Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Sketchbook Exhibit

Sketches by Emily Manning-Mingle

This is How It Starts is a new concept exhibit featuring sketchbooks at Cambridge Art Association's Kathryn Schultz Gallery. The show opened Thursday 2/7 and runs until 2/27.  Yesterday a reception was held from 11-1 PM and well attended by an enthusiastic crowd of artists, families, friends and art lovers.  It was fun for me to see some many people engage with each book. 

Sketchbook by Susan Byrne

I had the honor of jurying this show and was delighted by the quality and diversity of the work submitted. I commend all the artists who bravely brought their sketchbooks forth. Handling each book is like entering a sacred sanctuary as artists' sketchbooks can be very personal and private.  

Sketches by Roz Sommer

Despite the differences in process, media and mark-making, a few themes emerged: figures, abstraction, landscape, collage and botanicals. My aim was to come up with an inspiring show of cohesive diversity.  Do see the exhibit, engage with the books and loose sketches and celebrate the mystery and magic that emerges when artists are at play. 

Award winner Mick Provencher with Erin Becker & me.
Mick has two sketchbooks in the show.

Rom Sommer award winner.  See her work in the image above.

My juror statement:
“The portable studio,” is how Richard Diebenkorn defined his sketchbook. Andrew Wyeth referred to his sketches as his “messy side” and debated letting them out of the studio.  A sketchbook is a pad or book of paper for drawing according to the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary.   In the hands of an artist these blank sheets of paper are transformed into personal artistic meditations.
In a first ever exhibit This is How it Starts we enter the inner sanctum of private scribbles, exploration of ideas and celebration of play by 24 talented artists.  Each has a distinctive and personal process chosen from a wide variety of materials and techniques.  The interplay of the conscious line to sub-conscious doodles meld as this ritual is practiced. 
The hands-on craft of creativity is evident, as is the innate curiosity to experiment and the capacity to wonder in each artists’ mark-making.  Here we witness the endeavors of form, shape, and line as well as circling in on intriguing projects.
As artists we spend inordinate amounts of solo time mysteriously working in our studios.  Yet we share a strong need to engage with other creatives.  In this exhibit the sketchbooks are linked by the process and motivation as artists commit ideas to paper.  And each in turn unveils the mystery by welcoming the viewer to peek through the keyhole of the studio door.  
It was years after Diebenkorn’s death that his wife Phyllis decided his 29 sketchbooks should be shared with the public.  I thank all the artists who courageously reveal their sketchbooks for this exhibit. 

Sketchbook by Martha Chasson-Sokol

I also wish to thank Erin Becker, Norma Jean Calderwood Director of Cambridge Art Association, Rebecca  Schnopp, assistant director and members of the exhibition committee for the honor to jury This is How It Starts.  

Thursday, January 31, 2019


Mixing Memory & Desire
mixed media/panel
8" x 8"

Memory Bowl 1
mixed media/paper
5" x 7"

Powers Gallery has already sold two of my paintings in the current show The Essence of Abstraction.  The show opened last Saturday 1/26 with an afternoon reception that was well attended with a steady flow of art collectors, friends, family, and other artists.  

It is a powerful show with a talented group of artists working across the media spectrum and offering  colorful expressive work.  The exhibit runs until March 9th.  Gallery hours are Tuesday - Saturday from 10 AM - 6 PM at 144 Great Road (Rte 2A), Acton, MA.

These paintings above are recent.  I am now exploring cold wax medium and oil and I am loving the versatility of this medium.   Other media included in these are India ink, crayon, graphite and pencil.  The series continues to explore the fragility of memory, a theme I have been working with for a few years now.  Intrigued by how memory can be ethereal to truly weighted, this medium allows me to explore memory's transient nature. 

I am grateful to Larry Powers and his staff for supporting my art and to the collectors who have invited my work into their home.  Thank you!

Friday, January 18, 2019


The Things We Carry
mixed media/panel

I am happy to announce that I will have paintings in Powers Gallery new show The Essence of Abstraction opening Saturday, January 26, 2019.  This exhibit will run through to March 9th.  I will be joining artists: Charlie Bluett, Kathy DeFlice-Secor, Robin Remick, Fran Busse, Ellen Rolli, Jan McElhinny, Iris Marcus, Pat Gerkin, Elizabeth Ahern, & Joe McCarthy.

