Donald Bain was born in Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire in 1904. Bain was educated at the Moffat Academy & then went on to study art with WY MacGregor, one of the Glasgow Boys. MacGregor introduced Bain to the work of SJ Peploe & JD Fergusson & the style of these two painters is sometimes reflected in Bain's work. After visiting Paris in the late 1920s, Bain also became influenced by the work of Matisse.
Bain returned to Glasgow in 1940 & became involved with Fergusson with the New Scottish Group from its formation in 1942. He returned to France for several years after World War II where he became influneced by the Cezannesque influneces in contemporary French painting.
He returned to Glasgow in 1948 & settled there. Bain exhibited widely in France & a touring exhibition in Scotland in 1972-1973 revived interest in his work. However, at the time of his death in 1979 Bain's work was largely neglected. The Scottish Arts Council & the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art hold a collection of his work.