Ted and Pete as Muses

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.

ted holding lily

ted on dock

Gay Head Lily

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.

Brick Yard Tea

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.

grillmaster pete

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.

skillet apple pie

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.


Tiasquin Orchard

And the man himself…
The Muse

who sits in this chair across from my easel
and reminds me, every day,
that I am all the better
for knowing that twinkle
in his mishcievous
and loving eye.


Never trust a man,
who when left alone
in a room with a teacozy,
does’t try it on.

Billy Connolly



I have a lot of things to say about this man…but right now the words are twisted up in my heart.

Last Tuesday, just about the exact time our electricity surged and vanished, so too did his heart.

The ensuing days in the cold and dark were made for the stalwart steadfast Yankee spirited New Englanders, like him. And the distractions of simple survival were just that, distractions.

Only now, as power has been restored and the outside world has followed the newly spliced cables into my studio space,
and the furnace has begun to restore my frozen digits,
and the breath is beginning to return to my soul…
only today am I able to return to the easel,
across from which is this painting,
which I am so glad I didn’t sell when someone pressured me a while back,
because I need him there,
since he is no longer sitting in his Chilmark wingback,
answering my phone call,
and directing the brushes from afar.

Ted Meinelt,
it’s all right then.