Every year ARTsmart selects an artist who is distinguished not only in New Mexico, but also throughout the world. As part of his/her mission, the Honorary Artist works with Santa Fe high school students in creating artworks that are auctioned during ARTsmart’s Annual Dinner & Auction fundraiser. Proceeds from the sold works are split between the student artists and their school. This program connects students with their community while teaching them about the possibility of a career in art.
Honorary Artist, 2018
Plein-air painter Barry McCuan responds deeply to the forces of nature that give every region its unique and special beauty. His paintings reflect not only that profound connection to the earth, but also a lifetime of astute observation, carefully chosen training, and the gradual building up of a formidable bank of technical skills in his preferred medium, oil paint.
Barry’s Portfolio: barrymccuan.com
His work can be seen at Ventana Fine Art.
“Every landscape has its own special timbre, harmonies of colors and textures. Each area has its own distinct dialect, nuances and contrasts. My paintings are my response to these forces; and, as in the leaves of a journal, they are a record of the places I have grown to love and of my travels to new lands.
The land has an emotional and physical effect on me. This is why I am primarily a plein air painter. My desire is to convey in my paintings the essence of a place. Sublimating the aromas of the lavender in Southern France, the ocean smells of Florida; the fragrant marjoram as I stand on the roadside in Italy and paint a field of sunflowers or the luminescence of a late New Mexico afternoon – when the light makes that leap to another level of saturation, are all important factors. Being totally immersed in the nuances of the land is what inspires me to paint and is essential for the renewal of my spirit.”