|Probably most artists have had the experience of seeing an earlier work and wishing they could get a do-over. Barnstable village artist Mary Moquin had that opportunity with “Still Waiting,” a piece she originally painted two or three years ago. “My husband liked it, so he asked if he could have it in his office at the bank,” she says. “It hung there and got a lot of good responses. When he retired at the end of the year, it was time for the painting to come back home.”
When Moquin originally completed the painting, she was pleased with it or, at least, couldn’t think of anything else it needed. But when it returned home, she decided it was a little sketchy. “Some paintings are never finished, they’re abandoned,” she says now. “When I saw it again, I saw some things that were unresolved. But I had fresh eyes and more experience under my belt. I had the answers. It mainly needed more paint on the surface.” Since the “facelift” she gave it last month, “Still Waiting” glows with complex layers of colors, interweaving like threads in some rich and beautiful fabric.
Like a great many of her paintings, “Still Waiting” was inspired by the cottage colony on Sandy Neck, where Moquin has family property. For quite a number of years, the oddly shaped boat — abandoned by someone — knocked about the little community, carried hither and yon by the flood tides of winter. “When I went back in the springtime it would inevitably be in a new place,” Moquin says. “It never floated away totally — it would just land somewhere else.” The winter before she painted it, it came to rest between her place and her neighbor’s cottage, which is pictured in the painting.
The boat story has a touching coda. During a storm the winter before last, one whole side was destroyed when it crashed against Moquin’s deck. “I felt like I’d lost a friend,” the artist says. Her husband, however, salvaged a small part of it and is turning it into a shelf for their cottage. Meanwhile, in the painting, the boat remains forever intact.
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