Monday, June 7, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill

The oil spill breaks my heart. I love nature and I love the gulf coast where I live. The mangroves, the birds, the fish, the crabs and hundreds of other little and big things in our eco-system are being harmed. Nature is my life. I want to help......

I can help with your help. 10% of all purchases of paintings or prints will go to the Audubon Society's fund to help rescue birds. Go to my website and enjoy looking at what is now endangered by the spill.

Thank you for helping!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Carol McArdle's New Painting

My newest painting is of leaning sable palms with resurrection ferns on their trunks and a moss covered oak at the edge of the Caloosahatchee River in South West FL. It is just after sunrise and the early rays create glowing highlights on the trees and grasses.

"First Light" oil on canvas, 36" x 24"

See more great paintings of Florida's natural beauty at

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Birds in Art 2010 Finalist

It has happened again! My art has been accepted into the Birds in Art 2010! Last year's painting in the exhibit was
"White Hope", this year's piece is "Movement and Stillness in the Swamp"

Out of 922 entries from around the world 115 final pieces were chosen.

The judges were;
Judith A. Hayner, Executive Director, Muskegon Museum of Art, Muskegon,Michigan;
Thomas W. Jones, Executive Director, Museum of the Southwest,Midland, Texas;
and Ann Landi, Journalist and Contributing Editor, ARTnews, New York

I will keep you posted as we get closer to the exhibit which will be in September at the
Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, WI.

I have prints available on my website, or just email me at, if you have any questions.

Have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

"Green Heron Haven" is a 20" x 16" oil painting of the shy little bird among the young red mangrove shoots in Southwest FL.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Carol McArdle Bird Paintings for Sale

My newest bird painting can be seen on my website, It is of a great egret caught in the glowing rays of sunset while perched on the top of a cypress tree in the Big Cypress Preserve in South Florida. The bird's white feathers were catching the rays of the setting sun and turned subtle pink, orange and yellow.
To achieve the effect of the radiant sunset sky I painted many layers of glazes with acrylic paint and medium. Each layer of paint was transparent with slightly varying colors to create more 'shimmer' and depth.
To paint the cypress branches and leaves I spent a lot of time brushing in hundreds of individual leaves to simulate the effect the tiny needle type leaves. I love the long 'dripping' cypress blossoms and they really add to the mood of the painting.
The Title of the painting is "Cypress Sentinel" Acrylic on canvas 20" x 16" Own the original for $1,800 or.....
Purchase a signed giclee print on canvas or watercolor paper, of the same size, 20" x 16". Price for paper, $250, or on stretched canvas, $275 plus shipping, other sizes available. Call or Email Carol McArdle now to order and to get more details. Email: Ph: - 239-267-4750

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Who's Hanging on Your Walls?

Why You May Have Better Cultural Taste Than Most!
I used to make a living from commissioned murals, tromp l'oeil and faux finishing. I still do some murals and examples of them are on my site. But that's not the point I want to make here, what I want to talk about is what I learned about the art that many people have on the walls of their homes, even expensive dream homes that can afford some of the better art available.

Do You Know Who's Hanging on Your Walls?
I often work with interior designers, those artists of a different medium that can visualize your whole house, room by room, who know every high end name in fabrics, furniture, accessories, wall treatments and papers etc. I very much admire them and I cannot do what they do. Designers love to be hired by the wealthy who are able to have a large budget to get their interiors just right. What a pleasure to be able to create without too much thought for cost. Each chair around the dining table may cost thousands, the light fixtures can be imported from Italy and the cost may easily be in the double digit thousands. A tiny decorative pillow that is rarely seen may cost a weeks pay for some of us. Same goes for the rest of what they fill their houses with, you get the point. (I LOVE these customers by the way, they provide work for of many, many people!)

After the house becomes a showcase for the best of the best, then we come to the art for the walls. Many times what I saw on the walls in million dollar homes with all the best designer furniture and fabrics etc. were decorative prints, often manufactured in China and many that you could get at any home decor chain store. While there is nothing wrong with decorative prints, in my opinion they do not do justice to the beauty of the rest of the house. Many designers and home owners do not have real art on their radars and it becomes an after-thought with very little of the decorating budget assigned to it. More time, care and money can be spent on the wallpaper or wall-finish or even just the plain wall paint color than the art. Yes, the contractors painting the walls of a room may cost more than the decorative prints that are placed on them.

