Don McLeay was born on March 21, 1940 in North Battleford, Saskatchewan.
He moved at the age of nine to Victoria, British Columbia and began work
in his early teens. His work and travels have taken him to Baffin Island,
Inuvik in the Arctic, Alberta, California, Mexico and Oklahoma.
Nisga'a and Kwakiutl influenced Don's earlier works. One of the most influential
artists in Don's career was carver Russell Smith in 1970. In May of 1975,
McLeay went to Toronto for a show and met someone who would again influence
his work; Norval Morrisseau. The Woodland artist introduced new elements which McLeay brought
into his work.
His works on paper contain the stylistic expression that is uniquely
McLeay. Images are taken from nature and his native background. Traces of
West Coast design - patterns of flat, bright colours, and geometric designs
characteristic of American southwest paintings are found in his paintings
For the past 10 years or so Don has worked almost exclusively in wood,
from free standing sculptures to 3 dimensional wall panels. He has also
developed a line of fine art functional furniture that incorporates carved
and painted west coast design and is in everyday use in homes across Canada.