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Biography of Wildlife Artist Randy McGovern


Randy McGovern

Randy McGovern grew up in New Orleans. One day his fourth grade teacher, Sr. Helene saw him draw a horse and buggy and then advised his parents to give him art lessons. Every Thursday, Randy would get on a bus and ride across the city to his art lesson. That year (1964) Randy won a city-wide art contest and the grand prize of $5 which proved to be a good enough incentive to continue. He studied first under a European portraitist from Sicily, Mrs. Donatella Kypers and later more closely under Mrs. R.T. Perkins also a master portraitist. Meanwhile, Randy’s other hobby was snake hunting in the swamps and marshes of Louisiana and selling them to the snake farm in LaPlace, Louisiana. Still, another hobby was that of trapping animals in humane animal traps that he invented for sketching purposes. At age 21, he graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana, magna cum laude with a B.A. in advertising, but in 1983 launched a career in fine art instead. Randy has earned acclaim from sportsmen and collectors alike, both nationally and internationally. By taking the demanding accuracy of the wildlife painter and combining it with the discriminating talent of a trained and gifted artist, he has become one of the nation’s most beloved realists in just a few short years.

Working in a precise realistic style in oils, Randy feels compelled to portray animals in their most noble character which requires adding a dimension beyond merely duplicating photos of animals in sometimes awkward compositions. “I love to create moods, the use of dramatic light sources, and rich colors tastefully mixed. I feel compelled to count feathers or scales and to feel the fur on live wolves before I paint them. The perfectionist in me sleeps a little better – even if a little extra accuracy goes unnoticed. You have to be more than disciplined; you have to be driven.”

Randy has a good number of mounted animals and birds in his studio that he uses for reference as well as a large file of photos that he has taken. “My favorite photo endeavor was that of a Siberian White Tiger from 2 feet away. I’ve had everything from baseballs to live bear cubs knock paintings off my easel.” Sometimes he takes hikes through the woods or swamps to photograph significant flora and fauna. “It’s no fun getting swamp muck all over your jeans because you can’t broad jump as far as you could 20 years ago – but it goes with the turf (or lack thereof).

Randy’s studio faces the woods near the scenic town of Acworth (the Lake City) in the metro Atlanta area. He resides there with his wife, Cheryl, and their three children. Besides his daily painting, he also steers his company comprised of 10 employees. When he wants to get away, Randy heads to his log cabin in the country where he can always observe turkeys and geese and do some fly fishing. “I’m very thankful to all my collectors for their support over the years and especially to the Good Lord and all he has given to me and blessing me with the talent” – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

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