Lucy O'Donovan

Bio/Artist statement

As a child, I began drawing and using watercolour while holidaying in Pembrokeshire, Wales. I used to paint wildlife and landscapes and it was an avid passion of mine right into adulthood. It was then that I discovered oil paint with its rich colour and texture; I found it to be the perfect medium. The thick sculptural aspect of the paint allowed me to work in a three dimensional form which I found more expressive.

Due to my knowledge of anatomy, I am intrigued by what lies beneath the skin: muscle, fat, tendons, connective tissue, bone and joints. The shape, colour and quality of flesh are something that I constantly try to attain.  It is always a battle to manage the colour and texture of the oil, a balance of which I feel is never quite achieved. I tend to paint people who are involved in my life, as an emotional attachment often drives and influences my work. I feel that painting is a fairly self-obsessed process: often painting in order to work through my own issues and those relating to the subject. For myself, the most expressive part of the body is the hands - I feel you can interpret a great deal about a person and the type of work they do by how their hands look.

My painting in the present day is driven by fascination with the human body and the feelings that this invokes.  As an artist, it is important to portray the body in as honest a way as I can, irrespective of whether it would be considered classically beautiful or not.  I am aware that the motivation behind this is probably a kick back against the social pressures of achieving the perfect figure. I believe this can be seen in my work both in technique and the emotion that it produces.

In 2008, I had the misfortune of suffering a serious brain injury. I experienced coma, recovery in hospital and long term rehabilitation to bring myself back to health. There was a long break from painting which I found very difficult, as without my work I found it challenging and it made me despondent. However after a long period of rehabilitation, I resumed my work which has brought relief and gratification. In some ways it appears to have altered my technique, although mostly my approach and subject matter is unchanged.

In 2006 I was approached by an Italian curator who exhibited my work in Sondrio and Acquasparta, Italy. After temporarily relocating to Melbourne, I took part in “The Body Show 2007” exhibition at the Brunswick Street Gallery, Melbourne, Australia. On returning to my home town of Glasgow, Scotland in 2009 I along with another artist, exhibited my latest work at the “People and Places” show at The Big Mouth Café Company, Glasgow. From 2013 - 2015 I was represented by the Agora Gallery, New York, United States where I took part in four exhibitions, was published in their ARTSpectrum magazine and interviewed about my profession. Since then I have taken part in an exhibition "Portraits" at The Brick Lane Gallery, London and one of my works was selected to be part of Royal Scottish Academy Exhibition 2017.

Contact details