James I. MacDougall Art


James MacDougall, member of the Portrait Society of Canada, Queen’s Jubilee Medal honoree, and a past president of the Ontario Society of Artists (OSA), was born in 1936 in Toronto, Ontario and has had parallel careers in medicine, as a teacher and as a specialist in internal medicine, with a particular interest in tropical medicine, and in visual arts as an accomplished portraitist and figurative artist.

James had an interest from childhood in drawing and painting, but chose to follow in the footsteps of a family of physicians. After obtaining a medical degree at the University of Toronto Medical School in 1960, he went on to a post-graduate residency at the Montreal General Hospital, where he served as chief medical resident in 1965.

In July of 1965, he signed on as the camp physician for an Alpine Club climbing expedition to Baffin Island, organized by Col. Pat Baird, a geography professor at McGill University. MacDougall hoped to use his free time during this excursion to do some painting, and had the good fortune to share a tent with noted Canadian artist and Group of Seven member A.Y. Jackson who was, at the age of 83, also traveling with the expedition. As the two painted together, Jackson recognized the young doctor’s talent and encouraged him in his desire to become a full-time artist. MacDougall exhibited with Jackson at the Klinkoff Gallery in Montreal later that year. (http://www.klinkhoff.com/canadian-artist/AY-Jackson )

He continued in medicine for many more years, becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Internal Medicine, and a Fellow of the Quebec College of Physicians and Surgeons, but continued to paint throughout his medical career. His work was twice chosen for cover art for Canadian Medical Association Journal

In 1968 he married his childhood friend and life partner Connie Kinnear. In the same year, he seconded from McGill University with the CIDA-McGill project to the University of Nairobi in Kenya where became an assistant professor, teaching at the new developing medical school. Following a brief stint in Montreal, he obtained a Diploma in Tropical Medicine in London, U.K. and resumed his teaching position in Kenya. During his tenure at the University of Nairobi he continued to paint, creating many portraits and three large murals, and exhibited regularly at the Gallery Watatu, the Goethe Institute and the French Cultural Centre in Nairobi.

James and Connie returned to Canada in 1982. Finally retiring from medicine, he worked as an artist full-time, studying and painting during the summers at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy. He established a studio in Caldeon, Ontario and exhibited with Art Dialogue Gallery in Toronto, and later opened the Karibuni Gallery at his Caledon studio. He was a member of Headhunters Artists’ Group in Newmarket from 1984 to 1996, and was elected to the Ontario Society of Artists in 1989, where he has served as President, and as a member of the executive for many years. He continues to serve the OSA as a director.

James and Connie moved to Stratford, Ontario in 2004, where they currently live. He is a member of Gallery 96, an artist-run gallery and had a solo exhibition at Gallery Stratford in 2006.

An interview with Jim can be found in the Start Stratford archives.