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.  

Sunday, November 25, 2018


Happy Holidays!  Thanksgiving was delicious and now our thoughts will turn to sugarplums.  I was in Maine over the holiday at my childhood home visiting my family. Early snow has already covered the ground.  The day was cold with a chilling wind and the temperature hovering around 10 degrees (F).  Outside a pile of wood was covered in snow as if to hide from being handled.  After filling the bird feeders and relishing the fact it was also a very sunny day I decided to deal with it. 

Stacking wood can be considered a labor intensive muscle aching boring job.  It is not one I get to do often.  And there are many experts in my family who know how to stack a stable pile.  But I discovered the whole process to be meditative and inspiring realizing I was transforming a pile of haphazardly spilled logs into something different.  As I worked I started to look for certain shapes of wood to make the puzzle all snap into place.  And I relished being outside on a cold day quietly working while listening to the sounds of the wintery world.

Here it is (not quite finished) against the backboard where I hit many a tennis balls growing up and the basketball hoop where my brother and I would play endless games of round the world.  

My sister found this bird nest on the road by the lake.  It was sitting there as if waiting for her.  A gift from the birds.  This nest is small.  It will fit in the palm of your hand.  But to see it is the witness a marvelous creation that these photos do not do justice to.  This is art.

The birds used twigs, pine needles and birch bark to mold this fine nest.  It would be an event of a lifetime to see them actually building this.  

I was thinking of how the wood pile and this nest are both examples of building something from something else.  Of giving new life to what surrounds us.  And taking time to build the things that can bring such joy even though their original goal is more of need... for a home or for heat.

So if your are in the studio stuck with your work not progressing the way you want it to think about stacking wood or better yet take a walk in the woods. breathe the air, listen to the sounds of the forest and look up, down and all around as a gift may fall from the sky.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018


New work oil on paper on panel

This new series Grey Matter is mixed media on Arches oil paper mounted on birch panel.  Each painting measures 7" x 5" x 1.5" deep.  They are created to either be displayed individually or as a group of four.

Grey Matter 1

The mixed media consists of cold wax, oils, graphite, India ink, pencil and pastel.  Cold wax is a new medium of me.  I took a class with my friend Pam Caughey last April in Snow Hill, Maryland.  This is a medium I have wanted to learn for sometime and Pam is the teacher I wanted to learn it from.

Grey Matter 2

I love the versatility of this medium and have been exploring it since spring in many small paintings gradually working bigger.  Painting in black, white and the greys that result from mixing these two colors is a wonderful palette to explore a new medium.  I love black and white and the graphic impact that results.

Grey Matter 4

These paintings are now available on Saatchi Art.  They offer a modern clean graphic punch for any space large and small.

Grey Matter 3

Side view

Monday, September 10, 2018


The Wild Unknown
30" x 22"
mixed media on paper

My new class Expressive Non-Realistic Painting with acrylics is starting Wednesday, October 3rd, for 8 weeks at The Eliot School.  The class will be held at the Annex classroom on 253 Amory Street in Jamaica Plain.  Class time is 1-4 PM.

If you are interested in loosening up, become more expressive and push your work towards abstraction this is the class for you.  We will cover foundations of the graphic language, do painting exercises to warm up then explore and experiment with paints, other tools and mediums.  And we will look at the masters from Claude Monet to Jean-Michel Basquiat and present day artists exploring abstraction.

I give each artist personal attention and help each one strengthen her or his unique voice supporting the creative journey.

You can download the catalog here

I hope to see you in class!


Wednesday, July 25, 2018


acrylic on yup

I will be teaching a new class at The Eliot School this fall.  Below is the class description and note a slight spelling error of my name - the f & i missing.  I am excited to be an instructor at the Eliot School and I'm honored that the new program director Claudia Fiks invited me.  In the past I too have been a student there taking the exceptional life drawing intensive with Bob Siegelman. I look forward to meeting new students this October and supporting them on their artistic  journey of non-realistic painting.  

Here is the class description from The Eliot School Fall 2018 catalog: 

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 18 Wednesdays, 1–4pm (Martha Wake eld)1F: Oct 3–Nov 28 (no class Nov 21)1WJan 9–Feb 27 (snow day make-up Mar 6) $365Materials list online.

If interested you can download a PDF of the course catalog and register online.  

Friday, July 20, 2018


Preserving Memories
oil & cold wax on paper

I just mailed this painting to a new collector in France via the USPS.  FYI: They are an excellent source for shipping small works overseas at a reasonable price.  

