David McDougall headshot.png

David McDougall


I have always had a compulsion to make things with my hands; wooden boats, ships in bottles, unusual picture frames. Seeing interesting and beautiful objects inspires me to create my own art, particularly paintings and drawings. I strive to combine formal elements including color, composition, and light to create an enticing visual statement.

In choosing subjects that are interesting and dynamic, I try to create pieces that invite the viewer to participate in the experience. My frames that house my paintings are strong partners in the visual combination of picture and architecture. I select local and unique woods to construct my frames.

Most of my paintings are acrylic on board, but I supplement my art with charcoal, pastel, chalk, watercolor, and oil paint in various combinations. For the last ten years my work has been based on my experiences as a fly fishing guide, painting mostly riverscapes and fishing clients.

‘More recently, I have been painting and drawing bison. They are a dynamic and powerful icon and link to the past. I try to capture their wildness in my work. Also I find myself working with minimum brush and stroke work. I take inspiration from ancient pictograph and petroglyphs. Currently, I’m working on some interior scenes inspired by Vincent Van Gogh. Brightly colored with loose, line work.

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David, born in California in 1949 , returned to art in 2001 and is best known for his vibrant acrylic fly-fishing scenes and riverscapes inspired by his work as a guide around the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming. His unique handcrafted frames often accompany the paintings. He also works in watercolor, charcoal and pastels and more recently feels compelled to capture the power of the bison in paintings as well as pictograph and petroglyph inspired drawings and minimum brush stroke work.

David’s work is gaining a large following of private collectors. He was a part of the Governor’s Art Show in Cheyenne in 2011 and his work appeared in the Brinton Museum’s “Small Works Show” for the past 4 years. He joined the recent photographer Charles Daley in a two person show at the Brinton in 2010. More paintings were seen at Sagebrush Art Gallery in Sheridan winning awards at the art guild shows. In 2011, his poster “Celebrate the Arts” presented by Downtown Sheridan won and advertised the annual event. In 2021, his work is selected as part of the 40th Annual Western Spirit Art, juried by the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum.

David earned an MFA in painting from the University of Illinois in 1975. Back in California over the next 6 years he created watercolors, taught painting and then turned to wood learning the art of carpentry while building houses, wooden boats and later co-owned a woodworking business for 3 years.

Keeping up with technology he then studied graphic design, worked at Hornall Anderson Design Works for 5 years and in 1991 started a technical illustration business that operated for the next 15 years until he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2001. Having to undergo treatment for two years, David returned to fine art. Painting watercolor and acrylic was restorative and helped him to stay hopeful and positive during the most intense and fearful time of his life.

With the support of his wife and their son and the inspiration of art he entered remission and now follows his dream and passion by continuing to create art in his new home town of Dayton, Wyoming. There David and his wife Donna own and operate Painted Skull Studio situated on the 1930’s artist, Hans Kleiber homestead which they aim to preserve and care for as a historical setting.