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I'm Lucy O'Donovan, a passionate figurative artist who has exhibited throughout the world.
My work is driven by my fascination with the human body and the feelings this subject invokes. For me it's vital to portray the body in as honest a way as I can, irrespective of whether it be considered classically beautiful or not.

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When I was little, my family used to go on our summer holidays to Pembrokeshire in Wales, from when I was 18 months old.

We met a family in Haverfordwest where we were staying, the Chapmans, the mum in that family Brenda Perkins was a painter.

My sister and I used to sketch and paint with watercolours the landscape and animals we saw while away. 
I used to look around the house and pick things I basically liked the look of : pets, flowers in vases, postcards I found...

When I went to uni I remember being bored in halls and used biros and coloured pencils to cover my desk with a mural. It was a collage of drinks emblems from empty bottles and cans I'd drunk over the year - I had lots of material to work with, ha. I wish I'd taken a photo of that!

When I left my job as a vet in 1999, I spent some aimless time in Glasgow trying to decide my future. I found a greetings card of Tiffany stained glass and started to copy it. Every day I would fill in a few sections - it was therapeutic and rewarding.

But as time went on I got bored, signed it unfinished.

I started a PhD back at the vet school which I really enjoyed. But the results of my experiments were black or white, positive or negative and I longed for greys! So one day I opened the starter pack of oils my parents had bought me, and started exploring them. That started my passion for oil paint that continues to this day.

After work at night I used to pour a glass of wine and painted my hands. After that I worked my way through more canvases and thus started my mild obsession!

Hands I, 1999, sold

One night, my friend Jane came round for the usual - a night of drinking and chatting - and I told her about it. She asked to see the canvas and I handed her a half completed one of my hands. She looked at it saying nothing for what seemed like a long time. 

I like it. A lot" she said.


She asked me what I do when I've finished a canvas and I told her how I put them into my cupboard and start another. I'll never forget her reply. 'So nobody sees them? Why don't you let people see them?' I took that as a challenge.

So I put my work on an artist website. An Italian curator wrote to me, asking whether I'd take part in a future exhibition in Italy.


So the seed had been sown! I painted canvas after canvas of what inspired me and noticed that it was mainly people in my life I was close to.

In June 2008 we flew half way across the world to Melbourne for me to start a new job at Melbourne Uni. Before we went, I took a bunch of photos of a good friend, who I wanted to paint while I was away. In Australia I spent the whole time working on a triptych of him, called Race for the Prize - Flaming Lips (one of his favourite tracks at the time).


On 11th September 2008 I was on a works night out when I had a fall and suffered a severe traumatic brain injury. My research work at the time was studying brain injury, oh the irony eh? After removal of bleed, temporary removal of the front half of my skull and coma, I woke. I have since - and still do - have rehab.

In terms of painting, it was a long time before I picked up my brush again. I had art therapy in Talbot Rehabilitation in Melbourne and painted a self portrait. Now I look at it, it is wrong. My eyes are too big. But it was mere months after my injury.



When I finally returned home to Glasgow in 2010 , I had time to explore painting again. I'd had damage to my eyes from my injury so I was scared I would struggle to paint again, which really worried me. So I therefore tried to copy things from photos. It was to try and see if I was capable to putting the right colours on the right place - a bit paint by numbers!

Then one day, a friend asked me to paint him in the nude for his birthday. As I stood in front of a new canvas I realised I'd got sick of copying photos - I may as well just take a picture with a camera! So I mixed some colours, picked up some big brushes and let rip...

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One day I got an email from a gallery in Chelsea, New York, asking if they could represent me. What?! And what started were a few exhibitions in that wonderful city.