Don McAra - ARTIST BIOGRAPHY
Don lives in Christchurch. He was born in Wellington in 1937. His father, a commercial artist, was killed in Crete, May 1941. His mother was a broadcaster and potter. He was educated at the University of Otago and completed his MA at the University of Canterbury, followed by a Diploma of Drama in Education at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. His early art studies were at the School of Art Dunedin, and he studied water colour with H.V. Miller (Dunedin) and Life Painting with Doris Lusk (Christchurch.)
“For the first part of my working life I taught Secondary School subjects (at Linwood High School, Christchurch, 1962-67) including Drama and Art, and was for 19 years Senior Lecturer in Drama in Education training teachers, at Christchurch College of Education. I resigned at the end of 1987, in order to paint full time. I am married to Jill, and we have five adult children and five grandchildren.
In making my artwork I enjoy the co-ordination of hand, eye, and perception that make up good drawing and composition. I enjoy applying paint not so much as a subject matter in its own right, as a medium for communicating quite simply and directly what is before me, or what is in my imagination. I enjoy the step by step realisation of images which never turn out quite the way I had envisaged them, and the moods and feelings evoked as I work.”
Over the years I have tutored painting at institutions including CoCA and Canterbury Art Groups. While demonstrating my own approach where necessary, my main focus is on helping students to find their own style.
EXHIBITIONS & AWARDS:
2013 First Prize, Annual Exhibition, Otago Art Society, Dunedin
2010 Travel to paint in Scotland and Spain
2008 Travel to paint in Britain and Spain
2007 Otago Art Society Exhibition & Book Launch “Hold
Very Tight Please”, with 75 paintings of NZ Cable Cars, their life and times
2004 July: Fishers Fine Arts, with Clark Esplin
2003 August: Fishers Fine Arts, with Don Hill
2002 March: Fishers Fine Arts, with Lindsay Jefferis & Ernest Papps
June: Selwyn Gallery, Darfield with Maurice Askew, Malcolm Mason, Geoffrey Shaw & Brian T Simon
2001 May: Fishers Fine Arts, with Clark Esplin
July: Rosslyn Gallery, Dunedin & Bealey Gallery Christchurch
2000 March: Fishers Fine Arts, with Bill Moore
April: Rutherford Gallery
1999 February: Rutherford Gallery, with Clark Esplin & Bill Moore
May to October was spent painting in Crete, Italy, France, Northumberland, Edinburgh, Ireland, Portugal and Spain.
- July: Fishers Fine Arts: “Three Artists.”
August: One of six artists in “Portrait of Lyttelton,” Bealey Gallery
September: Rosslyn Gallery, with Clark Esplin & Philip Beadle
December: Pre-Christmas Exhibitions in Christchurch
New Zealand Artists’ Exhibition, Cork Street Gallery, London.
1997 Rosslyn Gallery. Completed a major commission for University of Otago’s first 150 years.
1995 - 97 Pre-Christmas shows at Bealey Gallery, & Fishers Fine Arts
- Exhibitions at Fishers Fine Arts
1987 - 94 Five solo exhibitions at Canterbury Society of Arts including “Crete, Fifty Years After.”
- First Prize at Ashburton Licensing Trust Exhibition
Three prizes at Mainland Art Awards & Canterbury Society of Arts
1992 Three months painting and sketching in Britain, Ireland, Italy and Greece
1985 Solo Exhibition Canterbury Society of Arts, Christchurch
1982 Solo Exhibition in Gallery 111, Christchurch
1980 - 1981 Sabbatical Leave, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
1964 – 67 Two exhibitions in Globe Theatre, Dunedin. New Zealand