The Spirit of Water VI #292

JohnOGradyArt-The-Spirit-of-Water Vi

The Spirit of Water VI ©John O’Grady
12″ x 12″ oil on panel, requires framing

$331 (approx £230, €295) with free shipping

Across the sky, light and shade cast shadows upon land and sea.

The sun shines while rain falls. Moisture refracts the light, bouncing it through the air.

This is the jewel-like light you might come across in Ireland on a showery day.

Like ‘Spirit of Water V’, the square format of the painting has a swirling anti-clockwise motion that pushes out towards the edges of the panel whilst the eye is drawn through the vortex to the white cumulus clouds in the distance.

J.M.W. Turner, the romanticist English painter was the first to use the square format to showcase landscape. It was revolutionary considering the age he was painting in. Although radical, he knew what he was doing. The square balances his often explosive paintings that showed the visceral power of nature.

Like Turner, I sought to capture that life force.

What do you think?

Evening, Sally Gap #291


Evening, Sally Gap ©John O’Grady
8″ x 8″ X 0.75″ oil on canvas, ready to hang.

$227 (approx €199, £161) with free shipping.

This piece is a smaller sibling to the previous post but half an hour later so the light is only catching the top of the cloud.

I was working on both paintings in tandem over the last few weeks and this one came together in the last few days following a chat with a friend. We talked about how special a place it is. It has its own atmosphere. I am talking about Sally Gap, high up in the Wicklow mountains.

I would have driven through most weeks and have returned to it in my paintings on numerous occasions. It is a wide open vista of bogland close to Glendalough, wild and bleak that connects us to the elements in a powerful way.

There are few roads and little traffic; there is little to break the horizon line. No trees. No houses.

Land and sky constantly dialogue with each other. The play of light and clouds alter the grasses’ colour.

As dusk falls, its silence is all the more deafening.

Do you know Sally Gap or have you experienced being in such as place?

You Are Everything III #290

You are Everything III, ©John O’Grady
20″ x 20″ X 1.75″ oil on deep edged canvas, ready to hang.

$1057 (approx €927, £743) free shipping.

Like the previous two paintings in this series, this work is a combination of remembered places visited and a dreamscape in my mind’s eye, physically placing myself in the landscape and walking through it onward into the blue veil that falls on an indistinct horizon, experiencing the atmosphere and sensations felt when looking across the bog at sunset.

The raking light illuminates a large cumulus cloud that moves across the land. Light and cloud are intertwined in a ballet that slowly disappears as nightfall arrives.

I have been working on the cloud for a number of weeks, building up layer upon layer of glazes of transparent paint.

I was waiting for each layer of cobalt, manganese and violets to dry over an initial under painting of red to allow the light to pass through, hit the red under paint and bounce back.

With this process, the colours shifted to rich purples and blues while giving the cloud a depth of colour, a luminous quality that glows from the inside out.

Can you imagine yourself walking through this landscape?

Murmur #289

Murmur, 2016 ©John O’Grady
8″ x 10″ oil on panel, requires framing.


I came upon this fallow field a few weeks ago when I stopped to look at the clouds gradually changing from orange and reds to a deep blue violet colour in the setting sun.

The clouds were silhouetted against the evening sky in the foot hills of mountains close to Sault where fine lavender thrives. Come summer, the air is filled with its perfume and the beautiful blue purple fields are everywhere, but on this cold damp February evening, this field was muddy with glistening pools of water.

This quiet view I just happened to come upon, spoke to me, asking me to listen hard.

There wasn’t a sound.

I stayed watching the fading light turn the field from brown to black and the mountains meld into the night. It was powerful and charged.

When I came to start this piece, what was I painting?

I wasn’t trying to replicate the shape and colour of clouds, mountains, treeline and field. What I wanted was to relive that charged feeling, the solitude and connection that was so strong when the land spoke to me.

This painting is full of whispers, small imperceptible shifts of tone and colour.

The shift from field to treeline and then to the mountain is quietly modulated along horizontal bands to give balance and stability.

That evening, I learnt that what is apparently the most mundane subject has potential to enrich us if we listen.

Have you come across such a situation where what’s ordinary can become so much more?

I would love to hear what you think.

A Day of Light #288

JohnOGradyArt-A day of Light
A Day of Light, ©John O’Grady
11″ x 12″ oil and wax on panel, requires framing.

$317 (approx £220, €285) with free shipping.

Have you experienced one of those days when the air is invigorating and full of nature’s life force?

These days are dazzling. The quality of light bouncing off the sea turns the sky azur in colour though, the Atlantic wind keeps the air fresh.

This painting seeks to capture such a breathtaking day on the West Coast of Ireland.

It started with an oil wash of blue black in Paynes grey left over from a previous day’s work. I let it sit overnight so I could see the possibilities within the painting afresh.

Some of this wash can still be seen peaking through, in parts of the sky and rocks.

When I walked into my studio the following day, the shape of the rocks and the headland presented themselves straight away. What started out as a very dark wash ended up being a very ‘high key’ bright painting, mainly because of the turquoise and powder blue in the sky and sea which are so attractive to work with.

After I finished it, Eugene Boudin, a painter born in Brittany and associated with the Barbizon school, came to mind. He captured so well the shifting quality of light along the French coast around Le Havre.

I look forward to reading your comment.