Don James




Tonal oil painter and teacher at the Montsalvat School of Painting, sharing a studio with fellow Montsalvat artist, David Moore.



Don was born in 1943, in Preston, educated at Preston Technical School and College and later at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. 


It was while studying architecture at RMIT and visiting the National Gallery Art School that he got a taste for painting and determined to become a painter and not an architect. During this time he became interested in abstract art and particularly Cubism. 

In 1972, Don commenced lessons with Shirley Bourne at the Victorian Artists’ Society and continued studying tonal painting with her until 1981. He started painting part time and in 1982 gained a teaching position with the Woodend Art Group where he continues to teach. He began full time painting and teaching in 1984. 


In 1992 the opportunity to share a studio with David Moore at Montsalvat arose. Don continues to paint and teach in this studio as well as in his own studio. He published a book ‘On Painting’ in 2006 which outlines his thoughts on the craft of painting and describes many of the techniques and ideas gleaned from his teachers and their teachers, as well as from his own experience. 

His work is widely represented in Australian and overseas collections and consists mainly of landscapes, still life and portraits, all painted from life.

Don is a signatory member and a past councillor of the Victorian Artists' Society, an exhibiting member of the Australian Guild of Realist Artists and Malvern Artists' Society. He was Artist in Residence at Portland Victoria in 1989 and has taught with the Victorian Artists’ Society.



Don’s most recent prizes have been: 
The Deputy Lord Mayor’s Award Victorian Artists’ Society 2000 
The Norman Kaye Medallion Victorian Artists’ Society 2003 

Click here to see details of Don's oil painting classes at Montsalvat

Phone (03) 9459 4586 / 0427 300 675, click here to email Don or click here to visit Don's website.




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