Senan O’Brian



Born in Co. Wicklow, Senan’s early artistic training was accomplished as a child at his father’s side. Denis O’Brien – noted landscape painter and sculptor, was firm in his insistence that his son attain a complete proficiency in drawing before moving onto other media. (Senan didn’t lift a paintbrush until he was 18.) His more formal education led him into an early career in graphic and structural design including study with portrait artist – Desmond Carrick (RHA).

By the age of ten, Senan was taken into his father’s studio to draw from still life – casts – and under the eagle eye of his father was not allowed to use paint until he was sixteen. Senan’s first use of paint, a watercolour drybrush of a young rabbit painted from life on the back of a door in the family home, assured one and all of Senan’s innate ability to visually communicate.

The sudden death of Denis in 1985 brought an unsettled time for Senan and he pursued a successful career in advertising and design. Disillusioned by this activity Senan decided in 1995 to devote himself fulltime to painting and drawing and returned to the area that was so much part of his growing up years. The everyday lives of the people and children of Wicklow have always been and continue to be and inspiration for much of Senan’s work.

Senan’s exhibitions of his work have included both the national and international stage having had successful exhibitions in both Europe and the United States of America. On the national scene Senan has exhibited at the National Portrait Awards, An t-Oireachtas at the Guinness Hop Store, Wexford Opera Festival, and the Kilkenny Arts Festival to mention but a few. One of Senan’s larger works is held by our current President Mary McAllese.