Flames in a Setting Sun #225


Flames in a Setting Sun, ©John O’Grady 2014
Oil on deep edged stretched Canvas 20.4 cm x 20.4 cm x 4.7 cm deep (8″ x 8″, no need to frame and ready to hang)


The sun is setting and the sky is aglow.

Orange, yellow and pale violets fill the sky with colour.

The day is coming to an end.

The blue grey hillside silhouetted against the sky offers a backdrop to the gorse fires that are sending blue green smoke skyward.

The gorse burns cleanly like tinder.

All that will remain is ash.

The ash will return to the earth to feed next year’s growth and aid renewal.

The wheel turns.

The sun too has burnt cleanly in the sky and night will usher in the new day.

I would like to hear what you feel about it.


Take Me to the Island VI #224

Take-Me-to-the IslandVIJohnOGrady-www.johnogradypaintings.com

Take Me to the Island VI, ©John O’Grady 2014
Oil on deep edged stretched Canvas 20.4 cm x 20.4 cm x 4.7 cm deep (8″ x 8″, no need to frame and ready to hang)

$227 (approx. 180 Euros, £142 with Free shipping worldwide)

Whenever I return to the theme of the Island, the result is a painting where colour has an important role in conveying that feeling of refuge, solitude, melancholy even.

After finishing the previous painting “After the Rain, Croghan Hill” based on a specific place and topography, I felt the need to loosen up.

I took out three small stretched canvases, a large palette knife and a range of vibrant colours.

I applied them straight from the tube directly onto the canvas and spread, blended and lifted off a lot of paint.

What enjoyment!

Here, I’m trying to let the colours speak without working them too much.

To arrive at something simple is very hard. It may sound like a contradiction in terms but it is actually true.

In this first completed painting, I’m happy with the arrangement of blue greens balanced with the deep browns and light violets in the land and mist.

How do you like this painting?
I’d love to hear what you think.

Take-Me-to-the IslandVIJohnOGrady-www.johnogradypaintings.com

After the Rain, Croghan Hill #223


After the Rain, Croghan Hill, ©John O’Grady 2014
Oil on deep edged Beech Panel, 18 cm x 24.2 cm x 3.7cm deep
(approx. 7″ x 9.5″, no need to frame and ready to hang)

$227 (approx. 180 euros, £142 with Free Shipping worldwide)

The main artery that connects the cities of Dublin and Galway is the M6. It cuts the country in half and travels coast to coast.

The counties and towns that lie in between are often seen as places to pass through and are sometimes neglected by visitors and natives alike.

I was on this motorway a good few times and never noticed a hill on the left which rises out of the Midlands’ flatlands after you pass Kinnegad. This is Croghan Hill which is set in the middle of the Bog of Allen.

My interest was renewed about Crohan Hill after hearing recently of a newly discovered bog body.

My mind traveled back to when I first saw the remains of Old Croghan Man’s mummified body at the National Museum of Ireland’s display, “Kingship and Sacrifice”.

I felt stunned.

He looked so vulnerable and real, I felt as if I could touch his hand. It had the substance of a hand with flesh and bones.

Ireland has a strong, deep connection with the past and past human life that can resurface when you don’t always expect it as it’s always latent.

A few bog bodies have been discovered in the Midlands and I wonder how many more are lying there since possibly 4th century BC, in a fantastic state of preservation thanks to the cold, acidic, oxygen-free conditions that persist beneath peat bogs and prevent decay while mummifying human flesh.

Old Croghan Man was found at the foot of the hill. The hill itself was a landmark and local tribal kings were crowned there like on the Hill of Tara. And both afford a fantastic and strategic view of the surrounding countryside.

When looking up Croghan Hill on google maps, (isn’t google maps incredible?), I discovered that I had visited a friend nearby many years ago and seen this hill but didn’t realise it.

This painting is about my response to first seeing “Old Croghan Man” and the recollection of that visit to the hill.

I would love to hear what you think of my painting and if you have seen the bog bodies?


