11, 2016,  Old Frog Pond Farm & Studio hosted the 4th season of Plein Air Poetry .  It was the first time I attended the event.  What an inspiring day surrounded by poets, friends & families in a beautiful setting with stunning sculptures placed throughout the land and on the water!

Splash Plein Air Poetry books
sold out!

I am honored to have my painting Lily Pond grace the cover of this year's poetry book.  Many thanks to Linda Hoffman artist, writer & orchardist, Susan Edwards Richmond, editor & poet, and Lynn Horsky, graphic designer, artist & poet. 

Following the editor of Splash, Susan Edwards Richmond, and the poets we covered a lot of ground walking among the apple trees, by the meditation sanctuary and near the winding shore of the pond.

Editor & poet Susan Edwards Richmond reading her poem
 "Palm Warblers and a Yellow Rumped for Jim,"

There are 19 poets in this year's edition.  Each artist read their poem inspired by a certain spot on Old Frog Pond Farm.  These magical spots are noted in the book. Hearing their words, in their voices, at the place of inspiration made such a powerful impact.  

Lynn Horsky reading her poem Just Splash It

The crowd at the Plein Air Poetry reading 2016

An added treat was seeing the sculpture exhibit featuring artwork by many New England sculptors. I have several favorites.  There is still time to see this outdoor exhibit as its open weekends 11-5 PM  through Columbus day on 10/10. 

Branch Crossing
Barbara Andrus
#46 sculpture walk

The day ended on an amazing note with the book selling out and my painting finding a new home! Splash created such lovely ripples...