This work was actually created in France while attending an artist residency in the countryside of Orquevaux, a small town 3 hours due east of Paris.  I was fortunate to spend two weeks at this residency experimenting with a new media for me: cold wax with oil.

In April I took a cold wax medium workshop given by my friend Pamela Caughey.  Pam and I met a few years ago at a workshop with Nicholas Wilton.  She is a very talented multi-discipline artist and an exceptional teacher.  This is a media I have wanted to take up for some time and Pam is the one I wanted to study with.

I will post the new work created at this residency as well as write about my time there in these summer days to come.  If you want to see the work now please visit my Instagram account.

In January I shipped a landscape painting done in 2017 to Tasmania. Its an honor to have international collectors!

Saturday, July 7, 2018


Fragments of March: Chance of Snow
mixed media/paper
22" x 30"

When I arrive home from France last Monday a letter was waiting for me with the exciting news of a  home for this painting.  I am grateful to Powers Gallery for making this happen.  This was shown in their exhibit Contemporary Vision 2018 and is the second of my paintings to sell in this show.  They did a magnificent job framing it too I must add.

I did a series of these paintings last year in March of 2017 (it seems so long ago) when winter was dicey as it was this past March with 4 blizzards.  Each painting is mixed media consisting of acrylics, India ink, acrylic ink, graphite, and crayon on 300 lb cold press Waterford Saunders paper.  If interested in seeing more from this series please visit Powers Gallery.  

Friday, July 6, 2018


The White Rabbit
Image from Google

I feel like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland as I was very late in responding to Boston Voyager's interview.  And I am not a fast writer.  Instead I need to write a few drafts to develop a voice.  To complete the interview I had sign on to their link and get the questions from there with boxes to fill with my reply.  I copied the 3 questions and worked on my answers separately.  Little did I know a question might change when I revisited  the site.  So I was stumped by the last "new" question and under the gun with my lateness. 

This was the last question:  

The sterotype of a starving artist scares away many potentially talented artists from pursuing art – any advice or thoughts about how to deal with the financial concerns an aspiring artist might be concerned about?

And my answer rushed and overall disappointing:

There are many challenges facing artists today as well as many more platforms to promote their work. Think about multiple streams to get paid one’s art or expertise and/or promote one’s work: teaching, blogging, social media, YouTube videos and galleries, etsy, online galleries, local art organizations, alumni events, college galleries, open studio, house party, licensing, meet-ups/networking, pop up shows. alternative spaces, interior designers, Kickstarter campaigns, mentoring etc. Also find a small supportive group of peers to help get through those challenging times.

Today I came across my draft with the answer to the original last question.  To  redeem myself I am posting part II here:   

Given everything that is going on in the world today, do you think the role of artists has changed? How do local, national or international events and issues affect your art?

I don’t think the role of artists has changed per se as artists have always seen the world through a different lens and been inventive it in sharing their vision with the world. If any thing what has changed is the ability to access art and artists on an international scale.  With our phones and social media we can travel the globe engaging with artists in different time zones.  And these platforms offer artists the world.  As the talented Pamela Zagarenski magnificently illustrated this culture on her Instragam site #sacredbee (post on May 21st),  “We are all One, each person – their own story - but together we create the whole…” 

These are challenging times and we are all affected by the national and international events.  I try not to let any of that enter the studio with me.  When I am there my phone is off and music is on.  

Another part of my job that I love is teaching painting.  I have been doing this since 2012 teaching to all ages and I am constantly inspired by the innate desire to create and be creative. Knowing this about the human spirit I don’t understand why the arts are always marginalized when it comes to financial cutbacks. I do worry about the lack of funding for art and artists locally, nationally and internationally.  School programs, artist housing, exhibition spaces and art institutions need financial aid to encourage the vitality and community the arts offer. I would love to see the Sunday talk shows inundated with painters, sculptures, photographers, printmakers etc. talking about the state of union instead of our ineffective politicians. How refreshing it would be to hear them because we know these are leaders who know how to take action, promote and revitalize communities. 

At least I get to mention that i am a huge fan of the artist Pamela Zagarenski and her inspiring work! Please check it out.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


at my studio
photo credit: Pip Shepley

I am very excited to be included in Boston Voyager's section on The Thought Provokers: Celebrating Artists and Creatives.  Of course this article ran on June 4th and I am just getting to blog about it now.  Still a month later the excitement continues.  You can read the full article by clicking here

The editor, Ed Clark, contacted me about one of my daily studio warm-ups he saw on Instagram.  It is always rewarding to know one's work even a warm-up of mark making can resonate with an audience.  These are an important part of my studio  practice.

