Friday, January 9, 2015

Friday #FemArt: Doris McCarthy (1910-2010)

This week's Friday FemArt post is about Doris McCarthy. I have been researching her for some time. I love her story and I love her art.

She produced an unparalleled body of work spanning over 75 years with an estimated 6000 paintings in a variety of media. She was elected the first woman President of the Ontario Society of Artists and has taught some of Canada's most distinguished creative people.

A quick sketch that I made of Doris McCarthy
in my art journal September 2014 ("Plein Air" collage)

Doris McCarthy "Holy Point" Oil on Canvas 34" x 48" 
Here is what I have come to love and know 
about Doris McCarthy's wonderful life:
  • Dorothy was born in 1910 in Calgary, Alberta,
  • She grew up in the beaches area of Toronto.
  • In 1926 she earned a scholarship to the Ontario College of Art (OCA) where she was mentored by some of the premier Canadian artists of the early twentieth century (i.e. Arthur Lismer and JEH MacDonald)
  • She attended the Ontario College of Art from 1926 to 1930
  • She became a teacher shortly after 1930 and taught most frequently at Central Technical School in downtown Toronto from 1932 until she retired in 1972.
  • She traveled abroad extensively (five continents) and painted the landscapes of various countries
  • Her best known art is her Canadian landscapes and her depictions of Arctic icebergs. 
  • She loved people and was quite sociable but also had a great appreciation of solitude, most often in the form of the northern Ontario wilderness. 
  • Some of her early painting trips involved adventures in Muskoka, Haliburton, Georgian Bay and the Arctic with groups of other devoted artists (usually women artists).
  • Retirement in 1972 (at 62 years of age) freed her to paint full-time and fulfill her dream of visiting the Arctic,
  • She was a lifelong learner. In 1989, (at 79 years of age) she graduated from the University of Toronto Scarborough with a B.A in English
  • She died at 100 years of age. She passed away peacefully on the morning of November 25, 2010, at Fool’s Paradise, her beloved home atop the Scarborough Bluffs

“Fool’s Paradise will continue to be… 
a place for healing, for laughter, 
for shared tears, for growing.” 
~Doris McCarthy~

5 Minute Video of Doris McCarthy's Life

More videos (6) of Doris McCarthy's Canada

Fool's Paradise
(How I would love to spend time there!)

(Excerpt: Ontario Heritage Trust) "Fool’s Paradise was the home and studio of Canadian landscape artist, writer and educator Doris McCarthy (1910-2010). The site overlooks Lake Ontario along Toronto’s Scarborough Bluffs. McCarthy first visited the property during a sketching trip in November 1939. She was immediately inspired by the landscape views and picturesque setting, and purchased the property for $1,250. In 1940, she had a small cottage constructed on the site by local builder Forest Telfer.

McCarthy’s mother, Mary Jane, saw the purchase as extravagant, referring to it as “that fool’s paradise of yours.” The name stuck in McCarthy’s mind and the property soon became known as Fool’s Paradise. Originally, the cottage was a summer retreat, but it became her permanent home in 1946.

Fool’s Paradise evolved and grew over McCarthy’s time there, guided by her personal preferences. The one-storey wood frame structure comprises attached wings off the central small studio, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. The interior of Fool’s Paradise follows an irregular layout, as wings have been added to the original cottage over the years. ......" read more here

There are plenty of links to follow below to explore more about 
Doris McCarthy's art and learn more about her interesting life. 

"The National Gallery doesn’t own a thing of mine 
and it damn well should,”
McCarthy told the Globe and Mail in 1990.

Visit Frankiusi Photography for more beautiful photographsof
Dorothy at Fools Paradise!!
“So here I am, content to enjoy every day as it comes, 
and wise enough to thank God for his mercies and rejoice in them. 
My only regrets are my economies (never my extravagances) 
– particularly those of spirit and love.”

~Doris McCarthy~


For her continuing contribution to Canada's artistic community, Doris McCarthy has received The Order of Canada, The Order of Ontario, five Honorary Doctorates, and an Honorary Fellowship to The Ontario College of Art and Design. In November 1999, McCarthy was named the first Artist of Honour at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. On March 11, 2004 the University of Toronto, Scarborough opened the Doris McCarthy Gallery in her honour and will eventually hold her archives.

A Visual Artist First and Foremost....

Globe and Mail quote: "A visual artist first and foremost, McCarthy was also a teacher, author, lecturer, wilderness advocate, handywoman, storyteller, hostess, world traveller, philanthropist, cat lover and virtuoso figure skater who was able to toss off showy spins well into her eighties. She was a whiz at cryptic crosswords, and enjoyed taxing her linguistic skills at solo Scrabble. Her friends talked rapturously about her formidable peanut butter cookies, luscious breads, super-deluxe marmalade, and rhubarb and dandelion wine...... For McCarthy the glass was always full. Early every morning on a painting trip, she would declare: "We have a whole new chance." Her mantra was the word "yes" and her Holy Grail was the infinite glory of the Canadian landscape. As she herself wrote: "I love the world. I love nature. I love creation. I love life.""

I am grateful for Dorthy's art and life story. How it inspirits me so...

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