Doris McCarthy was born on July 7th, 1910 in Calgary and moved to Toronto in 1913. She is a landscape artist best known for her depictions of Arctic icebergs. McCarthy attended the Ontario College of Art from 1926 to 1930. Among her teachers were members of the Group of Seven: Arthur Lismer, A.Y. Jackson, J.E.H. MacDonald and Lawren Harris. She was inspired by their approach to painting, to go out into nature and paint from real life or “en plein air.”
After she retired she travelled to every province in Canada, painting and camping. From the Hoodoo’s in Alberta to friendly fishing towns in the east. She travelled to the Arctic many times, even at 94. To see icebergs, McCarthy would travel by dogsled and set up her easel and paints in the snow.
She bought a property dubbed “Fools Paradise” along the Scarborough Bluffs in 1939 which over time, she built into her dream home and art studio.
In 1989, at the age 79, she graduated from the University of Toronto at Scarborough with a BA in English. McCarthy died November 25th, 2010 when she was 100 years old.
“The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those who sang the best.”
-John James Audubon
John James Audubon was born in Haiti in 1785. His father was a French sea captain and plantation owner. At a very young age he was interested in birds and nature.
When he was 18, Audubon was sent to a family owned estate near Philadelphia. He became a businessman – setting up a dry goods store in frontier Kentucky and continued to draw birds as a hobby. After hard times hit Audubon set off and an epic quest to discover America’s birds. He lived a rugged existence, but the finished work brought him immediate success and a modest degree of comfort. He settled in New York City.
He is most known for his major work The Birds of America which is unsurpassed as one of the greatest ornithological works ever completed. In this book he documented all types of American birds in their natural habitat with exquisite detailed illustrations. He produced a prolific body of work that included over 435 paintings of birds.
The students in our class learned how to create a multi-coloured watercolour background with liquid watercolours. Lastly they painted the cliff and eagle silhouettes.