Five Questions for Desmond O’Hagan

From June 27-July 1, 2020 we’ll be welcoming new-to-us artist and instructor Desmond O’Hagan into our studio to teach his 3-day workshop on Advancing Your Pastel and Oil Painting Techniques.

Desmond was born in Wiesbaden, Germany and was raised in the United States. He enjoys working in a variety of media, but his primary focus is pastels and oils. Constantly challenging himself has translated into a fulfilling career in fine art encompassing several one-man shows and participation in group exhibitions in the United States, Japan, China, and France. He is a Master Pastelist with the Pastel Society of America and is listed in Who’s Who in American Art. O’Hagan has won several awards at the Pastel Society of America’s annual shows in New York City. He has also won the George Innes, Jr. Memorial Award from the Salmagundi Club. At the 1999 International Association of Pastel Societies Exhibition held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, O’Hagan was awarded the Prix’d Pastel Award (Best of Show). In May of 2005, he was inducted into the IAPS “Masters Circle”.

If you’d like to learn more about Desmond, we highly recommend watching this great video profile about his work with pastels here. Additionally, we asked Desmond a few questions about his work and teaching – so read on below.

Q: How did you first begin creating art with the medium(s) you’ll be using in your workshop?

DO: As a teenager, I experimented with oils but not very seriously, even though I had been drawing from an early age. When I was in art college, I tried pastels in an illustration class and enjoyed them. After four years as a graphic designer working at an advertising agency, I returned to both media with a more focused interest.

Q: What is your most unexpected source of inspiration?

DO: Subtle and somewhat overlooked effects of light have always intrigued me. With some experimenting in color and technique, these effects have great potential for paintings.

Q: What are your biggest challenges to creating art and how do you deal with them?

DO: One of the greatest challenges is to find unique subjects to paint. It is important to be as creative with your subject matter as you are with your painting technique.

Q: How has teaching impacted your personal art practice? And vice versa, how does your approach to your personal art impact your teaching style?

DO: One advantage of teaching is you are constantly analyzing and verbalizing your painting approach and technique. If something doesn’t work as well as before, you’re immediately aware and able to adjust. I approach my personal art with an open mind to subject matter, color, technique, tools, and a mindfulness of how other artists can positively influence me. I strive for a similar openness and sharing of knowledge when teaching.

Q: What advice has influenced you?

DO: When I first started painting professionally, an older artist mentioned how important it is to be constantly painting. Everything else in the career, although necessary, came in a distant second.

Five Questions for Kim Johnson Nechtman

We’re looking forward to welcoming new-to-us watercolor instructor Kim Johnson Nechtman to the studio next year with her Portraits and Animals workshop from June 7-13.

Kim discovered her love for the creative process at a young age. On the advice of family and friends concerned that she have a ‘real career’, Kim completed her degree in psychology before pursuing her real passion – watercolor. Kim’s workshops on human and animal experiences bring the thrill of throwing, dropping, and pushing paints until the subjects emerge from the paper. She believes that every painting is a learning experience and, in the need to be patient through the experience. Her ease as an instructor encourages you to experiment and take on new challenges.

To get to know her a little better in advance of her workshop, we asked Kim a few questions about her personal art practice, approach to workshops, and creativity in general.

Q: How did you first begin creating art with the medium(s) you’ll be using in your workshop?

KJN: This has always been my preferred medium. I’ve painted with watercolor since high school, but it wasn’t until I was in my early 30’s that I became serious about the medium when I started taking classes at Scottsdale Artists’ School as a pastime. But, the more I painted the better I became, the more interested I was in becoming proficient in watercolor.

Q: What is your most unexpected source of inspiration?

KJN: I always thought I was inspired by a particular subject matter, but my unexpected source of inspiration is light and shadow. The way they describe a subject, and how those lights and shadows define lost and found shapes; I can lose myself in them.

Q: What are your biggest challenges to creating art and how do you deal with them?

KJN: My biggest challenges are staying loose and not putting too much information in a painting. I deal with these issues by pretending I’m painting in front of an audience. Funny thing, I seem to paint more loosely and with more freedom when I’m in front of an audience than I do by myself!

Q: What advice has influenced you?

KJN: The best advice I’ve received is to paint what I want, what inspires me, whatever moves me to paint, and to just paint.

Q: What’s one tip you have or trick you use for keeping your studio space organized?

KJN: That’s a good one! Have people to your studio on a regular basis! This always makes me clean up my space!