150 Artists,  Painting-Canadian

36/150 Doris McCarthy ‘Fool’s Paradise’

Asters in the Fields at Fool’s Paradise, 1953, watercolour, 20″ x 24″

The inimitable Doris McCarthy (1910-2010), one of Canada’s foremost landscape painters, did much of her work in a Fool’s Paradise, or at least that’s what her mother called the house and studio McCarthy purchased on a bluff on Lake Ontario.

McCarthy’s mother, Mary Jane, saw the house as extravagant, calling it “that fool’s paradise of yours.” The summer cottage, which became her permanent home in 1946, is now the Doris McCarthy Artist-in-Residence Centre , a use in keeping with McCarthy’s lifelong role as a writer, teacher and mentor.

Hills at Dagmar, 1948,oil on canvas. 24 x 27″

Although she is best known for her Canadian settings (Above:  a rural area north of Whitby) McCarthy traveled widely, painting through Europe and then Asia and the middle east,  including Afghanistan, Iraq and Cambodia.

Coming Storm, Ireland, 1999, watercolour on paper, 15″ x 22″

Using primarily thick oils and watercolours, McCarthy developed a style, often verging on abstraction, that was consistently praised for its vitality, boldness and skillful explorations of hard-edged angles, form and colour.  Canadian Encyclopedia

McCarthy’s Arctic and Northern Canada paintings were particularly powerful. (See a previous Art Junkie post here. Above: Icebergs among the islands Wynick/Tuck Gallery)

McCarthy’s reach, into the arts world, the teaching profession, and her personal relationships, made her an influential figure.  This personal reflection on McCarthy’s daily life (written in 2007 by Lynne Atkinson, a close friend) demonstrates the energy McCarthy was able to tap into all her life.

A previous post on Canadian Art Junkie, here.

In the Canadian Encyclopedia, here

At Consignor Fine Arts, here

At the Wynick Tuck gallery, here

At Mountain Galleries, here


This is #36 in the series 150 Artists.

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