A painter in “interpretive realism,” Grant Macdonald was born in Leesburg, Virginia. Raised on a farm in Texas, he began to draw at six and took private instruction while in grade school. After completing his secondary education in Virginia, Macdonald received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Mississippi in 1966, and then served as an officer in the Air Force until 1970, when he settled in Kerrville, Texas, to paint. In 1971, the G.I. bill sent him to school at the University of Texas at Austin, where he graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts.
As he says, his “primary interest was portraiture, but my move to the Texas hill country resulted in a new awareness of landscape and wildlife which is abundant here. Also, my long-time interest in the human form has found new expression in my portrayals of contemporary ranch life.” Although Macdonald had been trained in oil painting, he began using acrylics in order to capture the atmospheric qualities of the Texas hill country.
However, in 1987, Macdonald moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he has lived ever since. In attempting to capture the New Mexican light and landscape, Macdonald discovered his acrylic palette would not suffice, and returned to oils in order to capture the colors of his new state. His New Mexico paintings reflect the rare talent of an artist whose fine, detailed approach is enriched by a new awareness, renewed energy, and fresh, vibrant interpretation. In addition to the area’s expansive landscape, Macdonald also enjoys the more intimate aspects of Santa Fe and paints en plein air, recreating light and shadows playing off of adobe structures, lilacs and wisteria profusely blooming in the springtime, summer’s abundance of delicate wildflowers.
Macdonald’s view of his career is a meshing of his talent, drive and determination. “I believe the viewer brings his own experience and imagination to a painting, but an artist should not depend on his viewer. An artist should also be a craftsman. He must have mastered technical skills. An untrained child wildly banding on a piano is expressing himself, but we would hardly call him a musician. The same standard should apply to artists. People who paint as a hobby think ‘wouldn’t it be great to do this for a living,’ but I do ten times as much painting as I would for my own enjoyment.”
Macdonald has exhibited extensively throughout the United States, and has been featured in magazines such as Southwest Art.