The top photo was shot in my studio by photographer Pip Shepley, also my husband.  I am not comfortable having to "pose" but pose I did and having the company of a painting in process helped.

Since this article was posted online I have been to France, spending a week in Paris, then two weeks at an artist residency in the countryside and a few more days back in Paris.  We just returned Monday, July 2nd.  Jet lag and culture shock are slowly dissipating.

I will be posting about my trip in the days to come.  France is a very inspiring country and will feed my creative soul in the weeks ahead.

In the meantime I am grateful to Boston Voyager and the editor Edward Clark.  Check out their informative, hip online magazine and meet other thought provokers in the Boston area.

Thursday, May 24, 2018


Intimate IV
30 x 22

Today I am heading over to UPS to drop off a large box containing this painting.  It is traveling to New Mexico to new owners and people very dear to me.  I am very exciting knowing they love this painting enough to bring it into their home.  This is from my Slip Series started in 2011 exploring presence and absence of a loved one.

Crocket Cove
14 x 14

Crockett Cove is oil on panel created last July while in Stonington, ME.  I spent a few days in one of the many stunning coves painting with fellow artists and watching the tide ebb and flow.  This was in the Near and Far exhibit,  a two person show I did last August with artist K. Velis Turan  at Law and Water Gallery in Gloucester, MA.  

A collector from across the globe bought this. He saw it on the gallery's website!  Searching shipping options I was pleasantly surprised that the USPS offered the best deal to delivery this painting to Tasmania. It took about 10 days to reach the collector and thankfully he sent me an email confirming his delight in the painting.

Dream Catchers
mixed media/paper
30 x 22

Dream Catcher was recently shown in the Contemporary Visions 2018 exhibit at Powers Gallery in Acton, MA.  And I am grateful that the staff of Powers has found a new home for another one of my paintings.  Thank you Powers Gallery!

This painting is part of my Memory Vessels series exploring the ethereal containers that hold memories.  Another interesting coincidence is that the new collector of my slip above is also the same person who introduced me to dream catchers also known as dream snares originating with the Ojibwa tribe.  

Originally these were used as protective charms hung over infants cribs.  I have been researching how dreams and the subconscious affects our retention of memory.  And I have a very large dream catcher hanging in my bedroom to snare any disturbing dreams.  So far this one has worked magically.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018


I just returned a few days ago from a month long residency at Weir Farm Art Center in Wilton, CT.  This friendly buffalo is not my creation but a symbol of the National Parks Service. Weir Farm National Historic Site, established in 1990, is the only National Park Service site dedicated to American painting.  Since 1998 the Weir Farm Art Center has invited over 200 plus artists from the US and abroad to participate in their residency program. 

 When I arrived on March 1st, there was no snow on the ground.  In fact when I was packing it was 60 degrees in Boston.  I did throw a pair of shorts into my suitcase... silly me. 

I had use of a very spacious studio (all to myself and a space one wants to take home with them) that looked east into the woods and west into the fields.  The trees, sky, birds, wind, and the sun rising and setting was a constant source of inspiration as were the 4 northeaster's we had in March.  Luckily the power stayed on even though all around the area large trees collapsed due to the high winds.

The cottage, steps away from the studio, is very comfortable and cozy.  I loved walking out the door and having 60 acres of nature to explore by foot or snowshoe depending.  Weir Pond became a daily jaunt as the water deep blue one day and glazed by ice the next called to me.  Each of the four snowstorms  refreshed the landscape in creative ways and being there by myself allowed me the time and space to witness the magic.   I could not have asked for a better month from Mother Nature.  

Below is an example of my art journal warm-ups.  These continued each morning as a way to center myself in the studio and get ready for a day of painting, experimenting and exploring.  I posted several of these warm-ups on Instagram along with the beginning stages of paintings and my daily wanderings.

My camera, a Nikon D80, was as important a tool as my paints for this residency.  I photographed over 500 images of the natural world to capture not just the large scale but the intimate landscape.  Many of these are paired with small paintings as diptychs.  Some of my paintings are inspired by the landscape and other times the paintings found its partner in the landscape.

Here is one pairing. 

12" x 12" digital photography and 12" x 12" mixed media/panel 2018

Now I just need to unpack, organize, photograph the new work and get back into the studio!