Did You Know....Not All Originals are Original?
Sometimes I saw original paintings instead of just decorative prints. What the homeowner may not know is that many 'originals' are more mass produced 'art' from China. There are many factory-studios where the same painting, often plagiarized off a real artist's work from America or Europe, is painted over and over again. Original painting? Hand painted, yes. Art? Is it or isn't it in your opinion? That's at the higher-end of the art from these factory-studios and some of it is very well painted. In many cases the 'original art' is painted by multiple 'artists'. Each one has one color and paints the same one or a few strokes over and over again as the painting goes from 'artist' to 'artist' down the conveyer belt. To any artist or a trained eye these are easy to spot as the style has such disconnect and it's obvious that the strokes are different all over the piece. There are many galleries, high end designer show rooms and 'exclusive' furniture and accessory stores full of this 'art'. They are filling a demand but I just want people to know what they are buying and how huge the mark up in price is. If they still are happy with it then that's fine but you cannot make a real choice without the real information.

Is A Brush Stroke Just a Brush Stroke?
Talking about strokes, did you know that an artist's brush stroke is unique and usually the more developed the artist the more distinct and refined their style, including strokes? Artists train and practice hard for years and years to get their strokes just right and to make every one count. Beginner artists often have no idea that it's their strokes betray their inexperience, it can take years just to build an awareness and an eye for them. The most 'careless' strokes can be the hardest. It takes excellence to make a stroke that looks like it was quickly slapped on but is done exactly how the artist wants. That stroke communicates something in a different way than a smooth 'invisible' stroke. (both can be equally important in paintings). What the viewer sees is something that they love to look at, something alive and magical about the piece they are viewing. You may just see a great painting, but the well trained, perfectly placed strokes are what makes it sing. Most of the time you need to see the original, not a photo or reproduction to really see this in a painting. (Although I must say that some giclee prints can be quite extraordinary in how well they reproduce a piece, they are still not originals though!)

So, if you enjoy art and if you own original art, or even a print that you carefully chose, you are better informed than many, even many of the super wealthy who rely on their interior designers' choices. The pleasure that art can give you; just coming across or hunting for the right piece and falling in love with it; purchasing and owning the piece that captured your heart; being able to enjoy it, sometimes with glances, sometimes with long looks in different lights, seeing how the light changes it; knowing you own something special and even watching the value of that piece increase as you watch the artist's career develop, is something that you can value and be proud of. In my biased opinion it makes you a special person that I am deeply thankful for. Without you there would be far less opportunity for artists to develop their art. There would be far less beauty in the world. You, your understanding of, your love of, and your purchasing of art is the vacuum that art fills. You really do help in the process of the art that we artists create.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

White Hope

"White Hope" is the title of my oil painting that is in the finals of the International Guild of Realism's Fourth Annual Juried Exhibition

The annual juried exhibition, representing 48 Artists from 16 countries, premieres February 17, 2009, at the Weatherburn Gallery in Naples, Florida. The opening night festivities start at 6:00 p.m. with the awards presentation and a reception for art collectors, art lovers, and all attending Artist Members and their guests.

Visit for additional information on the International Guild of Realism’s Fourth Annual Juried Exhibition at the Weatherburn Gallery, in Naples, Florida.

See more of my paintings at

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Something Meaningful to Say, or See.

It's been a while since I wrote anything here. I often talk myself out of writing anything unless I feel I have something really meaningful to say. If that was the standard for writing or saying something this world would be a lot quieter! It seems to me that our world is getting louder and noisier each moment. Where will it lead I wonder?

Back to meaningful. I may not always have words that I judge as meaningful but paintings or photos, that's my forte. I believe that all my artwork has something to say, something that contributes a positive vibe, shows a unique angle, exposes beauty that may not have been noticed if I hadn't exposed it, gives people a moment of joy in their busy lives, reminds people of something important such as taking care of our environment. I could go on and on. But rather than reading about it, why not just look at it. Go to my website

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Art of Repetition

Is my newest painting "Mangrove Highlights" just a repetition or did I try something new? I have wanted to paint more mangroves ever since the first two, "Mangrove Roots" and "Mangrove Shadows" ( go to http:/ to view) but have not been able to find just the right mangroves to paint. I have kayaked for hours on the Estero River taking hundreds of photographs of the mangroves there, same in Matlacha, Estero and other local areas, all to no avail. I finally decided that I had to go back to my favorite bunch of mangroves and like Monet's famous haystacks and other subjects, as well as other artists, paint the same subject.

