After the Rain #245

After the Rain ©John O’Grady 2015
Oil on deep edged canvas 12″ x 12″ x 1.75″
It does not require framing and is ready to hang.

$397 (approx 351 Euros, £264 with free shipping)

The trials and tribulations of a painting!

Normally I try to post on a Wednesday but this latest painting gave me a whole lot of grief. Now each one I make always involves a battle to the finish and that is the way it should be, as hopefully things move forward.

This particular piece had, I thought, been resolved yesterday. Photographs were taken and were ready to post.

But at the last minute, something didn’t feel right. It lacked something of a connection, a feeling …

The reason I mention this is, often the day after, I look afresh at a piece and usually something clicks and gives me an opening.

After refraining from posting yesterday, I thought this would be the case but the struggle continued.

This has happened once or twice before so I’ve left the painting aside for a couple of weeks and this strategy has worked but today, being really cheesed off with this painting (sounds crazy I know), I persevered.

I scraped off the lower two thirds, added more paint and repeated this process several times until I decided the piece was finished.

I am mentioning this because I learned something: being like a terrier with a bone and never giving up can pay dividends not necessarily in terms of how the painting looks at the end but sometimes it gives your self belief a boost to push through to the end.

Has anyone else found this the case with their work?

Here is a detail of the sunrise in the finished painting.

Till the Last Ray Gleams II #244

Till the Last Ray Gleams II, ©John O’Grady 2015
Oil on deep edged canvas 8″ x 8″ x 1.75″
It does not require framing and is ready to hang.


I am sure there is a scientific explanation or term for the sliver of time between day and night when the sun is just dipping below the horizon and the land takes on the glow of the complementary colours of the sky: blues, violets and blue/greens.

I have seen this several times and been struck each time by that instant for it really is just that, the passing of a moment before all is lost in greys and blacks. Perhaps it is a visual illusion of sorts, yet the colours remain vivid in my memory.

Here is a close up of this painting showing the glorious colours around the setting sun:

The blue is a Manganese which sits beautifully next to a deep violet and the browns of the Irish bog land’s hillside.

The green is just a touch of Cadmium yellow mixed into the manganese blue and just below the sun is a touch of scarlet lake and cadmium yellow.

That sliver of time is so precious as every moment is but sometimes, we are so busy thinking of what lies ahead we rarely experience the preciousness of now until we are faced with the beauty of such a moment.

I hope you enjoy the painting, please let me know what you think.

Then the Rain Came #243

Then the Rain Came, ©John O’Grady 2015
Oil on Panel, 7.25″ x 12″


On the West coast of Ireland the weather can change so fast.

Yes there are days when there isn’t a cloud in the sky but the days when the play of light and rain clouds puts on a display are endlessly fascinating. I have heard it said that a painter doesn’t paint ‘landscapes’ there but paints the weather, as it is omnipresent and permeates everything including waterproofs.

The squalls of rain which can turn to sunshine in an instant by piercing through a fine veil of rain are quite extraordinary.

To try and capture this ever changing dynamic movement and convey its force and energy requires a freedom of mark making and brushstrokes. There is no other way to transmit this feeling of power than painting in this way.

In this piece, I wanted to transmit the feeling of the rain approaching as you are about to experience a shower and yet can enjoy the moment knowing the sun is just round the corner to dry you off.

I look forward to reading your comment.

A Day – Morning, Noon and Night #242


A Day – Morning, Noon and Night, ©John O’Grady 2014
Oil on deep edged panel, 3 x 15cm x 15cm x 3.2cm
(approx 3 x 6″ x 6″ x 1.1/4″, no need to frame and ready to hang)

$327 (approx 282 Euros, £215 with free shipping)

This triptych is something I have been meaning to do for a while now as I used to work in this way many years ago.

In a previous incarnation as a painter, I was making minimalist abstract work in series of 4 up to 7. Working in this way certainly suits abstract pieces and has a strong time element attached to it.

This got me thinking about a day unfolding from a fixed viewpoint.

None of this is new. For example, The great Monet’s beautiful haystacks and views of Rouen cathedral captured these motifs with different light.

Working from memory and imagination, I intended to imbue the pieces with the atmosphere and feel of that particular time of day.

The freshness of the open spaces of bogland in Ireland are I hope in evidence here, from the milky light of sunrise


to the clouds bubbling up over the distant mountains,


to the quiet of the night when the light is spent.


I’d love to hear what you think.

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Land Marks #241

Land Marks, ©John O’Grady 2015
Oil on deep edged canvas 12″ x 12″ x 1.75″
It does not require framing and is ready to hang.

$397 (approx. 317 Euros, £248 with free shipping)

‘Great things are done when men and mountains meet; this is not done by jostling in the street.’
William Blake

The visionary poems of William Blake often appear enigmatic. I am sure this quote on first reading alludes to the physical task and rewards of climbing a mountain or the insights that could be gleaned from communing with such a sentinel looming in the distance as opposed to the aimless ‘jostling in the street’.

I know that he was well aware of the transfer of land from the public to the few and how Enclosure Acts (please scroll down to William Blake’s ‘Charter’d’ London on the link) brought this about in the 18th century.

My own reading is that he saw these ‘sentinels’ as just that, guardians of the land that watch man’s petty drawing of straight lines on a map. They are temporal. This boundary or that frontier will all turn to dust in the end while the mountain will still be there, immutable and impassive. The painting ‘The Fallow Field’ explores the same theme.

Perhaps, as Blake says, the ‘great things are done’ when we understand our relationship to the mountain. The climbing of it can also be seen as a metaphor for the evolution of a spiritual relationship with the land.

This painting of the wide open expanse of bogland and mountains in the west of Ireland came to my mind when I read the Blake quote. Initially, it had no clear footprint of man upon the land but then, I remembered the straight lines of fences that ran across the bog.

Even this bleak and beautiful landscape has the stamp of ownership however temporary it may be.

I would love to hear what you think.