Ken Hamilton was born of Irish missionary parents in 1956 in the mining town of Jos, Nigeria. He received his early education at boarding school until the age of eleven, when his parents decided to transport the family back to Belfast, Northern Ireland.
In 1977 he moved to the British mainland, and started studying horticulture and landscape design at Merrist Wood College in Surrey. For the next several years, he worked as a landscape designer, a profession that supported his love of nature, harmony and design. Having found the means to earn a living, he began to revisit his original plan to become an artist.
His natural curiosity for his subject led him to search in old art books for the key to unlock the mysteries of the old masters. Twelve years later, in 2002, he travelled to Paris to teach himself by first-hand examination the methods of the great European painters. Setting his easel in the grand halls of the Louvre, he painted the works of the French and Spanish masters, Ingres, Le Valentin and Ribera.
In the art of Ken Hamilton, the principles of the great masters are carefully applied in the making of his portraits. His paintings are built from the ground up through a series of glazes, each thinly laid down, one upon another. Glazes may be understood as layers of paint that are transparent, but which are tinted by small amounts of pigment
Ken Hamilton works in the tradition of artists, who from earliest times, have made it their life’s ambition to create objects of enduring beauty, masterpieces that reach out and challenge us at the deepest level of human experience. Ken Hamilton’s paintings of women seem almost perfect to the viewer, not in a self-satisfied way, but by the human qualities that animate them.