Originally from Methuen, Massachusetts, Merle and husband, Ken, relocated from southern NH to N. Conway and lived there for 17 ½ years. In March 2020. They moved to Wolfeboro, NH.
Merle’s mother, who would tell stories and at the same time, illustrate the characters, inspired Merle’s interest in art and nature. She would take Merle and her twin sister, Doris, for long, frequent walks through the woods as she identified every flower, bird and creature as they appeared (and she would make sure that they learned them). The artistic talents of a grandfather and two older sisters, Carolyn and Lois, served as a further inspiration. Brother, Fred, was adept at drawing cars and aircraft, but never tried drawing anything else.
Educated in business and interior design, Merle always enjoyed sketching, but did not start painting until her daughter, April, was a young tot. She has taken numerous art related courses and continues to attend classes and workshops. Her paintings have sold throughout the U.S. Her art work hangs in business offices and private collections in Vermont, NH, Maine, Florida, Maryland, Colorado and California. In addition, her art has sold to customers in Scotland and Ecuador. She was commissioned to paint murals for a New England restaurant chain.
Landscapes, flowers, simple portraits, wildlife and domestic pets are her favorite subjects. Merle is frequently commissioned to paint house and pet portraits. She paints in a traditional style, but enjoys doing abstract pieces in between, especially layered art that she has taught. She works in all medium, watercolors, pastels, oils and acrylics. She paints in modern and traditional styles.
Artists who have inspired her most are Barbara Baldwin, “who really taught me to look deeply at my subjects” and Elaine Insero, a nationally recognized artist who’s layered art and oil paintings have appeared in 3 coffee table art books and magazines. Merle states, “One can never acquire enough knowledge about art to be satisfied as an artist. It is an enjoyable process and a need for every artist’s soul”. She is a past board member of the Mount Washington Valley Arts Association and the Greater Haverhill Arts Association. Past memberships include the Art Institute Group of the Merrimack Valley, MA, Newburyport Arts Association and the Greater Haverhill Arts Association. Her work has been exhibited at the State House in Boston, MA, the Boston Aquarium, Malden Mills, Lawrence, MA; and various shows in New England. Her work has won numerous awards in Massachusetts.
Other interests are reading, volunteer work, hiking, travel and cross country skiing.