My work will range from large 36" x 36" to small 6" x 6".  Many are new paintings  -  mixed media consisting of cold wax medium with oil and including graphite, India ink & crayon on panel.  Cold wax is new medium for me and one I am loving due to its versatility.  I will also have several small matted cold wax/oils on paper there.

Powers Gallery is located at 144 Great Road (rte 2A), Acton, MA.  Telephone is 978-263-5105.  For more information click this link.  Stop in next Saturday from 3-6 PM, have a glass of wine, meet the artists and enjoyed a visual feast of contemporary art.  

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


Lily Pond II
oil/paper 24" x 24"

Its unbelievable today is already the 16th of January.  My Wild Beauty show has been up for that long.  Last Friday night was the reception at SheBreathes Balance and Wellness Studio in Walpole, MA. I had a fabulous evening greeting old friends, family, former students and meeting many new acquaintances.  Seeing the paintings through others' eyes is a rewarding experience for any artist.  And catching up with everyone in colorful setting on a cold winter night of a new year was priceless. 

The Gallery Wall
Photo courtesy of Jay Wu

The show will be on display through this month.  Gallery hours are Mondays & Fridays 10-1 PM, Wednesday 10-12 PM, and open for viewing during scheduled events.  The show can also be seen by appointment by contacting Beth Knaus at

A sweet turnout of friends, family & new  aquaitances
photo by Jay Wu

photo by Jay Wu

Though I tend to favor black outfits I did wear some bright turquoise shoes that also were quite a hit!

photo courtesy of Robbin Bell

Many thanks to everyone who came Friday night!  And to Jennifer Gulbrand, owner and creator of SheBreathes Balance and Wellness Studio;  her husband Dave, art & lighting installer extraordinaire & musician; and Beth Knaus, gallery curator and owner of That's a Spade.

Friday, December 28, 2018


Wild Beauty Exhibit
photo by Pip Shepley

2019 is starting fresh with new paintings from my Wild Beauty series hanging in the beautifully appointed SheBreathes Balance and Wellness Studio in Walpole, MA.  I am very happy to be showing here again as well as launching the new year with a new show.  In 2016 my Slip series were exhibited when Jennifer Gulbrand launched this business.

SheBreathes Balance and Wellness Studio is the brainchild of Jennifer Gulbrand and her goal is to create a safe space for all women, all ages, advocating education, empowerment, balance and nurturing self-care, support and sisterhood to navigate the world.

In this exhibit I have 9 paintings, some created in the last month for this show.  Hanging the show on Wednesday afternoon was the first time I was able to see all the work in one space and breathe a sigh of relief!

Friday, January 11th from 7-8:30 PM the studio is hosting an artist's reception. The address is 85 West Street, 2nd floor, Walpole, MA  02081. 508-243-7211.  Parking is across the street from the large construction of the neighboring building and there is a walk way to the 85 West's entrance between the two buildings.  Also there is additional parking on the right at 55 West Street just before the 85 West street building.  

Please join us, experience this lovely space and see some new paintings of my Wild Beauty landscapes capturing the importance of the world, mysterious, ancient, yet reborn constantly.


Special thanks to Jennifer Gulbrand, Beth Knaus, David Gulbrand and Pip Shepley for their, invitation, support and help!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018


I am pleased to announce my class schedule for 2019 with courses and workshops at the following art centers: Concord Art, Eliot School, New Art Center and Cambridge Art Association.

