Dan McCaw | Artist of the Week

Dan McCaw is one of America’s most highly respected contemporary impressionists. McCaw began his formal art training with a scholarship to the San Francisco Academy of Art. Two years later, he was offered a position as an illustrator with a commercial art firm in Los Angeles. The move south proved to be a fortuitous one for McCaw as he became less satisfied with commercial art and longed to pursue a fine art career.

McCaw continued his artistic pursuits at the Art Center College of Design where he fell under the spell of the great European masters, including Joaquin Sorrolla, whose work has had a lasting influence on his ideas about light and design. While his sensitive figural work is deeply rooted in the romantic impressionist tradition, recent years have brought him moving toward a more individual, expressionist tradition. McCaw credits Edouard Vuillard, Pierre Bonnard, Gustav Klimt and the Abstract Expressionists for helping him develop a heightened awareness in his work, not rigorously conforming to the literal representation of the subject. As a skilled and discerning interpreter of color harmonies, light and mood, he expresses feeling and emotions with the fewest elements- that less is more. “My primary interest lies in going beyond the technique in order to interpret the subject in different ways and expand on the interpretation to make a personal statement. Creativity lies in uncertainty because your solution can be anything!”

Nearly three decades after embarking on his artistic journey, Dan McCaw continues his quest for maximum expression pushing his art into exciting new territory. Dan McCaw and his wife, Stacey, live in Los Angeles, California.

An Interview with Dan McCaw

Dan McCaw on the Artful Painter Podcast with Carl Olsen

Dan McCaw believes that art is a “collaboration between the heart and mind.” The result of that often contentious, frustrating collaboration are paintings that expose the artist’s soul. Dan’s paintings are rich with thick texture, vibrant colors, and strong contrasts. As a contemporary impressionist painter, his works are highly sought out by collectors and people who love art. His paintings dance between the realms of representational, figurative, and abstract expressionism. Dan is always exploring, always experimenting.

In his book, A Proven Strategy for Creating Great Art, Dan explored such topics as opening your heart, rendering versus expression, developing a point of view, broadening your perceptions, enjoying your journey, and much more.

In this edition of the Artful Painter, Dan continues his exploration of things that affect an artist’s growth. In a world where people are so quick to take sides and condemn those who do not agree with them, it certainly takes courage to create. Dan wants to help artists break out from the chains of oppressive, opinionated art-making dogma and learn to freely express themselves in their paintings. The challenge is much like that of a child who uses exuberant colors to paint a tree, but are crushingly chided for not painting the leaves of the tree the color green “like you are supposed to.” Dan McCaw is on a mission to help artists continue painting their purple trees.