Memorial Day

Memorial Day – 24″ x 26″

Memorial Day

A sketch of this painting appears in the catalogue that we made for this series. Here’s a peak…


It’s always fun to look back and see how closely I come to the initial ideas for a composition. In this case what I seemed to have been most focused on was the quality of those raking shadows across the clapboard. The colors and intensity within varied wildly from one side of the wall to the other and the colors of the fire escape bounced back up to influence them further. And the title, which came to me in part because I started the sketching on Memorial Day, and mostly because the colors and the lines somehow kept reminding me of those patriotic swags that drape over holiday porch railings.

This was actually the last one I painted in the series. I was winding down after spending over 300 hours working on the big one, which you will see tomorrow, and was positively bleary eyed from all the tiny details. Once again, I realized that this last one had to embody all the lessons learned about peeling paint and rusting iron, how much wavy glass to leave in and leave out, how to stay true to the architecture and its weathering and mostly, how long it takes to build up a realistic portrait of over a hundred years of the life of a giant old building, that sits on top of a hill, on an island, off the coast of New England.


Martha’s sweet goodbye…


For 19 years Martha has been a trusty, loyal and sassy set of wheels for Miss Pat. Many of you have ridden in Martha, or been picked up at airports, or driven for a swim at the lake, or over the river and through the woods to and from Gran’s house, or buckled your children’s car seats in, or had your backpacks and hiking gear stowed in the trunk, or your prom date’s dress tucked safely in, or helped to load her up with mulch or bales of hay, or waved as Gran drove her slowly away from your houses. Coming or going…this blue Volvo and Pat Lackey  have been one undifferentiated ego mass …from hello… and all who have had the pleasure of coming along for the ride have been kept safe by her dearold  machine.

We knew the time was soon approaching when we would need to think about letting her ease into retirement. And for years, literally thousands of miles, Pat worried that Martha might be on her last legs. I mean really…. read this number carefully…

Our only serious concern was that Volvo only put six spaces on this odometer. Her magician of a mechanic Shane has kept this old girl humming for almost half a million miles. And Herself has been religious about keeping Martha oiled up and shiny. 

It came down to air. Really WE gave out before she did. One more summer without air-conditioning was the final straw. But still… the thought of having to give her over to an auto auction…to a STRANGER ! Well, it just was too hard to bear. But as luck would have it, our grandson Isaac was in need of a car and he jumped at the change to, in his words, “take her off our hands”.

So we set Bob to the task of finding us a new ride and he sure got us a sweet one…and… at only  2004…such a youngster !


 So Isaac and Pete met us at the dealership this morning and we signed on the dotted line. Pat got roses and I got a hat and we all got Wilbur chocolate and we each got keys. Isaac got a lesson in where the fuses are…every single thing that has ever gone wrong with this car has been fixed with a 5 dollar fuse…

and she got some shiny new plates…

and now Martha will get to do some city driving with a dreadlocked dude at the wheel. We know she’s in good hands because she raised all of the grandchildren. Isaac’s DNA and crumbs from his ice cream cones are an important part of her patina. So as hard as it was for Pat to say goodbye to her longtime companion and protector…it was with great pride  that she could hand the keys, to a car in such great shape with over 440,000 well earned miles on her,  to her grandson who will get some serious bragging rights and will take her for the next half a million miles.

Thank you for keeping my family safe Martha, I lift my chocolate bar to you !