This 1965 distemper on paper abstracted portrait is by Bay Area artist Alysanne McGaffey (1931-2018). Born in Seattle, McGaffey moved to San Francisco in the mid 1950s to study at SFAI with Bay Area Figurative pioneers Joan Brown, Nathan Oliveira, Jay DeFeo, Walter Kuhlman, and Manuel Neri. McGaffey also took classes at CCAC and UC Berkeley, and received an MFA in Painting from the University of San Francisco. She became involved in community arts organizations, holding offices in several, including the Coastal Arts League and Pacifica's Cultural Arts Commission. Eventually McGaffey's gaze moved from the figure to the landscape, and she spent the last thirty years traveling the Northern California coast painting watercolor seascapes.
Distemper on Paper
22.5"x23.5" framed, 11"x12" unframed
Distemper refers to any water based paint that blends chalk with an organic-based binder. It has a soft, velvety finish and was commonly used by Bay Area Figurative artists in the 1950s-1960s.