Dixie McCarthy

Dixie McCarthy Artist Portrait


Visual Arts | Painting


Dixie McCarthy became interested in art while in elementary school in Burlingame, California, and, on her own, she decided to try her hand at drawing and painting. High school art classes helped spur this interest, but ultimately she decided to become an elementary school teacher instead of a full-time artist. After teaching school for five years in the bay area, Dixie married a Naval Aviator, and travels began. Time spent in Asia, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Okinawa, and Taiwan was an important element in her artistic background; she sketched and kept notebooks all along the way, and was inspired to paint while teaching and raising a son and a daughter. The McCarthys' years of living in Hawaii have given Dixie many ideas for paintings. While in Honolulu, Dixie obtained her master's degree in education at the University of Hawaii. the thesis she wrote was entitled; " teaching through the arts: an exploration of learning through the study of arts and music". She draws frequently from her experiences there and returns often to Oahu. Favorite subjects are the ethnic areas of the islands, as well as the coconut palm trees, plants, animals, and the countryside. This artist paints in both oils and acrylics but prefers oils. 

Dixie has studied painting for eight years with Stuart Burton at the Art Academy of San Diego, 9th and G streets, and, more recently, printmaking there with Loretta Kramer. She points out her monoprints, in colorful hues, accomplished on a printing press with inks painted on plexiglass, then printed on paper, each one unique. A popular series are flowers in pots, used decoratively in homes. This past fall Dixie showed her art at the annual Coronado Art Walk and plans to do this again. She has a small studio at her home where her work may be seen by appointment. In 2006 Dixie participated in a residency at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont. This was a life-changing experience she says, as she was able to paint for one month in a private space, her work critiqued by noted artists, as well as being able to attend lectures and conferences with fifty-one other artists and writers. She calls the experience, "a rich atmosphere for artistic endeavors." 

Dixie considers herself a representational artist. She draws from the photos she takes of families, animals, plants, also buildings, and interesting landscapes. Children, especially, are pleasing subjects. And travel subjects continue to charm her. She particularly likes to visit France for its' market scenes, cheese carts, interesting landscapes, and old buildings. Her interest in cooking has produced her pastry oils, painted from her own photographs taken at special bakeries where she felt the pastries looked especially appetizing! The Chinese New Year celebration in Hawaii is one of her most colorful works done in oils. Old photos of families standing next to their cars in the 30s and 40s bring nostalgia to those particular paintings, as do the ones of colorful New Orleans of an earlier day. Another specialty of Dixie's is her line of greeting cards. These began with an interest in old buildings with preservation in mind, but have expanded into greeting cards of old buildings in general on the east coast, in Europe, and in northern and southern California. She has put together groupings, and a series of area homes, done in various colored inks and papers. She accepts private commissions from people who would like their homes depicted on cards to send to friends. 

While recalling favorite paintings that have been exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibitions of past years, Dixie is never idle. For example, even though she painted prolifically while in Vermont; cows, cornfields, rushing streams and covered bridges, country lanes, barns, and sugar shacks, she has her own perfect photos of all of these, ready to reproduce even in their absence! A wonderfully diverse artist, Dixie's approach is bold and colorful, her style strikingly bright with visible brush stroke work.


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