All in the Family

Afternoon at the bar, oil, 36 x 48 by Danny McCaw
Afternoon at the bar, oil, 36 x 48 by Danny McCaw

By Virginia Campbell

The city of Torrance lies about 30 miles southwest of Los Angeles on the California coast, near the surfing mecca of Redondo Beach. In the middle of downtown Torrance, along a pleasantly gentrified retail strip with collectibles shops and cafes, McCaw Studio announces itself in a clear, elegant font on the frosted glass of a simple storefront. Inside the large glass windows, a single painting—a moody oil of a European architectural facade—provides the only indication of what kind of studio this is. Standing in front of McCaw Studio, you wouldn’t guess that inside is the workspace of not one but three talented painters.

Danny McCaw, whose painting hangs in the window, looks like the strapping young surfer he is—strong, healthy, handsome, and easy-going, His friendly good nature gives little hint that he possesses the intensity and discipline that being a painter entails. But he paints with stirring authority, exhibiting an obvious passion for the subtleties of muted colors and a palpable curiosity about what emotions and sensations paint can evoke.
At 28, Danny is the youngest of the painting McCaws. He occupies one section of the 5,000-square-foot studio. His father, the well-known painter Dan McCaw, holds forth from the middle of the room. The far end is the domain of John McCaw, Danny’s older brother, who paints large abstract canvases.

“This used to be a dance studio,” says Danny. “We took down the barres and mirrored walls and found the brick. We refinished the wood floor and installed a lighting system that’s good for both painting and exhibiting,” Danny explains, while his father demonstrates, switching from bright overhead light to spotlights that cast warm light on the walls. There’s also space in the back of the studio where John overseas the design and construction of frames…

Featured in May 2003

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