F. Scott MacLeod (1954 –)

F. Scott MacLeod was born in 1954 in Sydney, Nova Scotia. After living and working in Ontario for many years, he returned to Nova Scotia in 1999.


While drawing is one of MacLeod’s fortés, painting with oil on canvas has dominated his professional life. Self-taught and influenced by the likes of Matisse, Modigliani, and Diebenkorn, MacLeod’s technique is spontaneous and painterly, yet not overthought. He depends on the inorganic use of colour to defy convention and produce works that are not cliché.

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MacLeod’s stunning fictional and literal landscapes are inspired by the majestic beauty of Nova Scotia and composite images of life growing up in Ontario. Abstracted figures and still life paintings express movement and suggest a world beyond the ordinary. Each unique series is defined by his personal and professional evolution; he sees painting as a natural expression of his inner and outer life.


MacLeod received considerable media attention for a fifty-four-piece installation that was featured at the Saint John Arts Center in 2006. The show, titled Damaged Goods, was opened by Cultural Affairs Officer Bernard Cormier. This event marked the first time in thirty years that an artist’s exhibition had made the front page of the provincial paper. MacLeod’s ongoing series of honest, sometimes disturbing figurative works continues to receive attention by art writers and critics across Canada.


MacLeod’s series of vista paintings of the Annapolis Valley depart from a preceding forest series, which originated from the idea of being intimate from within the forest. While the perspectives are vastly different, he echoed his earlier use of colour division, wherein a line of paint is edged against another brush stroke to make a line between them. This sculptural way of moving paint creates a ‘carved’ effect, preventing the appearance of a literal rendering or cliché.


MacLeod always starts his work by studying the feeling that a place inspires. He has often travelled to the Annapolis Valley, which is quite hilly and much hotter in the summer than the South Shore where he lives. Often he would find an elevated spot to survey the beauty of the valley and absorb his surroundings. In his depictions of the region, MacLeod’s inorganic use of colour as pure fiction was used to enhance the composition and to convey the summer heat and baked earth. The colour gives a sense of painting as animation, and yet these works still feel real, leaving enough room for people to formulate their own ideas of what the paintings mean to them.


In 2015, MacLeod produced a series of works that interpreted the buildings and homes of the rural coastal areas of Nova Scotia as a metaphor for daily life as a direct response to the environment: “When I drive along the coast and come upon these small villages, I’m reminded of the herds of Muskox in the north, huddled together like a fortress against the elements staring back. Most of these clusters of buildings are in very remote areas and receive the direct and unsheltered wind off the Atlantic. I’ve attempted to capture the character in these structures while focusing on shapes and colour harmony; but overall trying to capture the beautiful bleakness that is the rural Maritimes.”


MacLeod’s unique interpretation of Canadian landscape and people continues to garner media attention by art critics and news outlets. MacLeod’s paintings have been featured in more than forty solo exhibitions and are held in major corporate collections throughout Canada and the USA.  Notable collections include the Bank of Montreal, Bayer Canada, BCE Emergis, BMO Harris Private Banking, BMO Nesbitt Burns, Canaccord Capital, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Deloitte Consulting, Four Season’s Hotel Toronto, Heenan Blaikie, Manu-Life Centre, Merrill Lynch, Normerica, Pharmacia Upjohn,Pioneer Energy and 3M Canada.