who is nan mccarthy?

Nan McCarthy

nan mccarthy, creator of impeccably detailed fine art, has loved art since she was able to hold a crayon. Even at an early age, she preferred the skinny crayons, no doubt a precursor to her current use of very teeny paintbrushes. She was fortunate that her parents kept her well supplied with paper and the largest available box of crayons. Her mother, who came from a family of artists, was her first art teacher. Despite the fact that the elementary school art teacher liked students to "express themselves" with dribbles, scribbles, and blots on paper (this was the Fifties, when abstract art was in favor), nan preferred realistic subjects, drawing the suburban streets and houses where she grew up. She took her first formal training during summer vacation with a local professional watercolor artist while she was in high school. By that time, in order to leave room for a heavy course load of science, math, and languages, art was relegated to whatever time was available after the homework was completed. She attended Wells College and was thrilled to learn that math majors could use Studio Art as a minor. This, in turn, led to nan being awarded a work-study scholarship for one year at the Brooklyn Museum Art School, where, to avoid the ubiquitous abstract art, she took life drawing.
Alas, at that point in her life, the need to eat and put a roof over her head forced her to take a day job, something that felt a bit like being sold into slavery. Still, she soldiered on, painting during her spare time, until she became frustrated by the pressure from others (supposedly older and wiser) to use gobs of paint and paint things that were unidentifiable as anything in the real world (this was the Seventies, when abstract art was STILL in favor). Fortunately, the Muse of Art does not take kindly to being ignored, and in the early Nineties, nan began painting again. She made an agreement with herself that she would paint her way, because she was now older, if not necessarily wiser. In the fall of 2007, nan retired from her day job, at which time the "golden handcuffs" were removed, and she realized her life-long dream of devoting her time to her art.
Although nan has worked in many mediums over the years, she now works almost exclusively in acrylics. She has made her peace with their quick drying time and loves their versatility. She uses many layers of thin paint on a smooth panel. Working from her own photographs, she specializes in miniature (25 square inches or less) and small (up to 35 square inches) photorealistic New England landscape scenes. The process of creating a beautifully rendered painting from the photograph takes many painstaking steps, starting with size 8 (5/32") or smaller flat brushes and continuing with many hours of meticulous detailing using a size 0 round brush (1/32" in diameter). Because everything is downsized, these paintings can take as long or longer than completing a larger piece using large brushes. It takes nan about two weeks to complete a painting; she loves the challenge of creating these small, intimate works of art. She revels in detail and considers "render," "tight," and "it looks like a photograph," to be compliments, while "loosening up" is not one of her goals. Workshop

Education

Studied with Susan Abbott, Byron Carr, Nicole Caulfield, Larry Charles, Jinghua Gao Dalia, Peter Granucci, Martha Munroe, Robert O'Brien, Marylise Reilly-Fajal, Rena-Marie Rockwell, John Rogers, Gary Ruuska, Koo Schadler, Robert Hayes Seaman, Shannon Stirnweis.

Brooklyn Museum Art School / Life Drawing / 1969-1970
B.A. Wells College / Minor in Studio Art / 1969

Exhibition Highlights

 Miniature and Small Works Exhibitions

Annual International Exhibition of Fine Arts in Miniature of The Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers Society of Washington, DC / The Mansion at Strathmore, North Bethesda, MD / 2001, 2007–2016

Sulphur Springs Valley International Miniature and Small Works Art Show / Willcox Chamber of Commerce, Willcox, AZ / 2001–2002, 2008–2010, 2012, 2014–2017

International Miniature Art Show / Seaside Art Gallery, Nags Head, NC / 1998–2000, 2014–2017

Annual North American Miniature Juried Exhibition / The Art Gallery of Fells Point, Fells Point, MD /
1999–2001, 2008, 2013, 2016-2017

International Society of Acrylic Painters Exhibitions (formerly National Acrylic Painters' Association)

Signature Member Online Show / www.isap-online.com / 2008–2010, 2013–2015
Invitational Exhibition of Signature Members / Paso Robles Art Association, Paso Robles, CA / 2011

MainStreet MarketPlace & Gallery, Warner, NH

New Works / 2016-2017

New Hampshire Telephone Museum, Warner, NH

The ART of Conversation / 2016

Jaffrey Civic Center, Jaffrey, NH

Spring Area Art Show / 2009, 2012-2014
Annual Autumn Area Art Exhibit / 2008-2009, 2012-2014

Library Arts Center, Newport, NH

West Gallery Show & Gallery of Gifts, 2014
Juried Regional Exhibition, 2014

Collections

Work is in private collections in Arizona, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, and England.

Awards and Honors

Honorable Mention for “Blue Door” / 34th Annual North American Miniature Juried Exhibition / The Art Gallery of Fells Point, Fells Point, MD / 2017

Honorable Mention for “Tranquil Spot” / Sulphur Springs Valley 20th International Miniature and Small Works Art Show / Willcox Chamber of Commerce, Willcox, AZ / 2017

Honorable Mention for "Tree" / Sulphur Springs Valley 19th International Miniature and Small Works Art Show / Willcox Chamber of Commerce, Willcox, AZ / 2016

Honorable Mention for "Morning Mist" / Sulphur Springs Valley 18th International Miniature and Small Works Art Show / Willcox Chamber of Commerce, Willcox, AZ / 2015

Honorable Mention for "Monadnock on a Winter Day" / Biennial Regional Jurors' Choice Competition / Keene State College, Keene, NH / 2013

3rd Place, Peoples' Choice Award for "Golden Glow" / Illumination Show / The Gallery at Well Sweep, Hillsboro, NH / 2011

Honorable Mention for "Nauset Light" / Sulphur Springs Valley 12th International Miniature and Small Works Art Show / Willcox Chamber of Commerce, Willcox, AZ / 2008

Dexter Award for "Deserted Beach" / 17th Annual North American Miniature Juried Exhibition / The Art Gallery of Fells Point, Fells Point, MD / 2000

Art Selection Committee / Administrative Office of the Courts Building, Concord, NH / 1998

Scholarship / Brooklyn Museum Art School, Brooklyn, NY / 1969–1970

Nan-Hdr