A case of ‘Decades of Dabbling’

May 03, 2014
Selections from Margaret McCrea’s lifetime of “Dabbling” in art are displayed at Thomaston Public Library.

Thomaston — In May, Thomaston Public Library's primary display case features artwork by another member of the talented Thomaston McCrea family; painter Margaret McCrea’s eclectic display is titled “Decades of Dabbling.”

Having mastered her coloring books, McCrea started freehand drawing and, by age 11, was taking her first oil paintings to an artist-neighbor for critiques. While dabbling with oil paints in the 1970s, she became interested in the resurgence of theorem painting, an art form practiced in young girls’ finishing schools in the early 19th century. She offered her work locally and in a national mail-order catalog.

McCrea switched from oils to watercolors in the 1990s while making extended cruises aboard Panacea, her family’s 32-foot Freedom sailboat. Instead of a camera, she used brush and paint to record the color and images from different islands and countries visited, filling multiple journals and photo albums. In 2004, Down East published “Maine Sail,” a collection of work from her Maine cruising journals and watercolors painted on location.

As a long-time member of Spring Bull Gallery in Newport, R.I., McCrea participated in numerous local, state and national art exhibitions. She firmly believes art is all about enjoyment and having fun. To this end, she created several “fakes” for an annual Fakes and Forgeries event; and participated in a statewide RI Tourism promotion (Rhode Island's home to Hasbro Toys) by creating an oversized Mr. Potato Head dubbed “Spud Light.”

McCrae currently is working on a wall mural of the Thomaston waterfront in her front parlor. Her marine-related watercolors may be seen at Art of the Sea Galleries in South Thomaston.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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