Portrait artists to watch

Well, the Hennessy Portrait Competition Shortlist has finally been announced and it got me thinking. To be honest, I’ve been thinking about some of the artists who aren’t on the list, artists with their own distinctive take on portraiture, some artists who you probably know and some others who you might never have heard of. So here’s a few portraits for you to look at, ones that I like, for various reasons…

portrait by Cora O'Brien 

Here’s one by Cora O’Brien, a portrait of her daughter Jennifer.  Cora has recently had a successful solo exhibition at the Ballinglen Foundation in Co. Mayo.


Here’s a self-portrait by Michael Wann in Sligo. It was accepted for the Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Competition in England earlier this year.

Shelter portraits by Conor Walton

Here’s a portrait sketch by Conor Walton. Conor was working as a volunteer with Dublin Simon Community, a charity that looks after the homeless, when he did a series of these drawings. They were exhibited at Jorgensen Fine Art in 2003 and all the proceeds were donated to the charity. (about €16,000) Ten of them were acquired by the National Library of Ireland!


And here’s just a beautiful painting by Emily Scott, who moved to Ireland from the US in recent years. Just look at the light on the model’s skin.

portrait by Dave Gleeson

Here’s a lovely pencil drawing by Dave Gleeson, an artist from Dublin. It’s a portrait of his daughter, Ciara. You might catch up with him on the top floor of the St. Stephen’s Green centre at the weekends.

portrait of Olivie Cornet by Eoin Mac Lochlainn

And ok, here’s a diptych portrait that I did myself, of Olivier Cornet. He runs the Olivier Cornet Gallery on 3 Great Denmark Street,  where I had my recent solo exhibition ‘Diaspora’. I suppose I was trying to show that there are many facets to any one person.  This was the piece that the writer and critic Brian McAvera wrote about in the Irish Arts Review recently. (I might talk about that again, sometime)  Finally, just press ‘play’ on this portrait video below. It’s been created by Kevin McGloughlin (my nephew). Have you ever see anything like it?

Your comments are always welcome.  Click on the little brown speech bubble up at the top right of this post and you can put your comment there. Bye for now, eoin
















  1. One of the things I love about your blog is that you introduce those who read it to other artists and their work…thank you for that! Love the works you’ve posted here. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Fionnuala, I’m not sure how how that happens, it seems like you have to click into the blog itself in order to see the video by Kevin – but it’s worth it, isn’t it – I’ve never seen anything like it, have you? 🙂


  2. Hi Eoin,

    That’s a very interesting painting of Olivier Cornet, the light cast on the right side of his face is quite beautiful. The composition is really well balanced on the piece on the right, with a little nod to his passion and occupation top right.


  3. Well Eoin, as an artist with a very keen eye and a great deal of first-hand experience, you have opened a door to some marvelous portrait artistry and highlighted the sometimes contrary criteria applied by juries of open-submission exhibitions.
    Jim Doolan – Art Practitioner.


    • Hi Jim, thanks for your comment, you know, one of your own works would have fitted right in there too – but I didn’t have any images unfortunately. I remember being at one of your watercolour portrait demonstrations a few years ago in Dún Laoghaire. I was really impressed at how you got such a good likeness (despite all the people milling around you at the time!!) Best wishes, eoin


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