Since retirement I have been involved in teaching art and making paintings.
I sell my paintings at various venues in and around Marmora.
I publish a blog called Art Play. Here I hope to encourage others to not to be intimidated by making art. I show all my efforts, not just the successes.
Over the years I have continued to do commissions. Sometimes I paint to help people decorate their homes; sometimes the request is for an unique wedding, birthday, Christmas or retirement gift.
Sometimes businesses want a painting for advertising purposes. One of my paintings, The Fairy's Path was used by Marmora Tourism to advertise Naylor's Common, a wild-life trail in town. Another is used as a brochure for the Marmora Inn and B and B. In December 2014, I had a huge inventory sale where I discounted my paintings by 75% and gave all the proceeds of $1850.00 to the Marmora Helping Hands Foodbank.
My paintings hang in homes all over Ontario.
I hope in the future to establish a community of local artists who paint together and share the common goal of making art accessible to everyone, regardless of age or experience.
But like many moms working outside of the home, for years I only painted when I was able to take a course. This happened mostly in the summertime.
I had some excellent artists as teachers; Marjorie Hodgins, Pat Fairfield, Pie Menger, Pauline Hollancin, Dennis Cliff, Kai-Lys McInnis, Rick Edwards , and Claudia Jean McCabe were some of them. Kai-Lys revealed that she kept a sheet of paper set up on her desk upon which she painted every morning before going out to work. I started doing this "watercolour journal" and found it most helpful.
I took the advice of my younger sister Julie, an accomplished artist and teacher, to sketch for twenty minutes daily.
And I read lots of books. Edward's Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain was very encouraging. I saw my work improving.
Luckily, after a course offered by Susan Canestraro at the Bolton Public Library, I met a group of people who wanted to stay painting together and that was a wonderful time of growth for me. I received helpful suggestions that did not feel like criticism.
I began to feel I could branch out and got interested in the other water-based painting, acyrlics.
I never saw myself as an artist.
It has been a long and fruitful journey to that admission.
I was born just after the Second World War as the second child and first daughter of Thaddeus McCarthy and Lucy Worsdall McCarthy in Toronto, Ontario. They were both musical and artistic but life and family kept those talents hidden until after they were able to retire, around the late 1980s.
My parents would not have seen a career in the arts as a practical option for me.
I graduated from the University of St. Jerome's at the University of Waterloo with an honours English degree and taught elementary and high school. Richard and I married in 1968 and we raised three wonderful children in Mississauga and Caledon East. In the early eighties, after my husband obtained his principal's certificate, we opened a private alternative high school in Etobicoke, called Limitless Learning.
In the early nineties, I found myself taking six nights of watercolour classes in Etobicoke.
I had never done any art, not even any drawing. Certainly not painting. Most certainly not watercolour.
Yet, I had always dreamed of capturing the beauty of the white pines against the blue sky at our family cottage on Lake St. Peter.
I have no idea why I chose watercolour, arguably the hardest medium, to capture them. Perhaps it was because I have always loved learning and the challenge it presents. Perhaps it was because our youngest child had successfully started school and I had more time on my hands.
At first, I was terrified of the blank paper, but a little internal voice kept whispering, "You must do the thing that you think you cannot do!" Besides I had invested money in materials and my practical side insisted that I persist. My husband encouraged me to frame a couple of my first efforts. That was a plus.
My First Oil: "Fairy's Path"
Marmora Tourism's choice to profile the area.It was based on a photo I took while walking at Bon Echo Provincial Park.
My first acrylic: "Magical
I did this on watercolour paper at a Saturday workshop in Orangeville. I was amazed at how the colours popped out and spread.
Some of my earliest watercolours.
When we moved to Timmins Ontario in the mid nineties, I found Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way and followed her program as I was unemployed for the first time since my marriage in 1968. This book, along with Cubley's Life, Passion and Paint challenged me to paint freely as if no one was watching.
Process over product. Some of the results were fascinating. I painted images from my unconscious that started me thinking about the topics I was most interested in capturing.
The head of the Art Department at Robert F. Hall Catholic Secondary School in Caledon East offered me the opportunity to teach entry level art. I thoroughly enjoyed expanding my knowledge about the theory and principles of art as well as learning some art history.
When I retired from teaching in 2005, we bought a Kingston Quarry Stone house in Marmora, Ontario where there was room enough in the former "games" room to set up a studio.
As I developed confidence and had more time, I began to try other mediums: mixed media, acrylics on canvas and board, and finally with Lucy Manley, Oils.