, Gloucester, MA

March 7, 2013

The legacy of Margaret Laurie

Living Colors gala, show salute artist's watercolors

By Gail McCarthy
Staff Writer

---- — Local Colors, the downtown artists collaborative in Gloucester, will pay homage to one of its past members, the late Margaret Laurie, a watercolor painter for more than half a century.

The Main Street shop will host a show of her work, organized by her daughter, Jeannine Lynch, who along with Peter Phillips will perform fiddle music on flute and guitar for the festive occasion Saturday from 4 to 7 p.m. The program is free and open to the public.

Laurie, a Gloucester native daughter, was a member of Local Colors for about seven years, and she is still fondly remembered by her artistic colleagues. She died last September at the age of 83.

”We are all so thrilled to do this show and we all want to support this,” said Sally Seamans, also known as Tin Can Sally, for her whimsical tin and wire works.

Seamans noted that Laurie was a long-time member who had a great following on Cape Ann.

”She was our wonderful watercolor artist. She was so recognizable in her artwork,” said Seamans. “My favorite part of her artwork was the waves. She did waves more spectacularly than anyone. She had great power in her waves — they are just stunning. I would sit in the shop and just look at them.”

Nearly all the 18 Local Color artists are expected to be at the public event.

Laurie worked out of her East Gloucester studio, which was also a popular place for her shows. She was a teacher for decades, sharing her varied experiences with her countless students.

“I think painting is the ultimate harmonious expression of a love of life,” she said in an artist statement.

In an interview the year before her death, Laurie said she had fond memories of her teaching and the feedback from her students. One former student from out of town stopped Laurie while leaving the North Shore Arts Association to tell her, “Every time I paint a tree, I think of you.”

Another former student, a Cambridge woman, wrote an ode to Margaret, with one stanza reading: “... we learned to use cerulean blue, hoping to paint just like you. You taught us to paint in any weather, in any terrain we worked together.”

Laurie was known for local seascapes. She said she worked to capture not only the natural beauty of the ocean but also its vital force. She painted outside, weathering all the elements, so she could experience firsthand the ever-changing moods of nature.

Her daughter recalled how her mother influenced many budding artist in her classes and the many workshops she held, whether on Cape Ann, or away at Monhegan Island in Maine, New Hampshire and even Florida.

”I am forever getting testimonials from these artists,” said Lynch. “But what I find more interesting, are all the local people who talk about the Margaret Laurie paintings that they have acquired. Her goal had always been for the common people to buy original art and she certainly succeeded there.”

She also noted how her mother always supported her music.

“She was my most avid appreciator, and I have played piano and flute at many a gallery opening,” said Lynch, whose CD titled “Lark in the Library” is only sold at the library to raise money for Sawyer Free Library. The CD has two of her mother’s paintings on it.

The opening gala takes place Saturday, with a wine and cheese reception from 4 to 7 p.m. at Local Colors at 121 Main St. in Gloucester. The show runs to March 30.

Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3445, or at