Ted and Pete have made quite a splash in their Cover debut on the American Art Collector Magazine this month, and I thought you would like to see some of their other inspirations as Muses.
Over the years, they each gave me the great gift of seeing the island of Martha’s Vineyard through their eyes. Both had DNA spread liberally across generations and rolling fields and they had an eager student of island history in my eager ears.
Ted and his wife Polly sent me wandering down many a sandy trail through brambles and over rocky rutted roads in pursuit of hidden landmarks and relics of island lore. After Polly left us, Ted rode shotgun on those adventures and navigated us to some seriously back-of-the-beyond treasures.
One such romp was to find the elusive Gay Head Lily. We ended up announcing ourselves in this lovely woman’s yard at the end of a long lane and out Ted, the celebrated head of the island garden club, waltzed to her dock along the pond to show me the flowers. Stunning. As I look back today, his hand seems far more delicate than those petals, but oh the wonders, that magician that he was, our Ted, could pull out of his hat.
Here’s a link to the original blog entry describing this painting…Click Here.
Another fine day found Ted and PG Harris and I bouncing along an old carriage path in my truck in search of The Brickyard. Ted thought it would be sorta fun to see it, and introduced me to PG whose family owned the property, and, after a couple hours of historical lecture on the area…off we three drove…I mean there we were in the middle of three glorious old fields surrounded by ancient stone walls and PG points to a small break in the stone and says, “Just drive over and through there and we’ll see.”
The Painter’s Notes give the rest of the story…click here… but suffice it to say, now that they are both floating somewhere high above that island…that adventure was one of my all time favorite memories.
Now, Peter Darling, well…he was just Pete. We called him the Admiral because he always had binoculars around his neck and was ever watchful from his deck. Not nothing, not no one, got past his old farm house on Greenhouse Lane without Pete knowin’ about it. Many a stranded sailor was rescued by the coast guard that Pete had hailed after spying their distress from his perch on top of those bluff steps. And every feather of the nesting osprey was monitored by their stalwart steward of a neighbor.
There is a tiny knoll in the long lane, right by his house, and I took to honking my horn with each passage so as to let oncoming traffic be wary, (and just between you and me…to keep the Admiral on his toes !). The very last time I heard from Pete, he had brought out a great big foghorn to his porch and answered my heralding call with his own. I really loved that.
These two views of Pete’s house give you an idea of the depth of beauty that surrounds the Darling’s farmhouse. His wife Della is there now and I’m eager to see her next week to give her a big hug and hear how life on the lane is faring this season. Della is a great fisherman and a lover of walks. In her travels, she has worn a path all along the perimeter of those old stone walls. I hear that some daisies grow there to welcome her in the late spring. She has earned them.
A couple of years ago…the year of the Apple Series, I spent the winter listening to the double trouble musings of Ted and Pete.
Pete was a tremendous trove of knowledge of Up Island lore and indeed history of all flavors. He loaned me a couple old tin coffee pots, the kind that were used over campfires by campers and travelers to cook up the early morning brew. The dear little one that made it into the Skillet Apple Pie painting was my favorite. Looking back, I should have blown some smoke out of that thing. Pete woulda loved that.
The core of this series, (written before the pun hit me, sorry), was the modeling session with Ted in the Magnuson’s Tiasquin Orchard…which all started with Chris’s suggestion…and the rest of that story is in these Painter’s Notes…click here.
Never trust a man,
who when left alone
in a room with a teacozy,
does’t try it on.