Can’t I Be Part of a Painting Dynasty?

5 Oct 2014

Paris by Danny McCaw, oil painting.
Paris by Danny McCaw, 24 x 16.

Not to be a whiner, but I don't have an artistic legacy to build on. So far as I know, no one in my family is an artist or has any particular leanings towards painting or drawing. That's why I'm so enamored with the idea of being part of an artistic dynasty. Imagine having a big brother or sister who would have "all the answers" and could show me the ropes and teach me the painting techniques I should know.

I'm not too proud to admit that I'd love someone to take me under his or her wing, because even now I find myself searching for how to take the next step. And I think there is something really special about the idea of learning about and exploring and sharing art with someone I love or a member of my family.

Orange and Yellow on Red Relief by John McCaw, 40 x 30. Still Life by Dan McCaw, 36 x 24
Orange and Yellow on Red Relief by John McCaw, 40 x 30.    Still Life by Dan McCaw,
36 x 24.

Even though I may not have my own legacy, there are plenty of artistic legacies out there to inspire me. Think of the Wyeth family--the only lessons Andrew ever received were from his father, and Jamie acknowledges that his grandfather's work and palette greatly influenced him.

Betye Saar's two daughters are both artists and they have worked collaboratively with their mother in the past and done group shows together. Oil painting is the legacy that contemporary American artist Dan McCaw shared with his two sons, John and Danny. He privately taught Danny for a number of years, and all three share one website. They work in different styles, and yet come together over their mutuality with art and present themselves as a family of artists.

But when I look through resources like Oil Painting with the Masters, I am reminded that I am part of an artistic legacy and that there are great artists out there willing to share their artistry and exchange ideas for the good of that painting legacy. Not one bound by blood ties or locale, but by passion and creativity. Thank you for being part of that legacy with me, and thanks to our shared desire to continue creating art for bringing us together.

P.S. Are you part of an artistic legacy? Or inspired by one that you know of? Leave a comment and tell me all about it!

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Teddy8 wrote
on 23 Sep 2011 6:26 AM


Artists are truly kindred spirits driven by a passion for art.  Just the other day, I was looking at American Artist magazines from several years ago.  It was interesting to see the names of artists that I have meet in the last few years.  How differently, I see those individual today.  Previously, they were just names and beautiful artwork.  Today, I can put a face with those names and realize they are seeking to express themselves by sharing their God given talent with others.  Although, they are at a different level than many of us, it is encouraging and rewarding to watch them paint.  It makes me feel that hardwork and commitment can bring success.

Courtney, thanks for the many great articles that you share with us.

Thanks again,



Kisu wrote
on 23 Sep 2011 11:03 AM

Well, my older brother is a successful regional artist, and while it has offered some great things over my life, there is a down side.  The advice and guidance is wonderful, but unless that family member respects your individuality, and understands that you are not a 'Mini-me'  version of that person, it can get out of hand and places a lot of pressure on you.  And asserting your own artistic identity can upset that relationship if the person is very rigid in thinking and controlling.

KatPaints wrote
on 25 Sep 2011 5:10 PM

Think adoption.

madmac1290 wrote
on 25 Sep 2011 9:01 PM

Many of us are not but we could be the beginning of that legacy. Such pride knowing you started it, passed it on and watched it as it got passed down from generation to generation. Something to think about.

jweb21 wrote
on 26 Sep 2011 8:32 PM

enjoyed  your article " Can't I be part of a painting dynasty".  I have been painting for two yrs. I was a bank president and as you can guest that is a pretty stressful job the last 2yrs. I decided to take of painting as golf was getting just as stressful. I could always draw from the time I was 5 but never got around to painting. It was the best thing I could have done. Painting was a God sent. Since that time I have sold about 10 pieces. It's not about the money its that somebody liked the art. Art have been in my family for a long time. My great great grandfather was a painter. I have one of his painting in my studio. It was painted in 1921. My great aunt painted until she was 102yrs old. My current teacher is a very good artist. He has painting in the Smithsonian. He made a very interesting comment. He said that we now can trace our roots back to Rembrandt. This is how. He(his name is Carl Groh) was taught by a very well known artist named Aaron Shikler. He did the portrait of President Kennedy. Mr. Shikler was from Germany. He was taught by a artist who was taught by artist etc. all the way back to Rembrandt. I thought that was cool.  Jerome