Chris McClelland is famous for his unique, fine and intricate pencil drawings of African and Australian wildlife, which is quite a contrast to his previous career. Having spent the last 40 years managing large Australian sheep and cattle stations, one, which ran 40,000 sheep Chris has wonderful fondness for the light and colour of the bush. Through this work, he developed a strong understanding of animal behaviour from observing Australian native animals on the station. His natural talent for drawing was recognised early, and he drew horses for a hobby. Even no formal training his art is now recognised world wide.
Chris always had a fascination with Africa which he inherited from his parents. On his first trip there in 1994, with wife Margie, a respected photographer, he fell in love with the continent. He began writing reviews and drawing wildlife and lodges for The African Safari Magazine. Africa stimulated his sense of sight, smell and sound and he “found its heartbeat deafening.”
No other place on earth has the variety and numbers of such visible wildlife, and Chris has since made ten trips to Africa, witnessing the mighty and unstoppable force of nature. He believes he has managed to gather Africa’s spirit and soul to fuel his desire to draw and paint the people, places and wildlife of the country with all of its harshness, savagery and beauty.
He has spent hours studying his subjects in their natural habitat, observing their movements, and noting the interactions between predator and prey. He uses sketches, photographs, video footage and his well-honed powers of observation as a reference to accurately portray the behaviour and anatomy of his animals. He draws them with such fine detail that each of his drawings can take up to 350 hours.
Coming from the land and pioneering stock himself, he believes that the spirit of the Australian bush and the African Bushveld is a part of him, and he finds it easy to become one with it. Chris is now receiving many awards in Australia and on the international stage for his extraordinary detailed wildlife drawings using of graphite and coloured pencils. The opening of the Chris McClelland Gallery at 84 Lachlan Street in Hay is attracting a large number of visitors to view his wonderful drawings and observe him drawing.
His living drawings are greatly sought after by discerning collectors who are collecting his Limited Edition Prints with the same number to make up their collection there by adding to their value.
Awards and accolades
“Ladders of Spots” Finalist Artists For Conservation exhibition in Vancouver, Canada
“Tumblebug” Sold to New York State Museum, Albany, New York State
“No Worries!” Finalist Artists For Conservation exhibition in Vancouver, Canada
“No Worries!” Fauna Award Best Painting Deniliquin Easter Exhibition
“No Worries!” ‘Packing Room Award’ Australian Art Excellence Awards Exhibition, AGRA “The Hunter’s Five” winner Kenneth Jack Memorial Drawing Award, AGRA Gallery
“Don’t You Dare” Second place “Ring Necked Pheasant” finalist Recognition AAL Autumn Awards AGRA Gallery
Finalist Artists For Conservation exhibition in Vancouver, Canada "A Formidable Display"
"Shearing the Weaners" Commended Award at “Drawing - the Essential Art” AGRA
"A Formidable Display" winner "Animals in Art" Exhibition AGRA Gallery Finalist Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize - Adelaide "Arkaba Station Creek - Flinders Ranges" Finalist Outback Art Prize - Broken Hill
"A Child of Tomorrow" Highly Commended Award at “Drawing - the Essential Art” AGRA Finalist 2013 Mortimore Art Prize
"Eastern Quoll "30th Anniversary Bronze Award at QWASI A World of Wildlife Exhibition
"People of the Track" Best Painting in the Presidents Challenge Exhibition at the AGRA Gallery, Camberwell
"Ongombeanavita" Finalist 2012 Mortimore Art Prize
"Those Marvellous Bloody Horses" A Commended Award at “Drawing - the Essential Art”
AGRA Gallery, Camberwell
"Exuberance of Youth" Judges Choice Award at 250th Faber-Castell Anniversary Exhibition in Brisbane QWASI
Finalist 2011 Mortimore Art Prize and travelling for year in Australia
"Shearing the Rams -Tuppal Station" asked to do a drawing to commemorate the historic North Tuppal Shearing Event involving 72 blade shearers
“Dugga Boy” Selected for 50th Society of Animal Artist Annual Exhibition, San Diego, California from September to October. Awarded a prize September 2010 at this exhibition
“Tumblebug” on display in the Focus On Nature Exhibition at the New York State Museum, Albany, New York State. Given a special Jury Award at this exhibition.
“Dugga Boy” was runner-up at AGRA's Summer Exhibition Melbourne also won the Store Packers Room Prize for the best Painting at the Australia Art Excellence Exhibition AGRA Gallery, Melbourne and the People’s Choice Award. “A Young Australian” was selected to be hung in “An International Exhibit of Nature in Art” at the Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, New Jersey, USA “Tupra Woolshed 1909 - 2007” won the People’s Choice Award at The AGRA Drawing Exhibition
“Conflict of Interest” runner up in the Autumn Exhibition AGRA Gallery Camberwell “A Young Australian” awarded People’s Choice Award at QWASI in Queensland. Also won the Best Painting in the Australia Art Excellence Exhibition AGRA Gallery Victoria “Intimate Intent” won a bronze medal at the Wildlife Art Society of Australasia in Melbourne ”Nature’s Fury” Best Painting in the Summer exhibition at AGRA Gallery
“Jock of the Bushveld” won a Highly Commended Award at “Drawing - the Essential Art” also the viewer’s Choice Award at the Australian Guild for Realist Artists Gallery Camberwell VIC and was given a Kenneth Jack etching
Runner up in the Winter Exhibition 2006 at the AGRA .Gallery, Camberwell Melbourne with “The Nursery”. A drawing in graphite pencils of Impala crèche on the Chobe River in Botswana.
“Unique Australian” won Highly Commended Certificate at The Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize in Adelaide, South Australia and toured Victoria, NSW & ACT with winners.
Awarded Best of the Show at the International Nature in Art 2005 held by the Queensland Wildlife Artists Society Inc with “A Cautious Approach”. This won the “People’s Choice” Award at the WASA Exhibition in Melbourne in May.
“Best in the Show” AGRA Galleries Summer 2005 Exhibition at Camberwell, Melbourne with “I Dream of Africa”, also won “People’s Choice” award.
“Tumblebug” was a winner in the B category at The Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize in Adelaide
“Lace Monitor” a pointillism ink drawing, which was a finalist in the inaugural art competition, ”The Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize” in Adelaide, South Australia. “Eye of the Matriarch” pencil drawing, was Highly Commended at the Wildlife Art Society of Australasia Exhibition 2003 in Melbourne.
“The River Horses” won the Catani Drawing Award at the annual exhibition of the Wildlife Art Society of Australasia held in Melbourne