All Items (McCarthy, D. Michael)
A native of Los Angeles, D. Michael McCarthy received his B.F.A. from Fontbonne College in St. Louis in 1973 and began a career as a landscape painter. He spends the winter in his studio in Sedona, Arizona, but the rest of the year on a "visual odyssey" during which he gathers the drawings and watercolor sketches that are the basis for his canvas works. His influences include Jacob van Ruisdael, George Inness, and the Hudson River School artists of whom he says, "It's as though Moran, Bierstadt, Church, Thomas Hill and the rest were my friends." Their impact is obvious...
Like the Hudson River School painters, McCarthy's paintings are based on an experiential relationship to the nature he depicts. He eschews the usual tourist sites and instead ventures into places where less adventurous souls fear to tread, climbing down to the water-splashed base of a Yellowstone waterfall, hiking above a mountain tree-line, or "seeing the wave action of a kelp bed by swimming out to it through heavy surf . . . " This authenticity drew the attention of gallery owner Allan Husberg who spotted his work on a restaurant wall and subsequently gave McCarthy his first show.
Like the Hudson River School painters, McCarthy brings back drawings and watercolor sketches from his travels and creates the final oil painting in his studio. He explains, "A photograph for me is just this mechanical instant that is too limiting. So much more can be distilled into a sketch." Also, like those earlier artists, he isn't above re-arranging nature to suit his composition: of one painting, he says, "The pinnacle on the left was behind me but I moved it over to give the view a 360 degree type of view." His career can probably be summed up in his...