Cormac McCarthy is an Irish artist whose studio is in Clinton. He finds inspiration in the natural world working in acrylics on large format canvasses in an expressive style that incorporates vibrant and dramatic color schemes.
His style can be described as Impressionist landscape painting with a sprinkle of impasto thrown in for good luck! Cormac’s primary tool is the palette knife, for bold mark-making, but he will use anything that produces an interesting texture.
He paints feelings and emotions, his aim is to capture the majesty of precious once-in-a-lifetime moments, when a person walks into a forest glade or emerges from a kelp forest into a wide and breathtaking expanse of the ocean.
Cormac never thought that landscape art would be his calling, but that is where his heart led him. He thinks this probably stems from growing up in Ireland where the people have a deep appreciation and respect for the environment. Ireland is also a country steeped in Romanticism, history, legend and mythology. Every place in Ireland has an ancient story, and the natural world is known to contain magical elements. Cormac strives to chase that magic in nature and spill it onto his canvas.
“I have a huge personal relationship with the sea,” he says. “Beneath the surface of the ocean I found my safe place as a child, and into my twenties. I was always most comfortable in the water. Where others swam, I glided, slipped and moved with the currents. And when painting these pieces, I was able to return to those thoughts, feelings and experiences. I got to be a child again, and that helped greatly in the creation of these works. I could play, not paint, and that helped me to be more courageous and creative on the canvas.”
His studio is a magical place, too; a place where guests can reset. Those who visit are greeted by a collection of different scenes in nature; some paintings are incredibly vibrant and others are gentle and subdued. You will hear a low murmur of jazz music in the background, and Cormac is always happy to greet visitors, answer questions, and (as he is Irish) he loves to chat and have a laugh.
Cormac hopes his art will inspire a love of the natural world, and inspire people to search for those extraordinary moments he depicts in his paintings. He muses that he will have achieved a great deal through his art if he is able to remind people of the importance of our natural spaces. He believes that if a person falls in love with his painting, they are also falling in love with the subject of the painting. And when people fall in love with nature, they are far more likely to take interest in its protection.
Collected and edited, Cynthia Albers (May 2023)