Five Questions for Desmond O’Hagan

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.

Workshop Report: Landscapes with Pastels

Our second workshop of the year kicked off on March 26th with six intrepid students, a slew of gorgeous photos for inspiration, and guidance from Susan Ogilvie. Each student brought a number of beautiful photos from their own travels to reinterpret through pastels. The early spring weather even gave the group just one day warm enough to do some quick sketches outdoors on our grounds in a warm sun.

We’ll share a few of the images we captured here on our blog, but encourage you to also check out the full gallery on our Facebook page. You can also scroll back in our Instagram feed to see what we captured during the class.

Also, we’re also now producing videos of each of our workshops. For the moment, you can watch them through our Facebook Video Library.

Five Questions for Portrait Artist Paul Leveille

Portrait artist Paul Leveille returns to the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops this year with mixed media class on Expressive Portraits in Watercolor, Oil, or Pastel from June 25-July 1, 2017. As we edge into spring, Paul took a few moments to answer five short questions for us about his work. Also, we still have a few seats left in this popular workshop, so make sure to reserve your spot soon – call (518) 966-5219!

Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
PL: Since most of my work is portrait, I derive a good deal of my inspiration from my sitter.

Q: What are you most proud of in regards to your art?
PL: I’ll have to trade “proud” for “grateful”! I am so thankful to be blessed with this talent and thankful that I can make a living at my art.

Q: What are you biggest challenges to creating art and how do you deal with them?
PL: Everyday responsibilities of home and studio are challenging but necessary. I try to deal with this through prioritizing my time such as attempting to devote a determined amount of painting in each day. The remaining time is devoted to non-painting activities. 

Q: What advice has influenced you?
PL: Stay positive.

Q: Is there something you are currently working on, or excited about starting that you can tell us about?
PL: The next paining is always the most exciting.

Learn more about Paul’s upcoming workshop with us here
Learn more about Paul on his website and by following him on Facebook.