The Mountain Road IV #318


The Mountain Road IV, ©John O’Grady

20″ x 20″ x 1.75″, oil on deep edged canvas, ready to hang.

$1057 (approx €998, £847) free shipping

When you are travelling through Ireland, particularly in the west, you are likely to marvel at the beauty of the landscape.

Rugged and wild, it will capture your heart.

Although I relate to this, when there, I tend to spend most of my time looking up: above our heads is an incredible spectacle.

It’s like magic.

The clouds sweep in from the Atlantic. They build up and rise and shift and swirl in an astonishing display of power.

Although they look heavy and ominous, as they ascend they become ethereal and transparent.

The landscape has its place though.

It’s a fitting and stunning backdrop even when mountains look dwarfed in the presence of cumulus clouds that stand three or four times their height above their summit.

Can you imagine their weight?

These contrasts and contradictions gave me the starting point for this painting.

The ephemeral clouds are both heavy and filled with light while the trees stand slim and dark against the evening sky.

I’d love to hear what you think.

Morning on the Boyne #317


Morning on the Boyne, ©John O’Grady

12″ x 6″ x 1.25″, oil on deep edged wooden panel, ready to hang.

$247 approx €234 £198 free shipping

This little painting started life with an underpainting of cool grey blues in acrylic.

Sometimes to get started on a piece, I use thin washes of acrylic paint I let flow on the board and move around till it triggers a memory or a feeling of a place.

The back lit stately trees reminded me of a photo taken many years ago along the Boyne river.

The photo was somewhere but I was content to tap into what I remembered of that day, the low light, the mist on the water,…

In this painting, I wanted to emphasise the water and reflections so I placed a high horizon line.

The colours are muted and restrained to befit the first morning light but also to follow on from the cool acrylic layer underneath.

Once the painting was finished and I started this blogpost, I realised the palette resembled a painting made over two years ago called ‘Morning across the Boyne’.

Perhaps this first painting was subconsciously informing the new one.

Memory is a funny thing, don’t you think?

You Are Everything V #316


You Are Everything V, ©John O’Grady

15.75″ x 12″ x 1.5″, oil on deep edged beech panel, ready to hang.

$515 (approx €486, £417) with free shipping.

On a dark night on open land, the wind behind our backs passes by in an instant, an instant long enough for the bog grasses to sway from side to side and ripple across the land towards the mountains’ darkness.

Their blond shades catch any slither of light while the distant mountains glow a cool violet-blue under the stars./p>

I’d love to read your comment.

Flurry on the Lavender Fields #315


Flurry on the Lavender Fields, ©John O’Grady

8″ x 10″ x 0.75″, oil on canvas, ready to hang.

$275 (approx €258, £221) with free shipping

I was driving home the other day when to my surprise, the first snowflakes of the year pirouetted down to disappear as quickly as they came.

Meanwhile, high on the mighty Mont Ventoux, a white thin layer coated its summit.

On seeing these flurries, I remembered a drive through the mountains around Ferrassières one moonlit night. The white snowflakes, lantern-like, were standing out against the darkness.

This is lavender country and in summer, the whole area is blanketed with blue-purple flowers.

On this quiet December night, the lavender had long been harvested and the cushion-shaped plants looked as if they were cosy tucked under the snow shroud.

The pale blue moonlight lingers in my memory. It transformed the mountains in sculptures glowing in the night sky.

I’d love to read your comments.

The Valley of Lights III #314

JohnOGradyArt-The-Valley-of Lights-II

The Valley of Lights III ©John O’Grady

10″ x 8″, oil on panel; requires framing

$192 (approx €177, £152) with free shipping

Colour can have a powerful effect on you.

A particular shade can bring a memory searing through your mind.

One recent late afternoon here in Provence, I drove past burning gold poplars. I noticed their striking colour standing out against the darkening land but it’s only when I started this painting that they emerged unforced onto the paint surface and took me back to the Wicklow mountains.

The distant Sugar Loaf mountain was dusted with snow.

The light came from behind my shoulder and to the right, as I stood in the cold blue shadows looking down into the valley, the trees were lit by the setting sun.

In that final moment before darkness, the trees seemed ablaze with burnt gold and orange. They looked like, to paraphrase Dylan Thomas, they were raging against the dying of the light.

I’d love to hear what you think.