My Grand-Uncle was Dr. Murray MacDonald, a well known watercolourist and educator in Edmonton. Murray set a new standard for art and art education in Alberta, and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws from The University of Alberta and inducted into the City of Edmonton Cultural Hall of Fame (1991).
Before Murray, Art Education consisted of copying an apple perfectly. Instead, when he was Supervisor of Art for Edmonton Public Schools, Murray brought school children into the hallways of the school to paint freely. Upon retirement from the school system he began teaching Art Education for the Faculty of Education at the U of A.
He taught during the summers at the Banff School of Fine Arts with members of the Group of Seven, including A.Y Jackson, and the two of them were good friends. Jackson stayed with Murray in Edmonton while travelling North.
Murray's work has been acclaimed by well known critics such as Clement Greenberg from the United States, and received glowing reviews from the Edmonton Journal.
His work is in public and private collections around the world, including Alberta's Government House, The Alberta Foundation for the Arts and The Massey Collection in Ottawa.
In 1981 CBC TV filmed a documentary that went across Canada called 'Sunday Afternoon With Uncle Murray' in the Seeing It Our Way series. The documentary was written by Ted Barris. The film used the Sunday afternoon art sessions that Uncle Murray gave my aunt Edythe Markstad and myself to tell about Murray and his art.
As his grand niece I treasure his work and have my own collection, some of which can be seen below.
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