The Spirit of Water #253

The Spirit of Water ©John O’Grady 2015

Oil on canvas 10″ x 10″ x 0.75″
It does not require framing and is ready to hang.


Like many of my paintings, this piece started life by responding to initial marks made on canvas and seeing where it took me and whether a dialogue could be had.

Often, the painting seems to hang on a turning point at the despair stage!

I was flinging a fair bit of paint around to find a way back in when suddenly, rain and water emerged and merged on the canvas. I instantly felt the connection I was seeking almost like how a metaphor in poetry turns a key in the brain to see anew.

The sheets of rain and the wave were reaching out to each other in some kind of sublime, energetic interconnectedness of nature that shows the elemental force you can experience on the coast of Ireland.

I’d love to read your comments.

In Between (The Blue Hour) #252

In Between (The Blue Hour) ©John O’Grady 2015
Oil on deep edged canvas 19.75″ x 19.75″ x 1.75″ / 50 cm x 50 cm x 4.75cm
It does not require framing and is ready to hang.

$1057 (approx. 1008 Euros, £717 including shipping)

The time and place when we are just on the edge of something is only a slither of space, a moment.

It is a special time when the realisation of the seconds passing can be fully brought into clear focus.

The passage from light to dark, while on the cusp between the solidity of land and the liquidity of water is one of these special moments in the day.

These in-between moments, so brief they are easy to miss, straddle the material and the immaterial.

I wanted to convey the feeling of standing at the edge when the last light has just touched the tops of the mountains and in a few moments all will be shrouded in darkness while the roar of the ocean fills our perception.

One sense replaces another.

I’d love to read your comment.

The Silver Thread #251

The Silver

Click the image to see it larger.

The Silver Thread, ©John O’Grady 2015
Oil on deep edged canvas 19.75″ x 19.75″ x 1.75″ / 50 cm x 50 cm x 4.75cm
It does not require framing and is ready to hang.


Have you experienced and felt moved by the magic of moonlight as it infuses billowing clouds with its silver light?

I watch the sky frequently from my studio terrace at night and feel deeply connected to these large masses folding and unfurling before my eyes as they glow in the moonlight.

Subconsciously, my cloud watching is featuring more and more in the paintings I make and is a starting point for this nocturne.

I blocked in large shapes of coolish blue over a warm red under painting. The shape and diagonal movement of the cloud just magically arrived, moving off towards the slightly greenish blue light emanating from outside of the picture top right.

When I had this part roughed in with large brushes, I continued to block in large areas of the lower part of the painting bringing the grey violet from the sky down into what I thought might be land.

Once this stage of the painting was completed, I found both good and bad parts. I loved that a fabulous amount of light was bouncing in all directions but it was too cool. By adding a warmer violet and red/browns into the distance, shapes started to emerge out of the chaos.

There is always, with this way of working, a key moment when I see some shape emerge which gives some sort of coherence to the whole painting. In this case it was the very feint outline of what looked like a distant mountain with blueish light hovering over it and reflections of light on water below.

The Silver

When I saw this, it allowed me to bring this reflective light forward, working in bands of light and dark as the cumulus cloud cast its immense shadow on water. The painting began to remind me of a wide open vista one might see in the west of Ireland. Now on a roll, the last part of the middle ground and foreground just fell into place. By adding a warm foreground well lit with directional marks it balanced the coolness of the top two thirds and the rounded forms of the cloud.

The part of the painting that I felt particularly pleased with is the hillside on the left (see below) and the arrangement of cool greens and grey violets.

The Silver

I would love to hear what you think.

Winter Reflections #250

Winter Reflections
Click the image to see it larger.

Winter Reflections, ©John O’Grady 2015
Oil on canvas 20″ x 8″ x 0.75″

$368 (approx. 323 Euros, £239 with free shipping)

This winter painting of Killary Harbour in Connemara is looking from county Galway across to the mountains in county Mayo. It’s the only fjord in Ireland.

This whole area is stunningly beautiful. I wondered what it might look like in winter with a dusting of snow.

To accentuate the chill and stillness of winter, I chose a palette of blues, purples/browns. The effect is quiet and static. The weight of land above the horizon line is balanced with the stillness of its reflection.

I would love to hear what you think.

The Mountain Road II #249

The Mountain Road II, ©John O’Grady 2015
Oil on canvas 7″ x 9″ x 0.75″.


A small road weaves its way through the mountains in Ireland.

This painting is about scale and how the road is dwarfed by its surroundings. It’s also about what we might see when we look up and notice the incredible light in the skies that swirl around us.

As our eye moves upward through the painting, shapes begin to dissolve. Where does land end and sky begin? Nothing is definite nor defined; the elements are in a constant flux.

After all has been diffused in the transparent light filled mist, we eventually reach the top of the painting and the sky, where we meet the solidity of the back lit glowing clouds that seem to move towards us. Yet, we know clouds are also unsubstantial and evanescent.

I’d love to hear what you think about the light in this painting.