Don McKinlay was born in 1929 in Bootle, Liverpool. Between 1946 and 1950 he attended the Liverpool School of Art and from 1960 onwards he pursued the career of a lecturer at St. Helen's School of Art, Manchester School of Art, Liverpool School of Art and Manchester Polytechnic. He is a multi-talented artist producing works in painting, sculpture, etching and collage. He has been commissioned to create works for Lancaster Priory (Madonna and Child), Westminster Abbey, various churches in Liverpool and, possibly his greatest commission, to create a crib (the original having been destroyed) to accompany the Kneeling Madonna by the Renaissance sculptor, Della Robbia, owned by Liverpool Cathedral.
His painting one-man shows have been held at the Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool, the Rosengalerie, Amsterdam, Ayling Porteous Gallery, Chester, Bede Gallery, Jarrow, Liverpool Cathedral (Amnesty International), Liverpool Academy, Merseyside Arts, Merkmal Gallery, Liverpool and Salford Art Gallery. His work has been included in mixed shows at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, Cartwright Hall, Bradford, Cornerhouse, Manchester, Liverpool Academy, Williamson Art Gallery, and Birkenhead.
A member and regular exhibitor at the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts, he is undoubtedly one of the most talented artists to come from the North-West of England in the past generation.