Biography

deirdre_jb_smallFull time visual artist and teacher for more than 4 decades, Deirdre McCay began her painting career in Boston, Mass. during her studies toward a Bachelor or Fine Arts degree at Boston University. Here she acquired an extensive training in Renaissance-based techniques for both drawing and painting. As she progressed in her career, Ms. McCay became intrigued the way abstraction could offer the viewer more chance for the interpretation of images. Her work began to incorporate both this interest in abstraction and her classical/realist training.   Her  experience in art therapy, meditation, and later shamanism has also had a large impact on her choice of imagery.

Shortly after her return to Montreal, she was invited to go to Manchester, England to do a one-year apprenticeship with acclaimed portrait artist Sir Harold Riley. In 1974 she returned to university to acquire a Diploma of Education (art specialist) from McGill University.  She later completed a Masters in Education Degree from the same institution in 1997. Her research during this degree was concerned with approaches of teaching studio drawing and painting, art criticism and aesthetics to university level students.

As an artist, Ms McCay has worked on many commissioned works and has exhibited extensively in the USA, England and Canada. Her work can be found in corporate (Commission des Droits de la Personne, Caisse Desjardins, Bessner Gallay Kreisman), public (St-Patrick’s Basilica) and private collections. She has had 10 solo exhibitions (Eastwood-Onley, Powerhouse, Dan Delaney, McClure Galleries and Thompson House of McGill University) and participated in more than 25 selected group shows. Deirdre McCay has won several awards from the Pastel Society of Eastern Canada, a scholarship from the Banff School of Fine Arts and has been profiled by the C.B.C. in a television documentary on Canadian Artists.

For the last 25 years, Ms. McCay has been actively involved in the Montreal art community as a fine art teacher for several art centers such as the Visual Arts Center, the Saidye Bronfman Center, McGill University (including a First Nations studies program), the Dollard Center for the Arts and as a guest speaker for many art associations in the Greater Montreal Area. Currently she is a member of the faculty at the Dollard Centre for the Arts, and is directing a project for the national Artsmarts program that brings innovation in teaching into school curriculums.  She is well known for her skill in helping arts institutions with curriculum development in the arts.