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 good enough incentive for him 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 form sportsmen and collectors alike, nationally and internationally. By combining the demanding accuracy of a wildlife painter 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 is best known for his habit of including a number of hidden creatures in each of his paintings. Collectors often express their pleasure of owning not only a beautiful painting but also a genuine conversation piece in finding the animals that are tastefully hidden in Randy's backgrounds. "The artistic challenge for me is to hide critters that are distinct and accurate enough to be found if one searched for them, yet camouflaged enough to where you wouldn't see them if you looked casually at the painting. I feel that hiding creatures is actually a function of being a realist since so many of God's creatures are naturally camouflaged in the woods."
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 all 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 three children. Besides his daily painting, he also steers his company comprised of 8 employees. When he wants to get away, Randy heads to his log cabin in the country where he can observe turkeys and geese and do some fly fishing.