Don McKillop's paintings capture the essence of the land, sea and sky in bold shapes and expressive colors. They are about the images that nature conjures up in creating forms in space. They are about the familiar....seen from his unique perspective. Providing evidence of his significant range as an artist, McKillop often uses his extensive visual vocabulary to satisfy his appetite for describing his surroundings in new ways, sometimes painting both the representational and the abstract qualities and elements of his chosen subject matter.
McKillop works primarily in oils, and paints in plein air in the early mornings and late afternoons, using palette knives and wood panels. In the studio he uses oil pigment sticks as both drawing and painting tools for his larger works crafted on 2.5” deep birch panels. He utilizes the square format of his painting panels to challenge himself in his observations and capture of the subject matter rather than a more traditional “landscape” format and proportions.
As a New England native, a year round resident of Sarasota FL, and a long time coastal sailor, his subjects typically reflect that which he knows well. He previously gained recognition for his striking architectural and yacht portraits. More recently he has worked in the Southwest capturing the rich colors and vast landscape around Santa Fe.
McKillop has been painting most of his life and has been a full-time artist for over 25 years. He relied principally on self-education, but studied with a number of talented mentors including Wolf Kahn and Doug Trump in Masterclasses at the Great River Arts Institute in Vermont and the late nationally renowned plein air impressionist Don Stone on Monhegan Island ME. Prior to that he attended workshops with nationally acclaimed painters Sondra Freckleton and Jack Beal in their New York studios.
"One thing that is constant in my work is a desire to grow, evolve, and make a new impact every time I exhibit. While my style has changed over time and my painting vocabulary moves into a different realm, the message tells the same story - how I observe the world around me. As I reach deeper within, I find new statements to be made, however subtle and disguised they may be," says McKillop. "As I learn new things from life, so does my work."
His paintings and commissioned work have appeared throughout the United States in private and institutional collections including Massachusetts General Hospital and the DeCordova Museum Corporate Art Program.