Looking East, Killiney #189

www.JohnOGradypaintings.com. Looking East Killiney
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Looking East, Killiney ©John O’Grady, 2014
Oil on Panel, 6″x 6″


This view across Killiney Bay and the Irish sea is what first came to mind as this painting emerged.  The particular light there is full of rich, varied greys, blues, jades and purples.

The balance to be struck with painting is always knowing how much to put in and how much to leave out.  Finding the tipping point between representation and abstraction is always the hard part.  This  piece is a good example of trying to find that balance.  For me it is not so much just about description or abstraction but also about atmospheric condition and mood.

Maurice Denis, the French painter stated:

“Remember that a painting – before it is a battle horse, a nude model, or some anecdote – is essentially a flat surface covered with colours assembled in a certain order”.*

I agree with him but also remember he was an integral part of  The Nabis, a group of artists including Bonnard and Vuillard who sought to evoke mood in painting with expression rather than realism.

I’d love to hear what you think about my painting and these thoughts.

* Maurice Denis: ‘Definition du neo-traditionism’, Art et Critique, 1890.


  1. Tisha 22/03/2014 at 4:27 pm #

    Brilliant, I love this. Very atmospheric and moving. Well done John you have definitely created/evoked a mood with this painting.

    • John O'Grady 22/03/2014 at 4:32 pm #

      Hello Tisha, glad you like I think it does have a particular mood . Thanks for your comment

  2. JR 22/03/2014 at 8:23 pm #

    Before I even read your blog entry, John, I marveled at the balance between representation and abstraction in this piece. You have not only achieved this balance but also conveyed the dreamy atmosphere and what feels to me like the mood of a memory, more than that of an actual observation.
    The colors are themselves very evocative, and your use of the palette is masterful.
    Thank you for including the Denis quote. These references always add to my knowledge and enhance my experience of the art.

    • John O'Grady 22/03/2014 at 9:18 pm #

      Hello Josephine, a little bit outside of what I have been doing of late but it just came out that way. Trying to achieve subtle gradations of colour was the enjoyable part. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement in my endeavours to balance palette and mood. Glad you enjoyed the Denis quote, it is a beauty.

  3. Chris Hay 22/03/2014 at 9:14 pm #

    I think it does has a distinctive mood John which for me is created by the balance and harmony with the depth and lightness of colour. I remember the time you took us to see Killiney Bay and I recall then that you mentioned how beautiful the light was across the water. It was at this time of year so there was a haze on the horizon despite the sunshine.

    • John O'Grady 22/03/2014 at 9:26 pm #

      Hello Chris, it certainly is a special place with the constant movement of light on water. It certainly isn’t a descriptive view but hopefully it might have captured a little bit of atmosphere from there. Thank you