Years of outdoor landscape painting and figure drawing have given me a rich painting vocabulary which I use to develop my abstract work. I observe what is around me, I interpret and experiment and then I use my imagination to take a painting in the direction of my own artistic vision. I love structure, but I also love rhythm, movement, spatial tension and color relationship challenges. I layer paint on canvas or board and I sometimes paint in acrylic and sometimes in oil paint. Using mixed-media of drawing materials, torn papers and found objects often adds a layer of depth to my abstract paintings.
McCarten was born into a military family and traveled the world throughout her childhood. As an adult, she continued to travel and especially to places that satisfied her artistic "hungry eye." More than anything else, it is landscapes that have influenced the structures and colors of her abstract paintings. Her favorite places have been the fields of the Luberon Valley in the south of France, the wheat fields of central Montana, the bush deserts of western Africa and the flowing fields of Tuscany in Italy.
McCarten graduated from Penn State University with a BA in Political Science. After graduation she went to Washington D.C. to work at U.S News and World Report and then the Smithsonian Magazine. In time, she left the workplace to be at home with her two small daughters. All the while she had continued to paint and recognized her passion for making paintings. In 1985 she began to attend classes at NoVa Community College, George Mason University and The Corcoran School of Art with William Christenberry. Eventually she began to exhibit and was asked to teach painting to adults at The Art League School in Alexandria. She taught there for 20 years and also conducted painting workshops all around the D.C. Metropolitan area. She continues to live, paint and teach in her home.
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