The Spirit of Water IV #265

John O Grady Art-The Spirit-of-Water-IV
The Spirit of Water IV, ©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 £253 Free shipping.

This is the fourth in this series of paintings that explores the merging and blending of atmospheres, matter and void and light and dark.

Making these energetic pieces offers me the opportunity to try out different mark making trying to capture and convey what is solid and immaterial and the friction and pull-push between the two when the weather is tempestuous.

For the denseness of rocks, I first built up texture and then, with different tools such as sandpaper, a decorator’s paint scraper and the sharp edge of a palette knife, I scrapped, scratched and gouged back through dried paint to reveal the coloured layers below.

To create lots of energy from bottom right to top left, from water to clouds, I chose a rubber print roller to apply thin blended paint in a diagonal movement.

I painted the delicate spume effect with a palette knife and then, with a small stencil brush loaded with paint, flicked across the surface. The palette knife built a flat layer of colour while the physicality of flicking on top of it helps transmit the elemental energy of nature.

When I am painting these pieces, it is as if I am right there in the painting reliving the experience of being next to the water’s edge on a wild day. Can you relive that experience too?

I’d love to hear what you think.

The Gorse Bush on Killiney Hill #265

John O Grady Art-The Gorse Bush
The Gorse Bush on Killiney Hill, ©John O’Grady 2015
Acrylic on deep edged beech panel, 15.8″ x 11.8″ x 1.50″
It does not require framing and is ready to hang.

$513 (approx £330) with free shipping.

Gorse bushes are a familiar sight in Ireland, often found by the coast along headlands. Their vibrant cadmium yellow flowers contrast beautifully with a lead coloured sky while they fill the air with a coconut-like fragrance you notice as you walk past.

I started this painting by staining the panel with a pink and blue/green underpainting, a bit like a watercolour wash to free myself up and stop myself from becoming too precious about the process.

It can be liberating but it can also be a case of crash and burn. That’s part of the excitement.

The shapes formed in the wash when I turned the board upright reminded me of the shape of Killiney Hill in south county Dublin. The gorse-covered hillside overlooks the Irish sea and the Bay of Killiney. On a fine day, the yellow flowers and deep green/brown wood of the bush create a beautiful foreground to the blue of the sea.

To give you an idea of the place, below is a painting of Killiney Hill looking to Dalkey Island.

John O Grady Art-Killiney Hill

Today’s painting is more expressive with looser mark-making and colours bleeding into each other. At the bottom of the piece, I scratched and sanded back some of the surface to reveal the blue and green underpainting that add a bit more depth.

I would love to here what you think.

The Spirit of Water III #264

John O Grady Art-The Spirit-of-Water-III
The Spirit of Water III, ©John O’Grady 2015
Oil on deep edged canvas, 20″ x 20″ x 1.75″
It does not require framing and is ready to hang.

$1057 (approx £677) with free shipping.
This painting can be purchased with a payment plan. Please contact me if that’s of interest.

This is a painting of a moisture filled day on the west coast of Ireland. Moisture from the sky, from the sea and coming off the land mingle with each other. Where does one start and the other finish? It’s hard to know but they work with each other to give a sense of energy in this wet atmosphere you’ll find frequently there. If you venture out on a day like this, you’ll smell the sea and taste it.

The far headland to the top left is just about to be enveloped by a shroud of vapour moving in off the coast. It appears solid but any time now, it will change.

As we move down through the picture, shrouded forms gradually appear as we approach the foreground filled in with energetic marks.

The balance between land and water/sky in this painting is about 50/50 directed through a diagonal movement from bottom write to top left. If you look at the previous ‘The Spirit of Water II’, it was described in a series of what appears as opposites but are they really?

Opposites or contrary forces are complementary. They are interconnected in the natural world and work with each other and off each other in a yin-yang fashion.

These complementary (rather than opposing) forces interact to create a whole that’s greater than the assembled parts. There can be no shadow without light.

It’s very hot here, about 40C at the moment and it hasn’t rained for several weeks. This painting is perhaps suggesting that I’m looking or longing for a damp day. Who knows how the mind of a painter works…

I look forward to reading your comments.

Peak-Time II #263

John O Grady Art - Peak-Time II
Peak-Time II, ©John O’Grady 2015
Oil on deep edged canvas, 20″ x 20″ x 1.75″
It does not require framing and is ready to hang.

$1057 (approx £688) with free shipping
This painting can be purchased with a payment plan. Please contact me if that’s of interest.

Some things I feel precious about but changing or destroying a painting is not one of them.

Nearly a year ago I painted ‘City of Tiny Lights II’ and published it on this blog.

The painting didn’t fly and in hindsight, I understand why: not enough contrast, poor composition and I also remember the difficulty I had in trying to capture the time when it’s still light but the city lights have just come on. Here it is:

City of Tiny Lights II.

I have been looking at this painting and last week, something clicked. ‘The Blue Hour II’ helped me to find an anchor and a symmetry that was missing from the original.

What I wrote a year ago still applies to the new piece:

‘As shown in the series “Take me to the Island”, I am drawn to solitary viewpoints on the edge of something, looking out across the sea to an island or looking at the city from a place of silence, wondering what lives people lead there…

A city has a different feel to an Island but when looking at a city at night, the glow of the lights suggests the magical, the mysterious and the beguiling. It’s poetry. Emotions, experiences, life and death are all played out in all their richness in a city.’

The addition of the moon at mid point gives a balance and stillness to the piece whilst in the lower part, the frenetic movement of the cars at rush hour with the acid colour of the car lights and city lights send a pink glow skyward.

The result is richer in colour, depth, contrast and atmosphere than the original painting. I changed the title as well. It seems to follow the theme of the previous ‘Peak-Time’ #260 painting.

I’d love to hear what you think.

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.