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Artists / Barry McCann

Barry McCann

Barry McCann

1962–

Barry McCann was born in 1962 in Armidale New South Wales Australia. His interest in art began as a young student creating drawings for school assignments as well as drawing at home. He continued to pursue this passion and refine it through his college years, discovering it was not only a good way to earn some money, but to make new friends as well.

These talents and artistic flair proved invaluable when he became a chef and cake decorator, but when he enrolled in an introductory watercolor course at the Canberra School of Arts in 1990, he unlocked a new world to explore. With an insatiable thirst for art knowledge, McCann dove headfirst into his artistic studies.

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His studies led to discovering a book about the life and artwork of artist John Singer Sargent, who has influenced McCann ever since. McCann studied with many leading artists in their field to build up his skills, and in 2000 decided to become a professional artist.

In 2006, travels to Great Britain and Europe served as inspiration for experimenting with mediums aside from watercolor. As a result, he now almost exclusively paints with oils. His pursuit of knowledge and inspiration continues to this day, taking him to some of the greatest museums and galleries in the world.

McCann’s subject matter normally involves an animated object with dramatic lighting. He enjoys the constant challenge of attempting to portray the illusion of both movement and form alongside a narrative. His quest for conveying beauty in his work is paramount, as he seeks the place where traditional, representational art is fused with more modern looks.

McCann typically portrays traditional scenes, but paints them with loose edges, obvious brushstrokes, dribbles, splatter or “movement lines,” all of which are more contemporary art techniques. Ultimately, McCann’s desire is for his viewers not have an opinion of his work, but a connection or a response.

This desire, combined with his talents, has earned him multiple awards and recognition. These include: 2013 finalist and winner People’s Choice award Manning Art Prize; 2013 finalist the Mortimore prize; 2013 finalist Inglis Equine Art Prize; 2012 Tradition and Transformation: Taiwan-Australia Watercolour Exhibition; 2012 finalist the Mortimore prize; and winner of the Portrait The Mortimore Prize and the prize for Portraiture Walgett Bulldust to Bitumen Art Show, both in 2010.

McCann has conducted watercolor demonstrations at art schools, art societies and even in episodes of the television show “Put Some Colour In Your Life.” He has exhibited with the Australian Watercolour Institute 2001 and 2003, and was published in the Australian Artist magazine and the Artist’s Palette magazine as the feature artist.

McCann currently resides in Armidale with his wife and fellow artist, Lucy. They are often asked to teach, demonstrate and judge throughout the region at art societies and schools.

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