Artist of the Month
The walls of Burlap and Bean are currently
featuring the work of Martin R. Ahearn.
Cape Ann artist Martin R. Ahearn, whose watercolors captured the drama of Rockport seascapes and scenes of Ireland, often wore a tam o’shanter as he painted. He taught scores of artists the joys of painting watercolors en plein air and led painting tours in his father’s native Ireland.
“Martin was born an American, but he had the soul of an Irishman,’’ said fellow Rockport artist John Terelak, who was Mr. Ahearn’s son-in-law.
Born in Somerville, Mr. Ahearn grew up in Arlington and studied commercial art at the Vesper George School of Art in Boston.
“His mother wanted him to be a priest,’’ said his daughter, Margret “Peggy’’ Chick, who owns An Artful Touch Gallery in Rockport, where Mr. Ahearn’s paintings are sold.
Mr. Ahearn, who contracted polio as a child, had a kind demeanor and always dispensed compliments along with criticism to his students, Chick said. “It could have looked like a kindergartner did it, but he would say how the tones are beautiful, and then he got down to the nitty-gritty,’’ Chick said.
Mr. Ahearn moved his family to Rockport in 1960
and began focusing on fine art. He studied under such Cape Ann
artists as Carl Peters and Emille Gruppe, and his children recalled
their parents discussing how to make the $90 monthly mortgage on
their home in those days. The beauty of the area could stop him in
his tracks. “He would always stop the car immediately when he saw a
scene worth painting, regardless of who was behind us or where and
when we had to be some place,’’ Lawrence said, recalling many late
arrivals. Seattle artist David Repyak, who grew up in Gloucester,
recalled studying with Mr. Ahearn as a teenager in the 1980s. “He
was quite an inspiring man and a very calm soul,’’ Repyak said. “He
really taught me how to see light when painting outside.’’
If you are interested in displaying artwork, please
email our cultural arts director at