Hector McDonnell was born in Belfast in 1947 and educated at Eton and Oxford. He studied art in Munich and Vienna, and has had regular exhibitions since 1972, in London, Dublin, Belfast, Paris, Brussels, Madrid, Stockholm, Darmstadt, Hanover, Stuttgart, Hong Kong and New York. He has also won the Darmstaedter Kunstpreis in 1981 and had two retrospective museum exhibitions – Darmstadt in 1982 and in Belfast in 2003.
Hector has travelled widely, spending much time in mainland Europe as well as in China, Tibet, India and Rwanda, and has produced exhibitions reflecting these experiences. He has in more recent years spent a lot of time in New York, but his home remains the North of Ireland, where he now lives with his American-born wife and daughter. His wife too is a painter and they are never happier than when they are immersing themselves in the ever-changing wonders of the Irish coast.