Before launching Roadrunner Studio and Gallery in January 2020, gallery owner Dale McDonnell was already a dedicated artist. The colors of nature inflame his imagination. His vision appraises the interplay of light, shadow, and hue as they encounter elements of water, rock, and sky.
Dale McDonnell started painting later in life but always had a love for art, especially landscape painters. While there are many impulses that drive an artist to create works of art, beautiful landscapes have always stirred special emotions for this artist. McDonnell is an impressionistic landscape painter and he has found inspiration from the impressionistic painters, especially Monet and Van Gogh.
“I find that nature has a spiritual quality, and the colors that I find there captivate and inspire me every day.”
McDonnell began his artistic career utilizing pastels in a more traditional manner, lightly applying pastels to paper and then framing the painting under glass. But Dale wanted to do things differently. He wanted to be able to showcase his pastel paintings with some texture and not have them isolated under glass. McDonnell was able to accomplish
this by starting his paintings by mounting the pastel paper onto a wood panel then utilize pumice and a light coat of acrylic paint to create some texture. He then applies soft pastels over the painting to create a work of art. Finally he fixes the painting with archival acrylic spray varnish to prevent any of the pastel from being rubbed off.
McDonnell's use of nontraditional techniques makes his pastel paintings unique and allows the alchemical fusion of vivid, pure colors with discernable tactile textures.
Originally from Detroit, Dale was an attorney in Minneapolis for over 30 years while he pursued his artistic vision part-time. "I have found my educational training as an attorney has assisted me in creating art since legal work is basically problem solving and I see in the creation of a painting the need to find solutions to problems, be it in the composition, the nature of values, or balance in the painting.
Dale then decided to retire early from his vocation to devote his full energy to his art. He moved to New Mexico in 2012 and lived on a small mesa south of Santa Fe near the artist-filled community of Madrid. For the past five years as a member of the Santa Fe Society of Artists Dale had been showing his work at outside art shows in downtown Santa Fe. In late 2019 he siezed the opportunity to run his own gallery and operate his studio within that gallery. Dale now resides in Madrid and has an emotionally fortified homebase from which he may embark on the travels which inspire him to paint.
McDonnell finds his inspiration for his paintings nearly every place he goes. Even if it's merely the view out his front door or the area around Madrid. Mountains, lakes, jungles, waterfalls, flowers, trees. Dale's works explore the beauty of this country along with scenes from his travels in Central America and Europe. In his recent trip to Ireland he created dozens of paintings showcasing the beautiful scenery of the Emerald Isle.