I paint portraits in oil in the classical realism tradition, as well as drawing portraits in charcoal and pencil. I work with the sitter to achieve a motif, gesture and expression that bring the portrait to life and create an impression of lasting value.
I strive for an atmosphere in the work that evokes space and light, and reveals the personality, character/beauty and spirit of the subject. I want the painting to be as life like as possible. A painting can last hundreds of years given reasonable care. The goal is a work of art that is a treasured possession.
In creating a portrait, I usually paint in the style of alla prima (Italian) or au premier coup (French), meaning painting from life, literally "at the first." I use all elements of the creative process to render a portrait, including composition, drawing, values, color, color temperature, and edges.
The goal is vibrant, lush color and skillful rendering of light and shadow, using flowing oil paint to achieve the desired representation. Oil portraits are painted on fine primed canvas or Belgium linen.
I also paint landscapes and genre scenes, as I believe that one should be a painter first and only create portraits as a specialty. My work is inspired by the work of master artists, such as John Singer Sargent, William Merritt Chase, and Winslow Homer, and influenced by contemporary portrait painters with whom I have studied.
Article in Catholic Harold, November 26, 2015, mentioning John McCabe as a “gifted artist” upon presentation of his portrait of His Excellency, Most Rev. Bishop Paul Loverde, at the Gala for Catholic Distance University.
“Companions in Creativity,” The Washington Post, May 11, 2006, an article featuring Great Falls artists, with the Post describing the artist’s work as “the elegant portraits by … McCabe”
“Great Falls Art Tour,” Great Falls Connection, October 4-10, 2006, photo of artist and his work
Creating New Options,” The Fairfax County Times, April 27, 2006, including photo of artist, page 1
“For Arts’ Sake”, Great Falls Connection, April 19-25, 2006, cover photo of the artist and his work
John McCabe and his works (five paintings) were the subject of an article appearing in élan magazine, October 2005, entitled “Art in the First Person: Never too Late to get Started”
A long time resident of Northern Virginia, John McCabe has been painting in oil and watercolor, and drawing in charcoal and pencil, for over twenty years.
John has been a member of the Portrait Society of America since 1999, the Guild of Creative Art since 2003 and Great Falls Studios since 2005. John attended the Washington Studio School, Georgetown, D.C. 2000, 2001 and 2002.
He also attended the Art League School in Alexandria, Virginia, and the Grand Central Academy in New York New York, and participated in workshops with a number of renowned contemporary portrait artists.
Notably, John was in the art residency program of Dacia Gallery, New York, New York in November 2015. John has an undergraduate and an advance degree from Northwestern University, as well as a graduate degree from Fordham University.
John McCabe’s studio is located at 756 Walker Road, Great Falls, Virginia, in The Artist’s Atelier (http://greatfallsatelier.com). He also has a studio in Milford, Connecticut.
He is a former Board member of Great Falls Studios, and current Board member of Great Falls Foundation for the Arts, Inc., known as Arts of Great Falls.
In 2007, Arts of Great Falls founded the Great Falls School of Art: http://www.greatfallsart.org/school-of-art/.