Forensic Friday #1: Grandma Moses meets Quincy, M.E.

Dr. Eleanor McQuillen: Grandma Moses meets Quincy, M.E.

Like many children, I was raised by parents who said that they would prefer I made, rather than bought them gifts. I spent a lot of time searing my finger tips as I made innumerable stained-glass insects. That might be too generous. Lets say I made lead and stained glass paperweights.

Unlike most children, my mother was the Chief Medical Examiner for the state of Vermont. She spent much of my teenage years and beyond doing forensic autopsies or driving to crime scenes in her red Mercedes with its “QNCY” license plates. (She and my father were fans of the Jack Klugman TV series Quincy M.E..)

After I started making art I turned the gift-giving tables on her. My mom loved folk art and historic restoration, and she was an accomplished stenciller, so I asked that instead of buying me gifts for my birthday, that she make me crime scene paintings. For the next 16 birthdays she complied with a painting. This painting from midway through the series is the only one where she included herself in the scene. That is her in the foreground.

A Bad Day for a Goodfella .5

I will celebrate the next 16 Fridays going forward as “Forensic Fridays” with a look at crime scene paintings from this series. We begin with the crime scene painting A Hanging at Halloween.


  1. Jenny
    Jenny October 4, 2014 at 1:07 pm .

    These are quite compelling. Did she make the frames, too? Nicely done!

    1. Charles McQuillen
      Charles McQuillen October 5, 2014 at 4:00 pm .

      Funny that you mention the frame. My brother Mike just let me know that the A Hanging at Halloween frame was a repurposed wood project he had made, and he wanted credit. Now with that out of the way, in future Forensic Fridays my mom has some fun with the expressive potential of the frame. This one offers an example, but she goes a lot further.

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