Alchemy of Color II Fall 2018

At Concord Art my popular Alchemy of Color I course will resume in January and at the end of February Alchemy of Color II starts.  Here are the course descriptions:

Medium: All Mediums
Instructor: Martha Wakefield
Learn the properties and personalities of colors to make your paintings more luminous and vibrant. As Henri Matisse said, “The chief function of color should be to serve expression.” Color is the dominant element of strong paintings. In this class, we will learn the language of color and color relationships through exercises, demos and examining past and contemporary artists’ work to further enhance your color knowledge. Martha creates a supportive environment to assist each student with strengthening their expressive voice.
Tuesdays, January 8–February 12
(no class on 2/18/19)

M: $215 / NM: $265

Color Mixing
Medium: All Mediums
Instructor: Martha Wakefield
“Each color lives by its mysterious life,” said Wassily Kandinsky. In these classes, we will delve deeper into understanding the mysteries and properties of color through explorations of pigment personalities to color psychology for creating dynamic, expressive and meaningful color choices. Artists will strengthen their color knowledge through exercises, demos, critiques and examining classic and contemporary art. Students should have a general understanding of color properties and preferably taken Alchemy of Color Part 1.
Tuesdays, February 26–April 2
M: $250 / NM: $300

mixed media on paper

At the Eliot School,  I have been invited to teach a new class:
Non-Realistic Painting AC1012
Paint with an artist who investigates making images in 
non-realistic ways. Master light, shade, perspective and composition. Using acrylics, explore graphic language through a series of exercises and demos and studying the works of master artists. Work from a still life each week, honing skills to strengthen your own work and enhance your unique voice—all in a supportive, creative environment. Good for beginners as well as experienced artists. Limit 10 students 
Section 1: 8 Wednesdays, 1–4pm (Martha Wakefield)  1W: Jan 9–Feb 27 (snow day make-up Mar 6)$365. Materials list online 

Crayon Studies

Also new is a 1-day workshop Embrace the Sketchbook at Cambridge Art Association on Thursday, February 14th, 2019.

This 3-hour workshop will invite or re-engage artists to the importance of maintaining a relationship with a sketchbook.  The sketchbook is a wonderful tool in any studio practice to improve creativity, explore ideas,  stay inspired and motivated.  It becomes visual diary committing to paper those ideas rattling in the right brain. We will review some master artists’ sketchbooks (most pretty messy), sketchbook options and experiment with a variety of materials from a simple pencil to markers, paint and collage. Through exercises students can engage in the process of playing as it is the beginning stage of creativity allowing more risk taking since a “finished” piece is not the goal here.  At the end of the workshop artist may find some gems to explore further in their art practice. 
More details to follow on this workshop. 

My sketchbooks

And at the New Art Center I have been invited to teach a 1-day workshop: Dynamic Color & Expressive Painting.  This will be a landscape based workshop.  

Cascade oil/panel 18x18 2017

Dates: 3/9/2019 – 3/9/2019 – 1 sessions.
Time: 10:00AM – 4:00 PM
Painting – Martha Wakefield

In this 1-day workshop we will use the landscape as a point of departure and explore the possibilities of personal expression. Through close observation, and in-depth study of form and structure, your skills will be enhanced, leading to unity and enlivened content. By traveling beyond what is seen we will instead realize the landscape’s poetry, rendering it into an authentic and visual response. We will focus on the 2 key elements of the graphic language, and through exercises and examining master artists’ work, this workshop will support you in your artistic growth. Open to all levels. See website for materials list.

I hope you can join me for one of these classes/workshops and explore, experiment and play!

Monday, December 3, 2018


Saturday on the first day of December I delivered new paintings to Powers Gallery

Five are mixed media on birch panels framed in black floaters.  They measure 6" x 6"  to 8" x 8" panels - small and colorful work.  The media is cold wax, oil, graphite, India Ink & crayon.  These are part of my Memory Vessels series.  And cold wax is a new medium for me and I am loving its versatility. 

Along with those I also delivered nine 10" x 10" matted paintings, also mixed media on Arches oil paper.  The paintings measure 5.5" square and are matted with 6 ply archival mat & backing board.  (Note the color of the mat is not color correct as this is leaning towards yellow.)  These paintings I did in June when I was an artist in residence in France.  

This is one of the paintings on panel, titled Mixing Memory & Desire, so inspired by a T.S Eliot poem.  The new work has not been added to my website yet.  That is another project.  However you can see these paintings at Powers Gallery in Acton, MA.  Their hours are Tuesday - Saturday 10 AM to 6 PM.  The telephone number is 978-263-5105.   In the meantime more small works are in process and progressing.