The Southwesterly II #278

JohnOGradyArt-The Southwesterly II
The Southwesterly, ©2015 John O’Grady
12″ x 12″ Oil on panel, requires framing

$331 (approx £220, €312) with free shipping.

Off the Atlantic, the weather fronts move in quickly particularly at this time of year. The high winds bring the waves and spume crashing against the rocks, whilst in the distance the heavy clouds build and build as they approach the shore.

This piece is really a continuation of the last painting capturing that time of day when that half hour of beautiful evening light makes the clouds glow a deep rose and violet colour.

What is different from the previous painting though is the focal point. It’s not, as you would expect, in the foreground which is here diffused with mist and sea spray.

The eye is led through to the horizon and the billowing weather front.

A right to left energy is enriched by the waves’ staccato dance while the rococo clouds grace the sky with their slow, sculptural show.

I’d love to read what you think about the painting.

Evening Glow Across the Bog #277

Evening Glow Across the Bog, ©2015 John O’Grady
16″ x 12″ Oil on panel, requires framing

$442 (approx £290, €415) free shipping worldwide.

Autumn is a special season.

Golds, browns and rust colours transform the landscape.

In the green land of Ireland it’s the same. The bog lands in the west are aglow. It really is a special golden hour before sunset. Often, the weather fronts have passed through and with it the rain, leaving the air fresh.

The bog grasses catch the light as the rays of the setting sun rake across the land. The spectacle is all the more beautiful as the sun sinks to the horizon and the colours become deeper and richer.

The bog appears to have an internal light, glowing a deep burnt orange. The shadows of the passing clouds on the land appear as a deep violet complimenting the orange light on the grasses. The open vista of bogland stretches off into the distant coast and because it is so wild and open, the light and dark play upon the land.

I’d love to read what your experience of autumn is like where you live.

The Silver Thread III #276

John O Grady Art-The-Silver-Thread-III
The Silver Thread III, ©John O’Grady
12″ x 12″ x 1.75″ Oil on deep edged canvas, does not require framing


The quality of light where water meets sky in the west of Ireland can be stunningly brilliant or subdued and filtered through clouds and atmospheric conditions. This piece is really about the latter. The colour arrangement is all about showing the emotional force of that special light, often fleeting and gone in a few moments even though it can remain in our memories as a sublime experience.

There is always some struggle with a painting.

When a turning point comes, it arrives with a particular emotional rush: something new is seen and opportunities arise for a new colour or light to emerge.

I stay aware of these possibilities as they can take the work in a new direction.

In this piece, the turning point was the distant headland at the right of the painting. It was formally a solid mass with an outline too pronounced in the vaporous atmosphere. By lowering the brush at an oblique angle, I dragged and scumbled a teal colour followed by rose paint over the land mass now partially obscuring it.

It felt perfect for the painting.

Following this came the back lit clouds just to the left of the headland. Working as a counterpoint, they appeared as solid and sentinel-like hovering on the horizon.

I relish it when these opposites occur and what should be insubstantial becomes solid and vice versa for what we often see is not what really is nor should it be.

I’d love to hear what you think.

Flames in a Setting Sun II #275

John O Grady Art-Flames-in-a-Setting-Sun-II
Flames in a Setting Sun II, ©John O’Grady
12″ x 12″ x 1.75″ Oil on deep edged canvas, does not require framing


I often speak about memory and how a triggered emotion helps progress a painting. Often the driver is colour, how a mark or a tone responds to another one applied next to it. Does it sing? Does it sink? A colour arrangement can help trigger a memory and create the mood and atmosphere of a painting.

When making this piece, it was firstly about using a beautiful burnt orange. I spent the next few days trying in vain to find an arrangement of colours that could work with it. The resulting pale violet, pink, deep blue and umbers brought out the subject matter by itself, reminding me of times when I had seen gorse fires burning.

Across many parts of Ireland, fires are set to clear the land of gorse covering hillsides. The tinder-like bushes spread the fire; plumes of smoke are sent skyward and hang in a veil above the earth. In this instance, the setting sun glows with an eerie pale yellow, its rays numbed by the smoke.

From the land, the deep orange glow of the burning bushes illuminates the smog hanging in the evening air.

Just like the seasons, themes in the paintings I make follow a cycle and reoccur. Purely by coincidence, I painted the first ‘Flames in a Setting Sun’ just over a year ago.

Even though the subject matter is the same, the mood and execution are different. The first one is brighter with a closer view whilst today’s painting uses colour more subtly and with a more diffuse, smoke-filled feel.

I’d love to hear what you think.

As Far as the Eye Can See III #274

John O Grady Art-As-Far-As-the-Eye-Can-See-III

As Far as the Eye Can See III, ©John O’Grady
12″ x 16″ Oil on panel, requires framing

$442 (approx £285, 385 euro) free shipping worldwide

The raking light of the evening sun has sent a warm glow across the bog and illuminates the grasses with flecks of light. The wide sweep of the land is laid out before us, stretching far off into the distance.

The evening light dissolves form.

Beyond is what seems like infinity but shapes shift and change as our eyes fail to focus on a fixed line on the horizon. Cumulus clouds billow high into the sky and then diffuse and we can witness their forms and colour evolving under the rays of the setting sun.

The air is cool and smells damp and fresh. It sweeps across the wide open vista, moving and swaying the grasses back and forth in a murmuring sound.

I have experienced all of these feelings and emotions when standing in such an overwhelming landscape. Like many previous paintings of open vistas, it is about scale and space and our tiny place in this vast scheme of things but
at the same time, being sensitive and still so that we can become attuned to the minutiae of the subtle shifts in light, shape and sound as they act upon our senses.

Have you have experienced something similar?

I would love to hear what you think.

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