First Light Wicklow, ©John O’Grady 2014
Oil on deep edged beech panel, 15 cm x 15 cm x 3.6 cm deep (approx. 6″x6″x1.5″, no need to frame and ready to hang)
There are days when the slatey grey and purple clouds are so low it feels as if they are touching the top of your head.
On days like this, you awake to the rain and no wind. The rain is soft and fine and, unrelenting in its fall to Earth, will soak through your clothes.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, for even clouds like these have a silver lining. The atmosphere is particular, it has an intimacy similar to a day with snow. The sounds of the world are a little bit muffled, people have to put their lights on in the house at midday and traffic slowly streams through the darkened land with their headlights on.
The day light can’t penetrate the dense blanket of cloud that shrouds the land. It has to find a way in, somewhere, from the side, squeezing in between land and sky. And then, you experience its magic and beauty when its low angle rakes across the land bathing each and every object it comes across.
Here is a poem by Winifred M. Letts (1882-1972) that conveys the feeling
A Soft Day.
A soft day, thank God!
A wind from the south
With a honey’d mouth;
A scent of drenching leaves,
Briar and beech and lime,
White elderflower and thyme,
And the soaking grass smells sweet,
Crushed by my two bare feet,
While the rain drips,
Drips, drips, drips from the eaves.
A soft day, thank God!
The hills wear a shroud
Of silver cloud;
The web the spider weaves
Is a glittering net;
The woodland path is wet,
And the soaking earth smells sweet
Under my two bare feet,
And the rain drips,
Drips, drips, drips from the leaves.
Have you experienced soft rain?
I gave a little gasp when I saw the thumbnail in the e-mail message. This is breathtaking, and very evocative of the soft days I remember from Ireland. The vertical brushstrokes subtly suggest the falling mist. The color blending, little points of light, and dreamy distance are beautifully done. Thanks also for the very apt Letts poem, which is full of sensation.
It is a fabulous poem, which immediately formed images in my mind. I only found out after the blogpost went up that she is buried in Rathcoole not far from Co Wicklow, glad you enjoyed it oh! and of course the painting too.
Love the serenity this evokes and still with some “boggishness” about!! I like that. I believe this exudes a calm, slow, easy day. A day to recuperate and curl up by the peat fire with Irish coffee in hand!!
I agree, definateley a day for staying close too the fire with something to warm the insides.
Thanks John. Your words, this wonderful poem and especially your painting conjure up the atmosphere of those days steeped in rain that all of of us on these islands recognise. They have a quiet atmosphere which is unique and not unpleasant to me at all and you have caught it in this lovely soft, loose, dreamy painting suffused with feeling.
You are very welcome. I think we have all experienced one of these days in that part of the world, yes it is a particular atmosphere. Gladly those days are not every day and the sun does shine again. Thank you for your comment.