O’Hagan was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, and was raised in the United States. He enjoys working in several media, but his primary focus is in pastels and oils. Although he appreciates many different forms of art, his main interests include the paintings of several late 19th century American, French, Spanish, and Russian painters.
Continuous study of these painters has had a strong influence on O’Hagan’s own art. 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, Canada, and France.
O’Hagan is listed in Who’s Who in American Art, and is a Master Pastelist with the Pastel Society of America. In 2005, he was inducted into the International Association of Pastel Societies’ (IAPS) “Masters Circle.” O’Hagan has won several awards in national and international exhibits including IAPS convention exhibit’s Prix’d Pastel Award, “Southwest Art” magazine’s Award of Excellence at the “Altitude & Attitude” Exhibition in Denver, CO. He has also won the George Innes, Jr. Memorial Award from the Salmagundi Club in New York City, and awards from the Pastel Society of America’s annual exhibits.
In September of 2016, O’Hagan was invited to exhibit, conduct workshops and seminars, at the 2nd Biennial China International Pastel Exhibition in Suzhou, China. In December of 2016, F&W Media released four new instructional DVD’s by O‘Hagan; two instructing in pastel painting, and two instructing in oil painting.
His paintings have been the subject of feature articles in numerous national and international magazines including The Pastel Journal, American Art Collector, Southwest Art, The Artist Magazine, International Artist, American Artist, United Airlines’ Hemispheres magazine, Pratique Des Arts (France), Artists and Illustrators (England), International Artist (Australia), and Gekkan Bijyutsu (Japan). He is also represented in four books. O’Hagan’s art is in public and private collections in the United States, Japan, China, Canada, and Europe. He is represented by galleries in Santa Fe, NM, Charleston, SC, and Denver, CO.
I have spent the last twenty-nine years painting in oils and pastels and consistently striving to refine my craft. It is a profession that demands versatility and a desire to accept new ideas.
I feel that an artist must always be learning, or that sense of complacency may translate into mediocrity. A constant component in my paintings and what generally attracts me to a scene is the effect of light. Capturing light is an age-old element of artistic expression that I’ve been working with throughout my career. I never tire of the challenge of translating the world I see around me into a two-dimensional image on canvas or paper. I suppose it’s because I’m constantly discovering new ways of depicting light in nature and portraying the nature of light.
Capturing the effects of light can be challenging. I generally gravitate towards early morning, twilight, interiors, or evening scenes. With many of these subjects, the light is extremely fleeting. So with the occasional quick sketch, I also work from a series of photos I take on site. In addition to this working method, I also enjoy working plein aire with scenes where the light is less fleeting, as it's essential to experience and apply color while painting on location. I draw my inspiration from many of the late nineteenth century Russian, Spanish, French, and American painters. Their expertise in technique, color, style, and choice of imaginative subject matter has led me to seek out challenging images that seldom follow the trends.
It has always been crucial to experiment with a variety of subjects to test and grow my technique and style in a way that makes me more effective in expressing the very reasons that attracted me to a certain image. I still get a charge out of successfully tackling an idea that others may pass on. A truly good piece of art must have that spark that makes a viewer return for a second or third look, and that spark is what I strive for in each and every painting.