I made an emotional decision and took an unusual path to become an artist fifty years ago. I had been working for an architectural firm in Moncton, New Brunswick as a structural steel designer when, at the age of twenty-six, I decided I wanted to be an artist.
Without any formal art training, I devoted myself full time to my craft. That was an optimistic, perhaps naïve move back then, but I didn't dare to rethink it, or to allow myself another option. I was committed and I worked seriously full time at my craft and made it my life and livelihood. As time went by, I experienced the inevitable lean and insecure years of establishing myself as an artist. The support, encouragement, and acceptance that I received from my family and community will always be appreciated. The purchasers of my early work probably don't know what an important role they played in my ability to continue.
The paintings in this show were completed either with watercolour or the egg tempera medium. I have used only those two painting mediums almost from the very beginning. My subject matter likewise has not changed. It is the landscape and humble buildings of my beloved New Brunswick.
My work is usually associated with the realism movement in Atlantic Canada or the realistic genre in general. However, more important to me than capturing realistic details, is wanting to reveal my feelings and emotions for my subject. The surprise of those first few snow flurries against a dark November sky, is still breathtaking to me. Being out late at night after a hot day in July and feel the still warm air pass over my skin is exciting. An abandoned and overgrown rock wall or building, in the quiet of an afternoon, can inspire a painting.
After fifty years, I am happy with the decision I made back in 1972. My home and my work as an artist, have melded into a comfortable and rewarding life. My wife Sharon is to be credited for at least half of that.
David McKay, 2022
Established in 1976, Gallery 78 represents artworks of established and emerging Atlantic Canadian artists.
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