David McKay was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick in 1945. He graduated from Fredericton High School in 1964 and Saint John Institute of Technology in 1967. He is a self-taught artist.
David decided to give up his career as a structural technologist in 1972 and become a full time artist. Since that time he has shown his work in over 100 exhibitions in galleries in Canada, the United States and Europe. He is an elected member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA) and recently served a four year term on the Board of Directors of the Canada Council for the Arts.
Over the past four decades, McKay has been included in exhibitions at the Montreal Olympics, the Canadian Cultural Centre in France and the National Gallery in Canada. Numerous magazine and newspaper articles as well as radio and television programs have featured McKay’s work including Bravo Television and CBC Television and Radio.
McKay uses two traditional media for his paintings; watercolour on rag paper and egg tempera on gessoed panels. “Working in watercolour gives me the freedom to be both loose and controlled at will and within the same painting. Egg tempera, by contrast, has a narrower range of manipulation. I am drawn to the earthiness of egg tempera and at times there seems to be a physical affinity between the subject matter and the actual paint that I am applying. The paint mixture is very thin and the thousands, perhaps millions, of tiny brush strokes give egg tempera paintings their unique appearance. Although I am considered a realistic painter, it is not necessarily my intention to be realistically accurate in my renderings. My approach to painting seems to have evolved from a combination of memory and imagination. It is the emotional relationship that I have with my subject, rather than the factual depiction of its details, that I try to convey.”