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May 26, 2016

North Shore artist donates painting to Care Dimensions
Marblehead Reporter

By Mary Reines

Meg Black’s luminous artwork “Memories of Marblehead,” might look like a traditional painting at first glance. But the image was created with pieces of abaca, which is used to make nautical rope, that were carefully beaten and dyed for Black’s purpose. Black uses a machine, a Hollander beater, to manipulate the abaca, working it for different lengths of time depending on its placement in the image.

“If I want to make water, I beat it for 20 hours,” Black said. “If I beat it less, I will have a much more textured surface. The rocks and the clouds will be beaten less.”

Black’s art can include hundreds of layers of abaca in some section and dozens in others. She pigments the abaca with spoons, a turkey baster and old credit cards.

“I can create layers like skin from what I’m beating now,” she said. “It will be so fine, but yet still so tough. When I paint with the very fine layer, it would look as if you’re looking through water.”

“Memories of Marblehead” does not depict a specific place in Marblehead, but rather an amalgam of many photographs that Black took and views that she had on her friend’s boat. Black aimed to convey a familiar scene that was inspired by her personal experiences.

Black, who lives in Topsfield, is the signature artist for the 22nd Annual Care Dimensions Auction & Regatta. The donated artwork, “Memories of Marblehead,” will be featured on all Regatta materials and limited edition prints and notecards will be made of the painting with proceeds to benefit Care Dimensions. The original painting will be auctioned during the Hospice Dinner & Auction on Friday, June 17, 2016 at the Boston Yacht Club, 1 Front Street, Marblehead. The Hospice Regatta will take place on Sunday, June 19, 2016, also at the Boston Yacht Club in Marblehead.

Black’s family relied on Care Dimensions when her father was diagnosed with cancer several years ago. After his death, Black decided to honor his memory and help her friend, Care Dimensions President Diane Stringer, by donating a painting. With her father in mind, Black was inspired to make something exceptional.

“My dad was so encouraging of my work,” Black said. “So I thought, ‘I’m gonna make a painting, the best painting I can.’”

Marblehead’s sunlit craggy rocks are in the foreground of Black’s painting. As a transplant to New England from Syracuse, New York, she finds this view enchanting and metaphorical. She compared the rocks to the earth and the water to people.

“Rocks are very strong and permanent, and nothing is softer than water, and yet the two of them crash each other all the time,” she said. “The world is permanent, but we are ephemeral.”

Black said that the rocks also symbolized her father, who was a fixture in her life.

“He was my rock, he was anchor, he was such a great guy,” she said. “He was only here for a short amount of time.”

Black is enthusiastic about sharing her painting with others and helping an organization that is close to her heart.

“I’m just excited. I hope that people like the painting,” she said. “It meant a lot to me to work with Diane Stringer, who I love.”

To learn more about Black visit To buy tickets to the 22nd Annual Care Dimensions Auction & Regatta visit


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 95 communities in Eastern Massachusetts.