Artist of Note | Lynn McLain

Interpretive inspiration

Lynn McLain, Awe of the Canyon, watercolor, 17 x 30.

Lynn McLain, Awe of the Canyon, watercolor, 17 x 30.

This story was featured in the September 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art September 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Watercolor artist Lynn McLain can find inspiration in anything, from the grandeur of the national parks to the manhole covers in the road. His realistic works are based on the things we see in our everyday lives, but the specifics are up for interpretation.

McLain started drawing with colored pencils during his childhood. “Once that bug to create gets in you, you have to use it in some way,” he says. While counselors and teachers encouraged him to pursue art, he chose a career in architecture to combine his love of creativity with the stable job his parents expected him to get. While working in his field, McLain taught several watercolor classes on the side. But after he retired, he moved to a cabin in the mountains of New Mexico and pursued painting full time. McLain was drawn to watercolor because of its unpredictable nature. “It gives you some control, but it still surprises you,” he says. “You’ve really got to get it right the first time, and I like that challenge.”

While McLain’s love for nature is prominent throughout his work, he also finds inspiration in the patterns on city streets or the smooth lines of western relics. Yet he always returns to the beauty of the land surrounding his home. “There are many landscape painters out there, and they’re all very good,” he says. “What makes one different from another is the strength of the message and what you have to say that people will take home with them.” —Mackenzie McCreary

McLain is represented by Sage Fine Art Gallery, Taos, NM, and www.lynnmclain.com.

This story was featured in the September 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art September 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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