Studio visit: Tim McFarlane

Tim McFarlane‘s studio, located in the gallery section of Philadelphia on North 3rd Street, is chock full of new paintings. Represented for many years by Bridgette Mayer, MacFarlane, nearly 50, is best known for colorful, looping abstract forms. In an unexpected departure, the new work expels vivid color and also incorporates floral stencil patterns. This past week, I took my PAFA MFA seminar students for a studio visit, and McFarlane generously shared stories and advice with this new generation of Philadelphia artists.

 Many of McFarlane’s new paintings feature silver, to which still photographs cannot completely do justice. Metallic pigments require movement to capture their full effect.

McFarlane’s primary focus is on the passage of time. “The masses of forms overlapping,
supporting, and negating each other in my work mirror observations of
everyday life; of how people interact with each other and their
surroundings, as well as how the passage of time imposes itself on the
memory of experience,” he writes in his artist’s statement. “I am interested in creating connections in my work
for the viewer that may lead to a more unique understanding and

 McFarlane’s beat-up, paint-covered floral stencils.

 Acrylic paints, masking tape, large putty knives and spackling tools are among McFarlane’s favorite materials.

 More new work, possibly finished.

 McFarlane showed us a series of paintings on paper on which he works through ideas and images that eventually appear in his finished canvases. He rarely shows this work in exhibitions because the cost of framing is prohibitive.

 Studio wall.

 A charming older work.

 Tools to keep track of time.

 Reading rack.

 Thanks, Tim, for having us over. Let’s keep in touch.


 Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. For permission to use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.


  1. Totally drooolworthy.

    I'd love to see them 'in the flesh.'

    Any idea when/where they might be shown? (Thnx for sharing this.)


  2. I like these a lot. Ditto-thanks for sharing. The silver and black paints are so tactile.

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