Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Rocky Neck Art Colony

I was tickled pink ( as my father used to say)
when I came across the picture below. It is the door 
to my mother's art gallery 
which is now open for summer business.

The door is featured on the blog of an enthusiastic writer by the name of Joey C. 
He created Good Morning Gloucester and with that the Gloucester Door Series
He points out that a door has a story and can reveal much about the people who live behind 
it and on a wider whole....the community itself. I think he is on to something. 
Joey writes...

"You can tell a lot about a community by the door on its buildings. 
The door on Alma McLaughlin's Gallery is one that holds 
many parallels with the city we love, Gloucester. It's both worn 
and beautiful with many layers of paint much like the layers of character 
that is the fabric of our city. This is a door that has seen it all 
and beams bright and beautiful. "

Painting by Alma McLaughlin
If you are not familiar with Gloucester, it is a seaport, 
north of Boston, in Massachusetts, along the East Coast of the USA. 
I grew up in a neighbouring town and like Joey, share a love for Cape Ann. 

Rocky Neck Art Colony

My mother's gallery is tucked away in Smith Cove, home to the Rocky Neck Art Colony. 
The history of this colony dates back 150 years or more. It has attracted painters, poets and 
visionaries with it's gentle tidal waves and scenic beauty. It is one of the oldest working 
art colonies in America. Not only has it inspired a host of well known American artists 
including Fitz Henry Lane, Edward Hopper and Winslow Homer it has also been a place 
of inspiration for writers including Louisa May Alcott and Rudyard Kipling. I was last 
there in 2009 and I have to say, not much has changed since I ran along the 
sidewalks 45 years ago. ( I was around 5 years old back then, give or take a few ).

Painting by Alma McLaughlin
My mother has spent the last 25 years as part of this community. I wrote about
my mother's love of painting, here. I was lucky enough to enjoy the peaceful serenity 
of this artist haven when I was a young girl. I have fond memories of family boat rides 
into Smith Cove, docking at the local boat yard, my Dad waiting patiently 
while we ran to the local penny candy store for our special treat of the day.

My father's passion, his Chris Craft boat.
I loved that penny candy store! I would fill my little brown paper bag to the brim 
with sticky, squiggly, yummy penny candy. Along the way, I would stop and linger
over a garden, loving created with soft blue sea glass, drift wood and sea shells 
collected from the local beach. I remember wind chimes hanging from branches overhead,
each one a tribute to it's creator. With these images tucked away in my mind, we would
run back to the boat and make our way home along the shore line of Cape Ann.
Some memories never fade, I am so thankful to have this one.

A snippet of sea glass and sea shells from my collection.

Painting by Alma McLaughlin

If you visit Rocky Neck today, you will find all things bright and beautiful.
Some things are much the same as they were all those years ago.
I love that it has held on to it's identity. May it continue to do so for many years.

If you make your way to Rocky Neck Art Colony this summer,
be sure to stop in to the Alma McLaughlin Gallery with the blue door 
and tell Alma...Jeanne sent you. :) 

Alma's Art & Antiques (Mom)

More on Rocky Neck Art Colony....

      Book, here
     Brochure and Map, here
     Rocky Neck Historic Art Trail, here

a few years from now, who knows....
you may find me there too :)

Photos and information about the Rocky Neck Art Colony located here.
Blue Door image from Good Morning Gloucester, here.
All other images~me.


  1. Hi again Jeanne....especially like you mom's painting of the boathouse and boat..something very familiar about it that reminds me of my youth.

    Great day to you!

  2. Thanks is the type of painting that lures you in and makes you want to take a deep breath. I can smell the salt air already...and I think low tide too! :)

  3. It's a great door, and may I say what a fan I am of your mom's work? Her art really takes your heart and brings you right there. Lovely. Truly lovely.

  4. Hi Jeanne, I love this story about your Mom's gallery and the Rocky Neck Art Colony in Massachusetts. That part of the world is very special to me because I went to college in Maine and the pictures you posted reminded me of artists colonies in Maine. There is something so authentic about these small towns in New England and I try to visit whenever I can. Because I am still involved with my alma mater Bates College I am often in Maine and my husband and I have driven along the coast from Ogunquit to Camden. I have bought some of my favorite little paintings in galleries like your Mom's in Kennebunkport and Camden. One of my favorite things to do is have a bowl of clam chowder at MC cafe in Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, Maine and then walk through the quaint little village and also along the ocean. Your pictures brought a smile to my face and I would love to visit your mother's gallery!
    xx Sunday

  5. I love it! It seems so serene, you are so lucky to have grown up in such a wonderful place. I LOVE THE BLUE DOOR! Thanks for sharing.

  6. What a wonderful door! It looks so inviting. You write with such heart about your mum, there's clearly a lot of pride there and rightly so.She claerly a talented artist.
    I would love to pay her a visit one day x.

  7. I love the blue door...
    and the painting of your father's boat...
    it could be our Chris Craft!

    You come from talented artistic stock Jeanne.
    Your lovely images are evidence that the talent has been passed on!

  8. Such a beautiful door . . . I really want to go inside and meet your mom and see all the art.


  9. Love the door and your mother's work. I have printed the post andput them in my travel notes:-)

  10. Beautiful memories, beautiful art!

  11. What a great post Jeanne, now I know where your artistic talent comes from. Your mum's paintings are awesome, as for her blue door, I just want to go on in and see all the wonderful art on display.

    Fantastic place to grow up in, with so many memories for you.

  12. Thank you all for your very kind comments, I am sure my mother is just beaming over them. She has my blogs loaded onto her laptop and is just getting the hang of Facebook. I am sure that many a visitor will see your lovely comments. She loves to share!

  13. Beautiful post! I love that you featured your mother, as well as your description of the area and memories of penny candy. xoxo

  14. Your mom is so adorable standing in her doorway. What an enchanting way to spend her days...and to share them with you. And now us. :)
    Thank you for this lovely post and for your mother's lovely paintings.

  15. I love the blue door which opens to the magical and beautiful world of your mothers art and your childhood.

    I too have wonderful memories of the penny candy store around the corner from my grandparents house...when 25 cents was a lot of money for a little one.

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend,

  16. Hi Jeanne! I so loved this post! And, it was so nice to "meet" your Mom! We are big fans of the Cape Ann area and try to get over that way at least several times during the summer season. The next time we will make sure to seek out that blue door and introduce ourselves. I can certainly now see where this wonderful artistic talent of yours comes from! --Joe

  17. So fortunate are you to have grown up in such an idyllic locale. This is just one of my favourite parts of the country. How I would love to pop into your Mother's lovely gallery tomorrow morning!

  18. Hello Jeanne

    Your mother's work is energetic and passionate. Her paintings display an understanding of the area depicted in the paintings. When my travels take me to New England, I shall definitely visit her studio. Beautiful!
    Helen Tilston


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