Clouds in the Ouvèze River, ©John O’Grady
12″ x 12″ x 1.75″ acrylic on canvas, ready to hang
$397 (approx. €362, £321) with free shipping.
At the height of the summer heat, the Ouvèze river had turned into a dry, white bed of rocks and pebbles.
Then, the autumn rains came and the river is now reborn, meandering its way from the mountains down and onward through vineyards and valleys to join the giant that’s the river Rhône.
More frequent clouds are showing up too, brought along by the Mistral’s return, the mighty wind from the north that dries the earth and brightens the light.
I was passing by the river lined with deciduous trees, their leaves still rustling in the wind and noticed the water surface.
It was still, like a mirror sheltered by the tall vegetation and reflected the cotton-wool clouds shifting across the water.
Contemplating this landscape felt like I was entering into another world through a looking glass; one that was slower, quieter.
Shapes were diffused and melded into one another. Colour was muted.
I had similar thoughts while making ‘Clouds in the River Rhône’ and ‘Clouds in the River Rhône II’ a few years ago.
Do you ever have that experience while looking at reflections in water?
I’d love to read your comment about this painting.
Hello John, it’s good to have your blog and paintings back in my inbox after the summer.
My experience of looking into the depths of water relates more to the still, silent waters of Scottish lochs than moving rivers; I found that they could have a strangely hypnotic effect. As in your lovely painting, the mirror-like effects play visual tricks on the eyes so that the sky becomes the surface of the water and the water becomes the sky…clouds and all! It is really quite beguiling as water, earth and sky blend together as one. You have encapsulated this beautifully and I am drawn into the watery world of ‘Clouds in the Ouvèze River’ through a limited palette, brushwork and composition including a low viewpoint and the eye level horizon.
I couldn’t agree more. Your description of water becoming sky and vice versa is exactly the pleasantly disorienting feeling I get too. Thank you for your thoughts on the painting, which describe so well the hypnotic effect of such a sight in the Scottish Lochs
We wondered where you were! This looks soooo peaceful, John. Right now, we could all use a little peace in our lives. It is truly lovely and so well composed. Thank you!
Hello Terry, thank you very much, glad to be back. I hope you and Sandy are keeping well
Welcome back, John! I have very little to add to the beautifully observed comments by Chris and Terry. The melting of colors and forms in the distance is dreamy, and the way the movement of branches is stilled and blurred in the river serves to still the mind. Reflections on water do give me the sense of a glimpse into a shadow world that always lurks beneath the surface — not just in bodies of water but in every aspect of life. Your “looking glass” description feels very apt. So happy to find your work in my inbox again.
Thank you Jo, glad to be posting again. Yes your comment very much compliments Terry’s and Christine’s thoughts. I do like your comment, ‘the shadow world that lurks beneath the surface’
Am always taken aback by your paintings but this one is somehow ineffable and has an extraordinary quality to it that I just wanted to ‘fall into’
So I wrote a poem to it : )
Here it is
In acquiescence quiet and lulled I find you here,
feelings mothered and at grace.
Childhood has held you in liquid stillness and the softening of feathered beds.
Glimpsed en mirage the
appearing of the disappeared
in lanquid stillness.
Sequestered in decidious frame,
here witness the bluff and cotton tumbled blue-and-white.
Not sure if it fits but something very psychoanalytic in it for me: the mirroring, the mothering, the padding on top of the river (which has disappeared, the movement of the water invisible, there’s no sense of what lies beneath- it’s all been shut-up as it were, for now, don’t speak)
and a sense of transcendence has been engaged almost, an awe.
I could go on.
Anyway, it’s beautiful.
Thank you for very much for your comment on the painting and a big big thank you for your poem Acquiesce. it fills me with wonder that my painting could bring forth such wonderful and evocative words. Like the water in the painting your poem takes us into the dark depths and below the mirrored stillness.