Dawn over the Copse #262

John O Grady Art - Dawn-over-the-Copse

Dawn Over the Copse, ©John O’Grady 2015
Oil on deep edged panel, 8″ x 8″ x 1.5″
It does not require framing and is ready to hang.

$227 including Shipping

I have often spoken about how memory of place enters into much of my work but the memory of a place is often filtered by time and the love of particular paintings carried round in my mind. These also play a crucial role in what I end up making.

There is a core of artists I look at often, when I am stuck and don’t know how to move forward or just to look at for pleasure. Many are female artists: Helen Frankenthaler, Agnes Martin, Gwen John and the great Joan Eardley.

While painting this work, her paintings came flooding back and especially her energetic treatment of foreground and that often used phrase ‘a sense of place’ she captured in her work.

When looking at her work, Dylan Thomas’s poem ‘The force that through the green fuse drives the flower’ comes to mind. This title seems to fit perfectly her work even though I’m not sure I understand fully its meaning. It seems to be like a force of nature erupting onto the paint surface, her work appears fearless and full of energy and yet its treatment is so sensitive.

Seeded Grasses and Daisies,September
Seeded-Grasses-and-DaisiesSeptember, 1960. Oil and seed heads on Hardboard, 122cm x 133cm

All of Joan’s landscapes and seascapes were painted outdoors. Grass and seed heads are mixed into the paint, probably picked from where she was standing. They add texture, combining real and painted imagery.

Summer Fields, 1961, Oil and grasses on hardboard, 111cm x 110cm.

One of my particular favourites. Painted near Catterline, a small fishing village south of Aberdeen where she spent much of her time from the 1950s. The work is verging on the abstract.

Can you feel the life force surging through these pieces? She is in these paintings, heart and soul bared
for all to see.

You can see over 100 of Joan’s paintings here.

These tour de force paintings are big, well over 100 cm and painted outdoors in extremes of weather. She must have been a determined and tough character but I think that comes through in the work too. Unfortunately she died when still in full artistic flow. Who knows what might have lay ahead for her.

These paintings and many others are like dear friends that continue to give me support and nourishment in my own work.

‘Dawn over the Copse’ has a different mood, quieter. It captures the atmosphere and light at the start of day. Influences surface in unexpected ways, filtered through our own temperament.

I would love to hear what you think.

The Mountain Road III #261

JohnOGradyArt-The Mountain Road III
The Mountain Road III, ©John O’Grady 2015
Oil on deep edged panel, 8″ x 8″ x 1.5″
It does not require framing and is ready to hang.

This is the third work in this series of mountain road paintings.

A small winding road weaves its way through the Wicklow mountains. Open to the elements, it’s dwarfed by its surroundings and the swirling atmospheric conditions above. Up there, the roads are narrow, barely allowing one car to pass another. They scrawl their way over the bog, twisting and turning until they disappear over the horizon of a distant mountain.

I have often driven over the top when the weather closes in and you can’t see the road ahead as the cloud and mist and rain become one. Then as you descend, the clouds part and the light emerges. Bleak and damp, someone experiencing this might find it oppressive but this atmosphere has its own muted beauty. Once you go off the road, the mist muffles the sounds and the quiet and isolation are remarkable.

Have you experienced an isolation and quiet like this?

$227 including free shipping

The Blue Hour II #260

JohnOGradyArt-The Blue Hour II
The Blue Hour II, ©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.

To start a painting is simple in theory but not so easy in practice.

To find one true colour that moves you so much that it has to be used…

Today I created a blue that did just that. Not because I wanted to make a colour for the sky but purely because of the emotional high that blues contain. Often they release in me a direct and visceral response when layed down on canvas and then other colours tumble out. It’s great when this happens, it’s a bit like having a good conversation that flows nicely.

My blue was a muted blue/violet grey.

As soon as it was on the canvas, mauve, turquoise and rose followed quickly. The colours were graduated and diffused. The coolish light of an Irish twilight sky and sea appeared before me in an instant.

I was now in the painting. Across the water I could see in my minds eye the port gradually being enveloped in darkness and the lights coming on punctuating the twilight while slowly the full moon rising was spreading a cool silver blue light across the water.

You may wonder what this previous paragraph say about painting and its process. In this case, the painting reveals itself after it is made, whereas often painters start with the end in mind and choose a subject to paint.

What the painting revealed is that the piece perhaps is concerned with the passage from light to dark, a reoccurring theme in my work. it’s the special time when the seconds passing can be fully brought into clear focus if we stop to notice.

This time is the cusp when material becomes immaterial. This can be incredibly moving as our eyes adjust to the dark and other colours gradually appear that we often miss in the full glare of daylight.

I would love to hear what you think.

$397 (approx £252) with Free shipping

Light on Water IV #259

JohnOGradyArt-Light on Water-IV
Light on Water IV, ©John O’Grady 2015
Oil on deep edged canvas, 16″ x 16″ x 1.75″
It does not require framing and is ready to hang.


There can be no light without dark.

We tend to view darkness as being negative but of course without it the light would be pale and feeble and go unnoticed. These thoughts brought to mind the West of Ireland and a light that can be sublime.

I recollect evenings on the coast of Clare watching the heavy rain clouds roll in off the Atlantic, the wind rising, beams of light darting in between the clouds onto the surface of the water forever shifting and morphing in a rich counterpoint to the sky above…

Recalling the feelings and deep connection with nature felt then resulted in today’s piece. It is quiet like other works on this theme and yet, understated, appears more monochromatic to emphasise the drama lights and darks create.

Till the Last Ray Gleams III #258

Till the Last Ray Gleams III, ©John O’Grady 2015
Oil on deep edged canvas, 31.75″ x 31.75″ x 1.75″
It does not require framing and is ready to hang.

$2190 (approx £1413) with free shipping.

Back at the end of December 2014 when the mornings were dark and grey, I made the first Till the Last Ray Gleams as an antidote to a grey morning I awoke to. I realised that it was also a belief that the wheel will turn and summer will come as it always does.

The affirmation has come to pass with a big YES today. The sun is shining and the sky is blue and I finished this larger version I’ve been working on for quite a while, building texture and then mining into the hillside by scraping back to reveal the paint below and making landmarks into the paint with channels and rivulets.

The wheel turning can just as readily be applied to the affirmation of painting : facing the blank canvas, we need to say yes to ourselves by believing that something will be made.

Yes is a word that can be so powerful.

Today the people of Ireland said YES. Ireland has become the first country in the world to vote for equality for all its citizens to marry.

Isn’t it great what a yes can do.

Molly Bloom’s final words of her soliloquy come to mind “Yes I said yes I will Yes”.

I’d love to hear what you think.