Barry McCarthy

“It is the act of painting that allows me to live in harmony with myself, my work and my world,” says renowned Canadian artist Barry McCarthy. Born in Deep River, Ontario in 1951, McCarthy grew up experiencing the vast shores of Lake Superior and the dense woods of the far north. McCarthy’s deep connection with the landscape of his youth continues to inform his work. In his words, “to paint a subject, you must know it, understand it and live it before you can say something about it.”

After studying fine art at the University of Guelph, McCarthy’s appreciation of Dutch landscape painting of the 17th century stimulated his passion for the watercolours. He developed an outstanding watercolour technique to convey soft impressionist light. In scale alone, often on paper five feet by three feet, and in absolute command of the transparency of this medium, the artist achieved memorable results and challenged the very concept of this traditional art form.

Based in southwestern Ontario, McCarthy first painted and exhibited the farm country surrounding Fergus, with its Grand River and majestic waterfalls. Gradually, searching for expanded views and coastlines, a family visit to Atlantic Canada led to summer images of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. The artist always saw himself as an ambassador of the Maritimes. “I must be there to feel the wind and air, so that I can bring these thoughts and visions back to the studio,” says McCarthy. His plethora of visual discoveries soon became oil paintings. The new medium allowed him to adopt and refine the light and transparency that made his watercolours so memorable. The small watercolour studies provide him with confidence and comfort in a medium for which he is renowned. McCarthy chooses his best efforts in watercolour and commits them to a large format in oil. Enlightened by his constant travels throughout Canada and abroad, McCarthy always seeks new imagery and ideas for his compositions. He looks for subjects or situations imbued not merely with beauty but with a sense of angst and tension.

McCarthy’s recent is an evocative series of watercolour studies and oil paintings of the gently rolling landscape of southern Ontario around the artist’s home in Elora, and wondrously detailed studies of Nova Scotia with its windswept coastlines and haunting lone houses in east coast landscapes. The Atlantic, with all its austere foreboding appears in much of McCarthy’s work. The vast body of water holds his eye in constant fascination and respect with its rugged topography and tonality changes. Houses like the ones in the paintings “In the Bay”, “Houses on Stilts”, and “Atlantic Retreat” are perched on cliffs and precipices clinging to life. McCarthy finds solace and retreat in these places of solitude. He leaves the viewer with a resonant and haunting afterimage.

McCarthy’s work transforms the common object, ordinary person, or familiar landscape. The colour, light, and texture in each composition engage the viewer. We recognize the subject but, more than viewing it, we experience the moment in time that impels the viewer’s mind to thoughts of human history. The counties of Wellington and Waterloo are atmospheric; early morning vistas with the cool mist rising, softening grass, trees, and water in scenes like “Misty Morning”, “Tired Road”, and “Spring Field and Lilacs”. In the work “At Dusk” and the watercolour “Study for Waiting for Halloween”, McCarthy shows us a different time of day and that smoky gray skies and dusk make for great paintings. He captures this low light with amazing clarity and precision. Whatever the subject matter he chooses to paint, McCarthy reveals its spirit, its inner self, and its mysticism.

Available artwork: 
Arriving at Cheticamp after the rain, Cape Breton, study by Barry McCarthy
Arriving at Cheticamp after the rain, Cape Breton, study
Watercolour, 10 x 14.5
Loch Gallery, Toronto
Arriving at Cheticamp after the rain, Cape Breton by Barry McCarthy
Arriving at Cheticamp after the rain, Cape Breton
Oil on Canvas, 36 x 58
Loch Gallery, Toronto
Mystic Moon by Barry McCarthy
Mystic Moon
Oil on Canvas, 36 x 48
Loch Gallery, Toronto
Riding Into Cheticamp After the Rain by Barry McCarthy
Riding Into Cheticamp After the Rain
Oil on Canvas, 30 x 60
Loch Gallery, Toronto
Playground at Cavendish, PEI by Barry McCarthy
Playground at Cavendish, PEI
Oil on Canvas, 36 x 58
Loch Gallery, Toronto
Homestead in Craigmore, Cape Breton by Barry McCarthy
Homestead in Craigmore, Cape Breton
Oil on Canvas, 32 x 48
Loch Gallery, Toronto
Magnetic Hill South River Road by Barry McCarthy
Magnetic Hill South River Road
Oil on Canvas, 36 x 48
Loch Gallery, Toronto
Dusk at Craigmore, Cape Breton by Barry McCarthy
Dusk at Craigmore, Cape Breton
Oil on Canvas, 32 x 48
Loch Gallery, Toronto
Homestead in Craigmore, Cape Breton, #2 by Barry McCarthy
Homestead in Craigmore, Cape Breton, #2
Watercolour, 10 x 14
Loch Gallery, Toronto
Riding Into Cheticamp After the Rain, study by Barry McCarthy
Riding Into Cheticamp After the Rain, study
Watercolour, 18 x 41
Loch Gallery, Toronto
Homestead in Craigmore, Cape Breton, study by Barry McCarthy
Homestead in Craigmore, Cape Breton, study
Watercolour, 10 x 14
Loch Gallery, Toronto
Shoreline Lunch and Conversations, PEI by Barry McCarthy
Shoreline Lunch and Conversations, PEI
Watercolour, 10 x 14
Loch Gallery, Toronto
Playground at Cavendish, PEI study by Barry McCarthy
Playground at Cavendish, PEI study
Watercolour, 11 x 19.5
Loch Gallery, Toronto
Dusk at Craigmore, Cape Breton study by Barry McCarthy
Dusk at Craigmore, Cape Breton study
Watercolour, 10 x 14
Loch Gallery, Toronto
Glacial Runoff by Barry McCarthy
Glacial Runoff
Oil on Canvas, 36 x 48
Loch Gallery, Calgary
Lunch Break View, BC by Barry McCarthy
Lunch Break View, BC
Oil on Canvas, 36 x 48
Loch Gallery, Toronto
View Down the Valley of the Rockies by Barry McCarthy
View Down the Valley of the Rockies
Watercolour, 8 x 10.25
Loch Gallery, Toronto
Study for View from Above, Digby, Nova Scotia by Barry McCarthy
Study for View from Above, Digby, Nova Scotia
Watercolour on Paper, 10.25 x 14.25
Loch Gallery, Toronto
Museum Monument by Barry McCarthy
Museum Monument
Watercolour, 7 x 8.75
Offsite
Ethereal Blue by Barry McCarthy
Ethereal Blue
Oil on Canvas, 49 x 42.5
Loch Gallery, Toronto
Barry McCarthy
Artist origin: 
Canadian
Artist type: 
Established living contemporary
Born: 
1951

 

Another U7 Solutions - Web-based solutions to everyday business problems. solution.