Don Makela was born in Idaho and grew up in Great Falls, Montana. He graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree majoring in Illustration, and also studied Advertising Design at the University of Denver. He served in the U. S. Army, 1961-1964 doing illustrations for the military. In 1964 he went to Europe and toured the continent, off and on, for three years. He traveled in the summers, and stopped to work in the winters in Italy, England, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. During this period he worked as a book and magazine illustrator, an easel painter, a portrait painter, a muralist, and as an artist working for a Swiss ski area. In 1967 he returned to the U.S. and graduate work at the University of Montana, later receiving teacher's credentials there. Don emigrated to Canada in 1974, and taught art for two years before resigning to paint full-time. Besides making watercolor and oil paintings and exhibiting them, he has done a lot of work on a commission basis for the mining industry visiting sites of interest to clients and making paintings of their areas. He has also kept up his interest in skiing, making art works for many ski areas, and working on a volunteer basis for three years as a Mountain Host at Big White Ski Resort. During the last four years he has been commissioned to paint several large public art murals in the Okanagan, in Squamish, and in Kenora, Ontario. Don is a dual national (USA and Canada) and he lives and works in Kelowna, British Columbia.

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