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November 13, 2015

An Art Project with Hospice in Memory of My Father
The Healing Power of Art & Artists

by Meg Black

Meg Black is a foremost artist and pioneer working with natural fibers for over 30 years. Her art is in numerous private and public collections and healthcare facilities. In this article Meg Black shares insight about her firsthand experience with Hospice care, her desire to reach out to build new relationships, and her desire to use her creative skills for the greater good. It is also an article about an experience that connects her with her beloved father and a kind of tribute to his memory and the positive traits they share.  ~ Renée Phillips, Editor, The Healing Power of Art & Artists

As an artist, I am inspired by nature. When considering nature, I do not try to copy the natural world as I see it but, rather, as I feel it. Moved by the natural light and organic shapes I observe in the places I visit seeking inspiration, I try to capture in my work the essence and mood of the place as well as to formulate a graphic interpretation of what I see.

I create my work with beaten abaca, a natural fiber which is used to make nautical rope and artist canvas. I love how the texture of this media provides an almost three-dimensional quality to the finished surface, thus mimicking nature in all its splendor.

Learning About The Good Work of Hospice

Twenty years ago I met Diane Stringer, CEO of Hospice of the North Shore (now called Care Dimensions), when she became a patron of my artwork. She originally bought one of my paintings through an art gallery, and we became friends. I learned from her just how sensitive and caring Hospice staff was for patients and their families.

I had the opportunity to find this out more personally for myself when several years ago my dad was diagnosed with cancer. He opted not to undergo any invasive treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation. As he became more ill, our family came to rely more heavily on Hospice care. The hospice staff came to our house and made my dad as comfortable as they could, and relieved my mom for some much needed rest. I thought of Diane often during this time and how central she is to the Hospice community.

After my dad died, I realized we were both really creative thinkers in different ways. And while my creativity came from art making and his was in business, we both understood the importance of sharing our love for our work with others and using what skills we have to our potential.

About The Hospice Annual Auction: How It Helps Others

As a subscriber to the Hospice mailing list, I became aware of their annual auction, which began 22 years ago. Proceeds from the auction provide comprehensive and compassionate support for children and adult affected by advanced illness, death and loss. Although I don’t typically donate my artwork to auctions, I could tell this event was different. The artwork in the auction was prominently displayed on the Hospice Web Site Home page, along with the artist’s biography and link to his web site. The original work was showcased in a local and highly respected art gallery along with a reception for art patrons and auction organizers to attend and meet the artist. A high quality reproduction of the artwork was printed on the auction invitation, and Giclées of the painting were offered for sale, both at the gallery and at the auction itself. Most importantly, there was only one artist and one painting to be auctioned, not several works competing for exposure. And, Hospice hired a professional auctioneer to manage the event.

My Artwork For The Auction: Enjoying The Process

Realizing that this was an example of the creative thinking I shared with my dad in that it was a good business opportunity to get out and introduce myself to a whole new audience, I called Diane and offered to donate a painting for the June, 2016 auction. She happily agreed, and I have been working on ideas for the painting ever since.

As the auction will be held at a Yacht Club, and coordinate with a sailing regatta, the subject of the painting will be about sailing in New England. I love how the ropes used by the sailors will be made of the same abaca that I will use to make the painting.

I have been working on sketches for the painting, meeting with auction staff, and, this past summer, accompanied my photographer friend on his Boston Whaler to photograph actual sailing races. I plan to document my creative process, post images of the work in progress, and ultimately share the finished painting on my blog and in my newsletter. And, I will be channeling my dad the whole time, and know that he is saying, yep, this is how it’s done!

 


Since 1978, Care Dimensions has provided comprehensive and compassionate care for individuals and families dealing with life-threatening illnesses. As the non-profit leader in advanced illness care, we offer services in more than 90 communities in Eastern Massachusetts.