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. He spent the last 40 years managing large Australian sheep and cattle stations, one, which ran 40,000 sheep. 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 recognized early, and he drew horses for a hobby. He has had no formal training.
But he grew up with a fascination for Africa, inherited from his parents, and 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 powerful 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 own well-honed powers of observation as 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.