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Marblehead denizens make wooden cod fish in honor of J.O.J. Frost

Pietro Rose, 11, of Marblehead decorates a cod fish at Marblehead Museum, an event inspired by the paintings of J. O. J. Frost. (Spenser R. Hasak)

MARBLEHEAD — After spending some of his morning coloring a wooden plank a dark shade of purple, Nicholas Cummings Wessman, 4, turned the work of art into a sword to combat his older brothers.

“It’s a shark,” he said while scribbling in some more purple with a crayon.

The wooden canvas was actually in the shape of a cod fish, a cod that serves as the logo for the Marblehead Museum and one of the most famous works of late Marblehead artist J.O.J. Frost.

Saturday the museum invited guests to the Frost Gallery and take their shot at creating works of art like Nicholas and his family did.

Frost, who lived from 1852 to 1928, often depicted the town and coasts of Marblehead in his work.

“He watched Marblehead change so much during his life,” museum assistant director Cheri Grishin said. “He wanted to recapture the town he grew up in his youth.”

Dozens of examples of his artwork are available in the museum’s permanent gallery dedicated to the artist. It contains paintings of winding roads stretching across an aerial view of  the town and sail boats battling waves near the Grand Banks.

“People once ridiculed him for his art,” Grishin said. “I would love if he could see this now, his art being appreciated.”

Museum member Roy Brindamour used the chance to create a cod fish as practice for the Marblehead Art Festival.

“I will be participating drawing a cod fish so I thought I would get a nice preview of it,” he said.

Brindamour worked carefully, sketching the scales and shading in the wood before creating his final product.

Before he headed out he snapped a photo with a cardboard cutout of Frost, slinging his arm around his shoulder and holding up his cod for display.

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