Dan McGowan supported his large family for many years as a commercial artist, in the time when it was all done by hand. For over 30 years, he created beautiful art for advertisements and products such as Celestial Seasonings Tea boxes, Goodyear Tires, and many many more. He primarily worked with Airbrush, Pen & Ink, Gouache, and Scratchboard.
Later in life, when the world of commercial art had turned largely to computers, Dan decided to pursue his lifelong interest in Oil Painting. He spent many years working on his technique, but it was difficult to find time to paint when he was home in Seattle. The demands of so many things pressed on him, and as most artists know, a blank canvas can be a lot harder to tackle then a sinkful of dishes or a yard full of plants to care for!
So, when he traveled to a small fishing village in Mexico starting about 13 years ago, he found the long stretches of uninterrupted time he needed to paint. He also found the light that was sorely lacking in Seattle most of the year, the light he loved and talked about in reverential tones. Spending two months in Mexico each year, in the heart of winter, filled up his artist’s soul.
Dan was generous with his talents. While in Mexico each year, he would give lessons to all the local children (and sometimes adults) that asked. All he asked in exchange was that they sit for him to draw their portraits.
My dad talked to me about exhibiting his work, something he always wanted to do but had difficulty pulling together. As he got sick, it became harder and he focused on what he really loved–painting. The act of painting, of looking at the light and the scenery, was pure joy and meditation. It was when he was truly happiest.
Dan’s sister Michelle put together this slideshow of his paintings, click on this link to see them: