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. Her mother, who came from a family of artists, was her first art teacher. She took her first formal training during summer vacation with a local professional watercolor artist while she was in high school. She minored in Studio Art at Wells College, which led to Nan being awarded a work-study scholarship for one year at the Brooklyn Museum Art School. Over the years, she has studied with a number of different teachers. Several years ago, Nan retired from her day job, enabling her to realize a life-long dream of devoting her time to art.
Although she 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.
Her work is in collections in Arizona, California, Florida, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and England. Over the years, her paintings have won several awards. She is a Signature Member of the International Society of Acrylic Painters (formerly National Acrylic Painters' Association) an Associate Member of The Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers Society of Washington, D.C. (MPSGS), and holds memberships in The Association of Miniature Artists, the Hillsborough Area Artisans, and the National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society (NOAPS).