As a child, Lucy O’Donovan began drawing and using watercolors while holidaying in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Over the years she has expanded her repertoire, working with various paints and subject matter, discarding preoccupations with “classical beauty” in favor of subjects who are involved in her own life. O’Donovan paints predominantly with oil, a medium she discovered while working toward her PhD. “It can be so subtle, sculptural, and, if used correctly, expressive,” she says. O’Donovan’s work is inspired by the likes of Jenny Saville, Alyssa Monks, and Lucien Freud. She describes herself as “obsessive” about depicting flesh, muscle, and skin as realistically as possible. Oil paint, with its rich color and textures, is the perfect medium for O’Donovan. It allows her to build layers, a process through which, she says, “a much more visceral piece of work emerges.”
Lucy O’Donovan graduated as a veterinary surgeon before returning to academia in 2002. She now carries out molecular biology research of the brain and has studied the pathways and genes involved in both schizophrenia and incidents of stroke.