Katie O’Hagan

Katie O'Hagan
Originally from Scotland, Katie O’Hagan moved to the U.S. after receiving a degree in silversmithing at Edinburgh College of Art.

It was almost 10 years later that she began working in oils. She is now known for her incisive portraits, many of which are set in unusual compositions or settings, and some of which have a narrative element.

She has also done a series of “portrait groupings”, in which she portrays several individuals, usually members of a family, in stylistically related individual paintings rather than a more traditional group composition (images above, bottom three).

O’Hagan’s website includes a gallery of these as well as a gallery of her more varied portrait approaches.

I was particularly struck by her impressive use of low-light, or overcast day illumination in portraiture. This is very evident in her portrait of her oldest daughter (above, top with detail), set at twilight in Death Valley. The soft value contrasts in the modeling of the face are handled in a way that accentuates the dimensionality and physical presence of her subject rather than diminishing them.

There is an interview with the artist on The Artist’s Network.

O’Hagan received a Portrait Society of America Certificate of Excellence in 2012.

[Via Underpaintings]


9 Replies to “Katie O’Hagan”

  1. Hello Charley,

    how are you? Thanks for the usual surprise of your posts, your taste is unique. A question, did you made a post about Roger Dean, a fantasy artist who made covers for Yes albums in 70’s? Greetings,

  2. I agree with comment by Aelle.
    Most who were/are trained as illustrators are taught to use photographs as a tool not the end game, deadlines are too tight to realistically have a model sit.
    It’s really up to the artist to use the photo as a reference.
    In my mind we are creating an image and everything is a tool.

    On that note I see it as a natural extension of the resurgence of academic and realistic painting (and painting ateliers) the last few years.
    Certainly even if using photos as reference you still must know how to paint first.
    Great work here… sixth down of the figure in the street has a lot of imagination that goes beyond photography.

  3. Katie’s work “Aine” is inspiring me to seriously do a portrait of my child in a contemporary fashion. “Aine” clearly shows that it can be done and is truly a beautiful piece.

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