David Hamilton (b.1956), 'Cormac', 2017. © the artist. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland.
David Hamilton (b.1956), 'Cormac', 2017. © the artist. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland.Credit

David Hamilton


Cormac, 2017

Acrylic on canvas, 43 x 32 cm

‘The ideas that form my work derive mainly from my interactions with people, their stories and their situations. My preferred medium is acrylic. When I am preparing canvases I will sometimes apply multiple layers of gesso, which I will lightly sand between coats. I like the chalky feel and the way the paint glides over the surface. It also serves, on occasion, as an interesting ground. This method also allows me to loosen up on intricate detail. As the paint absorbs quickly it leaves me less time to overwork in certain areas. My painting Cormac was painted in this way. I met Cormac when I was in hospital for surgery. He was in the bed opposite. Every morning I would wake to the blinding flash of his red fleece. I would do studies of him during the day, when possible, using the limited resources I had available. Everything was frantic and manic at times in the hospital. When I returned home I wanted to put this energy into his portrait. I think the finished piece reflects the unsettling nervous anxiety of our situations at that time."

David Hamilton (b.1956) lives in Co. Down. He studied at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels at the University of Ulster. For many years he served as art director for an international theming company and was responsible for the direction of large-scale scenic art projects throughout the UK and Europe. An illness in 2008 acted as the catalyst for him to pursue a new career and he subsequently started producing his own work. Since 2010 he has been selected frequently for the Royal Ulster Academy Exhibition, has been shortlisted for the BP Portrait Award, and was selected for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 2016.