Don Irwin was born in Toronto, Canada in 1933, and raised in London, Ontario. Don's father was an explorer of back roads and an appreciator of beautiful, off-the-beaten-path landscapes, a sentiment roundly transferred to his son. Don's father also was a frustrated artist who found it necessary to work in other fields to support his family, but he nevertheless encouraged his son's interest in art. In 1952, Don graduated from the London School of Art in London, Ontario.
In 1953, Don's family moved to the United States and settled in the San Francisco Bay Area. After a three-year stint in the U.S. Army from 1955 to 1958, Don studied privately in Germany and took art courses at the University of California at Berkeley.
Don began earning his living through art in 1958 when he joined the editorial art staff of the San Francisco Examiner, then one of the Bay Area's most prominent newspapers. Don moved professionally in 1965 to become Art Director at Classic Press in Berkeley, where he illustrated 30 books for children.
The big step came in 1970, when Don undertook to earn his living as a full-time painter, mostly celebrating the varied California landscapes that he had come to love. Don is now very well known because of his masterful depiction of rolling, oak-studded California hillsides. His several posters of those images sold well from the early 1980s until they went out of print in the mid-1990s. But Don's talent was much broader. His original acrylic-on-canvas landscapes include coastlines such as Point Lobos as well as many out-of-the-way places in the Four-Corners area of the American Southwest, an area where Don vacationed annually for more than a decade. In his last years, Don also painted cowboy images for his own amusement.
During the 1970s, the Bank of America was building many new branches and redecorating many established ones. Don's talent was easily recognized, and from 1970 to 1980 the Bank of America purchased over 300 landscapes from Don; his originals sometimes can still be found gracing Bank of America branch offices all over California.
Don' work exhibited in the Zantman Galleries (Carmel & Palm Desert) from 1976 until 2000. At various times he also exhibited in the Lee Youngman Gallery in Calistoga, the Generations Gallery in Yountville, the Suzanne Brown Gallery in Scottsdale, and the Harris Gallery in Dallas. In 1991, Don showed at the Eiteljorg Museum Invitational Show in Indianapolis. His first overseas exposure came in 1994 at the "Five American Artists" exhibitions in Tokyo and Nagano, Japan.
Corporate collectors of Don Irwin original paintings: Bank of America, Sanwa Bank, Bank of California, Electronic Data Systems, Chevron, Arthur Andersen Company, Crown Zellerbach, Clorox, Dean Witter (New York), Achenbach Foundation, Chase Manhattan Bank, Itel, Genstar, Jacuzzi, AT&T (Chicago), Harrah's Hotel and Casino, Kaiser Hospital (Riverside), GTE, Great Western Bank
Don Irwin died in October 1998.
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