On this week’s cover, Gerry McCluskey Moran’s “Almost There” gives a wide view of “Stargazer,” the unofficial gateway to the Hamptons. Linda Scott’s 70-foot-by-50-foot bright red sculpture was first constructed, at the suggestion of the Animal Rescue Fund, at the East Hampton Airport. It has stood in a Manorville field since 1991. In 1995, Moran started McCluskey Moran Designs, doing interior design and architectural consulting, and just last week, she welcomed her first grandchild, Shannon Grace, into the world.
How do you begin a new piece?
I start with a lot of reference material. It could be a photograph or a piece by another artist. First, I do thumbnail sketches to work out the frame of reference and the composition. Then, I do a small, full-colored poster study, and finally, I’ll do the painting.
What was your inspiration for “Almost There?”
The inspiration was the “Stargazer” sculpture and the title came from its location. When I pass it, the sculpture reminds me that I’m “almost there,” or almost home, to be more specific. Many people don’t know this, but the sculpture is actually the head of a deer with antlers in its mouth. I first saw it in the ’90s and I’ve passed it countless times since.
Unfortunately, the sculpture has a big tear in it at the moment. I was saddened to learn of Scott’s death. I hope my painting can help to preserve her memory and sculpture, which serves as a point of reference for so many going east. For donations to the restoration of “Stargazer,” people can go to the website: lindascott.org.
Another inspiration was driving in traffic. It’s great if you’re a creative person. You drive slowly, look around, and take in the landscapes and people. To me, the traffic isn’t always a bad thing.
You grew up in Queens. What led you to the East End?
The first time I went to the Hamptons was in college. It was in the Westhampton and Hampton Bays area. My sorority sisters and I were driving down Dune Road and The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” came on the radio. It was the perfect song because, like Dune Road, it kept going on and on. For years we had fun out there, living in those big group houses. Then you get married and have kids. In the ’80s, my husband’s friend invited us out to Montauk. We went out there and fell in love with it. We’ve been here for 30 years.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
I love the Hudson River School painters. Their landscapes have the ability to make you feel like you’re a part of the painting, especially the East End’s own Thomas Moran.
Apparently, there’s a story behind your first cover contribution to Dan’s Papers last year. Care to elaborate?
It was September 11. I was feeling so down and driving through Montauk to get a copy of Dan’s Papers, actually, and I thought I saw Dan by the gazebo. So, I turned around, got out of my car and introduced myself. He said he was doing a reading from his latest book. I asked what time it started, so I could come back later. Dan told me he was doing it now, but there wasn’t anyone there. He ended up reading a chapter to me directly and we started talking. I told him I’ve been reading his paper since the ’70s and that I’m an artist. He asked to see something recent, which was my painting of Wölffer Estate Vineyard, and wouldn’t you know it, it made the cover.
Where can readers view your work?
My work can be seen at Trapani Art in Manhasset and Garden City.
Interested readers can contact Gerry Moran at [email protected].com.