Painter, teacher and writer Doris McCarthy died peacefully in her beloved home, Fool's Paradise, overlooking the Scarborough Bluffs in Toronto on Nov. 25, 2010.
She was 100.
Her milestone birthday was celebrated earlier this year with Roughing in the Bush, a retrospective of her nearly eight decade career at the Doris McCarthy Gallery at the Scarborough campus of the University of Toronto. Her gallery, Wynick/Tuck congratulated her achievements and longevity with its own exhibition of the evolution of her technique and style, Eight Paintings/Eight Decades.
Born on July 7, 1910, in Calgary, Alta., McCarthy moved to Toronto with her family just before the First World War. She studied at the Ontario College of Art on scholarship under Group of Seven artists, including J.E. H. MacDonald and Arthur Lismer. After graduating in 1930, she worked for a pittance at Grip, the advertising agency where some the Group had met years before. Wanting a real job, she became a teacher at Central Technical School and taught there for the next four decades. Artists Harold Klunder and Joyce Wieland were among her students.
At 62, she took early retirement, and devoted herself to her own empowerment as a painter, a traveller and a mature student. She travelled throughout Canada, including the High Arctic, seeking inspiration from the contours and the colours of this vast land, and, at the age of 76, she graduated with a BA (Hons.) from the U of T.
Besides a prolific output as a painter, she was the first female president of the Ontario Society of Artists and the author of three memoirs. The last, Ninety Years Wise, was published in 2004. McCarthy, who never married, received many honours during her lifetime, including the Order of Canada and several honorary degrees. Funeral arrangements are pending.
A full obituary is forthcoming.