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John Francis McCabe


I paint portraits in oil in the classical realism tradition, as well as drawing portraits in charcoal and pencil. I work with the sitter to achieve a motif, gesture and expression that bring the portrait to life and create an impression of lasting value. I strive for an atmosphere in the work that evokes space and light, and reveals the personality, character/beauty and spirit of the subject. A painting can last hundreds of years given reasonable care. The goal is a work of art that is a treasured possession. In creating a portrait, I usually paint in the style of alla prima (Italian) or au premier coup (French), meaning painting from life, literally "at the first." I use all elements of the creative process to render a portrait, including composition, drawing, values, color, color temperature, and edges. The goal is vibrant, lush color and skillful rendering of light and shadow, using flowing oil paint to achieve the desired representation. Oil portraits are painted on fine primed canvas or Belgium linen. I also paint landscapes and genre scenes, as I believe that one should be a painter first and only create portraits as a specialty. My work is inspired by the work of master artists, such as John Singer Sargent, William Merritt Chase, and Winslow Homer, and influenced by contemporary portrait painters with whom I have studied.

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