As an artist I have always tried to make my work original as well as pushing each new painting beyond the previous one in quality. I never want to become the type of artist that keeps repeating their work and never trying a new angle, a new color, a new technique, etc.

So what is different between "Mangrove Roots" and "Mangrove Highlights" other than size? The main thing I set out to achieve with "Highlights" was brighter colors. I made the sky much brighter and used generally stronger colors throughout. I also wanted to draw focus to the front waters with the dappled highlights as well as light blue and a touch of white ripple highlights dancing on the front waters. Finally I added more interest with the new mangrove plant nested among the front roots.


I also plan on painting more mangroves from a whole new batch of photographs I took last week. I checked when the highest tide of the month would be and when I got there I went wading and climbing through the mangrove trees. With my camera in one hand and the bug spray in the other (the mosquitos were hungry in the flooded mangrove forest!) I shot the beautiful blue waters, the red, red newer roots, the twisted shapes of roots and branches splashed with dots of dappled sunlight, and the hypnotic abstract reflections on the gentle waves.

I wish the camera could catch it all, the feeling of being surrounded by those enchanted trees with roots and branches that merge and twist and reach and drop, and walk out right into the ocean. Native Americans even called them walking trees. What kept going through my head was, this is the real "Magic Kingdom" of Florida. It was magic indeed and I only hope that I can capture just a little bit of it in my paintings.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Being Right-Brained

Thanks to my friend Mary for forwarding this to me:

Recently, I was diagnosed with A. A. A. D. D. -
(well, I am actually diagnosing MYSELF...) Age Activated Attention
Deficit Disorder.
This is how it manifests: I decide to water my garden. As I turn on the hose in the driveway,
I look over at my car and decide my car needs washing. As I start toward the garage, I notice that there is mail on the
porch table that I brought up from the mailbox earlier.
I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car. I lay my car
keys down on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the
table, and notice that t he can is full. So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the
garbage first. But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I
take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.
I take my checkbook off the table, and see that there is only one
check left.
My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the
house to my desk, where I find the can of Coke that I had been drinking.
I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke
aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over. I realize the Coke is
getting warm, and I decide I should put it in the refrigerator to keep
it cold. As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on
the counter catches my eye--they need to be watered.

I set the Coke down on the counter, and I discover my reading
glasses that I've been searching for all morning.
I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to
water the flowers. I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with
water, and suddenly I spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen
I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I will be looking
for the remote, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I
decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water
the flowers. I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on
the floor. So, I set the remote back down on the table, get some towels and
wipe up the spill Then I head down the hall trying to remember what I was
planning to do. At the end of the day:
the driveway is flooded,
the car isn't washed,
the bills aren't paid,
there is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter,
there is still only one check in my check book,
I can't find the remote,
I can't find my glasses,
and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.
Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm
really baffled, because I know I was busy all day long, and I'm really
I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help
for it, but first I'll check my e-mail.
Do me a favor, will you? Forward this message to everyone you know,
I don't remember who I have sent it to. Don't laugh -- if this isn't you yet, your day is coming!

I wrote this in reply:

That's me exactly and guess what? This is how us artists are BORN! When you are right-brained you see everything as connected, nothing is compartmentalized, you don't filter information that your senses take in and even though you are busy, busy, busy it sometimes seems like nothing gets done! You can learn how to use it to your advantage and get lots of things done at once, but it's a constant challenge.

I have been told so many times, when people see my paintings, that they envy my talent and it must be so great to be able to paint so beautifully. That's true, I love being creative but being right-brained sure has its price!!! You would not believe the mess on my desk with many different open folders and papers with tasks all half done because I find it so hard to complete one job without getting distracted by another one.

The worst thing is when your friends who you haven't seen for a while ask what you have been doing. You know you have been busy doing lots of little things but how do you explain it?!

Are women more right-brained? I think so. Don't women always multi-task? And I think it gets worse as you get older and you add some forgetfulness. I wonder how this information is connected. Research has recently shown that Alzheimer patients who are also artists do not lose their ability to paint or create.

If you want to see my paintings go to,

Carol McArdle Art

Anything about Carol McArdle's art, paintings, photography and murals. Thoughts about art, my career and anything else that affects my life and thoughts as an artist.