By Mary Lawrie Shea
There is a new boardwalk in the town of Sandwich. Not one made of blanks of wood rather paints! The Decatur Assisted Living Residence boosts the beautiful wall mural painting of the boardwalk in their new activity room. The mural is 40 inches high by 124 inches in length and sits above the counter area and was painted by Mary Shea. Mary is a local artist and educator whose mother Ruth Lawrie lived in Decatur for several years during which Mary would do “Art with Mary” for Ruth and residences.
Although Ruth passed away in the fall of 2020, the relationship between Ruth’s family and the family at Decatur has remained. Back in the spring Linda Austin and Sarah Tribuzio reached out to Mary inquiring about a mural for the new activity room and the planning process began. Where, what, size, style and placement were discussed. Ultimately, the iconic boardwalk was chosen, as no other image of Sandwich represents its history and childhood memories as the boardwalk does.
The painting is derived from an original photo which was chosen by Linda and Sarah. Then the work begins. Photos of the space and location, measurements, a placement image, a small scale watercolor for colors is created, all of which takes place prior to touching the wall. Once approved by all, the painting begins. Over the course of several weeks, a scale drawing is sketched and the painting is done in layers. The paint is standard wall paint mixed and blended to a desired result. Letting paint dry in between layers allowed Mary to step away and brought staff and residents in on the painting process.
The final painting was painted and gifted to Decatur as a gesture of gratitude and thanks for the care and love given to my mother Ruth during some difficult years. The Decatur, the Austins, staff and residents are family.
Thank you for the opportunity to say thank you,
Mary Lawrie Shea