The Zoomer List: Canada’s Top 45 Over 45: Doris McCarthy

WHO: Artist, art educator

WHY: At least three retrospectives celebrated her centenary in July

For more than 80 years, Doris McCarthy has been roughing it in the bush with an easel and a box of paints. Summers at her cottage on Georgian Bay, Ont. generated images of the Canadian Shield; imposing icebergs appeared after visits to the Arctic in 1972, finally made possible by her retirement from a 40-year teaching career.

McCarthy experimented with many styles to better instruct her students; as a result, few artists have been as eclectic. A July retrospective at the University of Toronto by Curator Nancy Campbell included abstracts from the 1960s that proved to be the transitional step to her later iconic icebergs.

In the 1930s, a student of Group of Seven member Arthur Lismer at the Ontario College of Art, McCarthy has always felt the need to trek into the wilds to paint. She has told Campbell she still has a painting or two left to paint. No one who knows her is surprised.