View Across Dublin Bay #222

View Across Dublin Bay, ©John O’Grady 2014
Oil on deep edged beech Panel, 15 cm x 30 cm x 3.7 cm deep
(approx. 6″ x 12″, no need to frame and ready to hang)

$247 Approx 195Euros, £153 (Free Shipping worldwide)

Looking across the bay of Dublin, the hill of Howth stands like an immovable sentinel watching the ferries move in and out of the port while the tides ebb and flow echoed by the clouds drifting by in an endless procession.

This painting came into being because of its long horizontal format, an unusual size for me as I tend to work on a square.

It’s panoramic and lends itself to capturing a wide vista and clouds’ movement.

When I started working, I lay in an oil wash of bands of colour that I let bleed into each other by moving the paint around and working intuitively with it. I then left it for the night to dry.

When I returned to my studio the following day, the colour arrangement reminded me of standing on the beach at Sandymount looking across the bay to Howth Head and seeing a white ferry leaving the port.

The end result is a piece with muted colours that suggest a solitary atmosphere. The horizontal bands at the bottom have a static quality that balance with the charged clouds that add drama.

I would love to hear what your feelings are about this format and the resulting painting.


The Mountain Road #221

The Mountain Road ©John O’Grady 2014
Oil on deep edged Beech Panel, 18 cm x 24.2 cm x 3.7cm deep
(approx. 7″ x 9.5″, no need to frame and ready to hang)

$227 (approx. 180 euros, £142 with Free Shipping worldwide)

High up in the mountains of Wicklow, the narrow roads that rise and cross the mountains draw a fine line across the wild and bleak landscape. Surrounded by blanket bog, they twist and turn till they disappear over the horizon of a distant mountain.

On wet and wintery days, you mightn’t pass another car till you reach the other side of the mountains.

A major crossing point is at the Sally Gap, a crossroad I painted last year. It’s a very open space with amazing views all around that witness through colour and light the changing patterns each weather front, each time of day, each season bring.

The palette in this painting is richer than the first “Sally Gap” painting. The Violet colour gives it an autumnal feel.


Talking of palette, I had someone ask me about the oil colours that I use and what make they are.
So for this painting I used:

my palette1

I suggest you click on the image to see more detail.

From left to right they are:

Sennelier Titanium White – This has the right consistency for me: buttery but just dense enough for covering and building highlights. I also use a Blockx Titanium white which is really dense for when I want a white to really stand out.

Michael Harding Burnt Umber – I have heard so much about these paints which are highly reputed but although I’ve found this earth colour rich, it’s no richer than others I have used.

Schminke Mussini, Burnt Sienna – I have great fondness for this colour and its rich qualities when mixed with reds. This is again a highly reputed paint and it’s good but I have used a Daler Rowney one in the past that was richer.

Michael Harding, Cadmium Yellow – A highly pigmented mid range (not warm or cool) yellow that is expensive and one I had to think twice about buying as it costs about 80 Euro but as you only need a very small amount, it really does go a long way. A good buy.

Senellier Permanent Violet – I like this paint and wouldn’t be without it. I have only ever used this one type of Violet. It makes the most gorgeous night blues and it’s great mixed with burnt sienna to get rich earthy colours.

Sennelier Manganese Blue – Like the previous colour, I wouldn’t be without this either. A great greenish blue for skies and mixing with violet for night blues. I have only ever used the Sennelier Mang Blue, it’s great.

Windsor and Newton Quinacridone Red – Bought as a replacement for alizarin crimson, it acts in a very different, good, way that makes the most delightful pinks and oranges.

Windsor and Newton Monestial Green – This paint really packs a punch and you only need the smallest amount. It’s great mixed with cadmium yellow for vibrant greens.

You have probably noticed that they are different makes. My experience is that each manufacturer makes paints that are stronger and weaker depending on the colours and properties. It’s fun to try different ones and see how they behave.

I’d love to hear what you think.