Finding his motivation at the age of 13, in the idea that an artist creates a new world with every painting they do, M Francis McCarthy started to apply himself very diligently to learning as much as he could about the creative process. Trained for graphics at a vocational high school, the early portion of Michael’s career as an artist was focused almost entirely on the human figure.
However, later, as a commercial illustrator for 13 years, he did very little work with the human figure, mainly concentrating on animals, dinosaurs and landscapes for various design projects. Being paid for what he loved doing was great and he made a good income, but he found it very challenging, over time, to maintain the inspiration that was the initial catalyst for becoming an artist in the first place. “I worked predominantly with digital media, which is fun, but I found the way to inspiration as an artist for me was best served by working with oil paints on an actual painting surface. I feel very fortunate to have maintained a reverence and desire to create artwork after so many years of having to perform as a commercial artist.” From quite a young age Michael had it in his mind that he would become a landscape painter: “This is interesting because I did very little landscape work prior to sitting down with paints and canvas in 2008. However, I have always found a lot of inspiration in landscape paintings and I like how they can be a neutral space for our consciousness to occupy.” Inspiration from studying the past Masters, especially in regards to tonalist landscape painting, sees Michael constantly creating studies, trying to improve his own abilities and vision. “I have an ongoing series on my blog ‘landscapepainter.co.nz/new-blog’, featuring studies I do after the past Masters of Tonalism.