Don Farrell – Born 1942 in Vancouver and has resided on Vancouver Island since 1999.

Don chose self education which freed him to determine his direction through studying the fascinating considerations in Modern Art.  “Art schools are great and necessary, but in the early sixties automatic painting was in vogue and that wasn’t for me at the time.”

Don was approached by fellow artist Jean Duffey, about submitting paintings for the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 1984 Exhibition in London.  To his complete surprise he not only had three paintings selected, he was awarded their top prize, the “RI Medal” and also received an honorary mention.

Don was elected a full member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colour in 1984, was also elected to full membership of the Royal Society of British Artists in 1985.
“I attended the 1985 RI Exhibition, where I had the privilege of meeting Prince Charles, who wanted to purchase one of my paintings showing in the exhibition.  Unfortunately, no one at the reception knew the piece had sold. The Royal Institute then asked me if I would do a similar painting for the Prince, which I happily provided.”

Don’s work has been moving towards abstract considerations, focusing on composition in contemporary art.   His work contains recurring motifs of tiny markings and shapes, as well as etched characters or patterns that can hint at a narrative.  It is these qualities which makes Don’s paintings all the more rewarding with each closer inspection and which give them there lasting appeal.

He has participated in a number of Art Fairs in recent years, including the Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions in 2004 and 2005 and continues to participate in the RI Annual Exhibitions at the Mall Gallery in London.




Learning from art history and connecting to the major developments in painting is fundamental to me.  I have come to appreciate the need for abstraction and how it invites the viewer to participate with the artist, and this has led me to the feeling that orchestrating composition is the most important consideration in painting.

A composition cannot succeed without genuine effort, sincerity, and above all visual poetry.

Blending intellect with intuition is absolutely fascinating, because there are no formal considerations to follow other than knowledge and experience. The requirement and the pleasure of contemplation is most satisfying when searching for connections or symbols which we all share.

My restricted palette allows me to concentrate on each composition’s overall sense of balance and design, providing a contemplative feel and consistency. The slightest mark has impact and must be well-considered.

The feeling for things, thoughts, and how we interpret has come to the forefront for me.  I now ask myself, what is the prime consideration of this composition or series, and stay with it until the connection is there.


Public Exhibitions:

2005 Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition, London

2004 Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition, London

Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours Annual Exhibitions, London

1985-95 Royal Society of British Artists Annual Exhibitions, London


Art Fairs:

2005 Toronto International Art Fair

2004 London Art Fair

2003 Works on Paper,  Park Avenue Armory,  New York

2003 Art on Paper,  Royal Collage of Art,  London

2003 London Contemporary Art Fair

2002 Works on Paper,  Park Avenue Armory,  New York

2002 Art on Paper,  Royal College of Art,  London

2002 British Arts Fair,  Commonwealth Institute,  London

2002 London Contemporary Art Fair

2002 Royal College of Art,  London

2001 London Contemporary Art Fair

2000 20/21 Art Fair in London

1998 Vancouver International Art Fair



Adrian Hill Gallery, 2019, Holt, Norfolk, UK

Buschlen Mowatt Gallery, 2006 – 2010, Vancouver, Canada

Gallerie Art Mayence, 2006 – 20012, Mainz Germany

Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibition, 2005, London UK

Gallery Jones, 2005 – 2006, Vancouver Canada

Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibition, 2004, London UK

Adam Gallery, 2000 – 2007, London and Bath UK

The Gallery on Cork Street, 2000-2001, London UK

Elissa Cristall Gallery, 2000-2002, Vancouver Canada

Atlas Gallery, 1998 Chicago, United States

The Catto Gallery, 1996, Hampstead London UK

Manor House Gallery, 1995-1998, Chipping Norton UK

Sui Generis Gallery, 1995-1998, North Vancouver Canada

Llewellyn Alexander Gallery, 1992- 2000, Waterloo London UK

Linda Blackstone Gallery, 1992-1999, Pinner UK

Shell House Gallery, 1991-1999, Ledbury UK

Blackheath Gallery, 1988-1992, London UK




RI Then and Now

Contemporary British Water-Colour Artists, Don Farrell – Shandong Fine Art Publishing House, China

Design & Composition Secrets of Professional Artists – International Artist Publishing Inc, USA

Works hang in H.R.H. The Prince of Wales collection as well as private collections in the United Kingdom, Canada, Europe and the United States.

Listed in “Who’s Who in Art in Britain”.


3 thoughts on “Biography

  1. Hi Don,
    I have been enjoying your painting, their composition and colour.
    I would be interested to know about your use of mixed media on paper. You say “priming the surface with mixed media” I love you build up of surface. I work on both paper and canvas but any build up on paper causes difficulties.
    I use gouache do you use acrylic paint?

    • Hi Ann,

      Thank you for contacting me and for your interest in my approach. I enjoyed your sight and see why you would be interested in my evolved technique.

      I use Golden Pumice Gel (smooth, coarse and extra course) on stretched smooth Arches paper. As I tend to become quite aggressive the underlying surface needs to be tough and firm.

      I use a variety of water soluble paints mixed with acrylic mediums. On canvas I work on a wall and include water mixable oil paint along with the watercolours.

      Let me know how it goes.

      Cheers, Don

  2. Hi Don I was wondering how your career is going and now I know .

    I retired in 2015 and I am living in Squamish .I still get together every Christmas season with ex employees of NP some of who you worked with .

    Best wishes Bill Grimshaw .

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