John O'Grady Art - From Dark into Light VII | atmospheric Irish seascape
From Dark into Light VII, ©John O’Grady
18″ x 8.25″ x 0.75″, acrylic on canvas, ready to hang.


This piece has the feel of a silver gelatin photograph.

I started out using black and white vinyl acrylic for its matt velvety look when dry and then added an iridescent silver to add a reflective quality in the highlights.

That technique worked well in this series’ previous works but with this one, it was a real struggle.

This finished piece, the fourth incarnation on that canvas, came together at the eleventh hour.

I am so glad I persevered (must keep that in mind when feeling like downing brushes!).

This piece pleases me.

It is full of drama and the composition works.

Reading the painting from left to right, it moves from dark into light below the horizon.

The sea, still and inky, burns white in the far right.

In the sky, the movement from dark into light comes from the opposite direction to balance out with the sea.

The small dark clouds float by, close to the horizon line while the white ghostly cumulus clouds rise vertically.

Have you noticed the horizon line?

It resides just off centre to avoid splitting the painting in two whilst keeping harmony in the piece. The cumulus clouds’ discernable reflection in the sea reinforces that sensation. It’s when I sat down to write these notes that I realised these aspects of composition.

As mentioned earlier, at first the monochromatic arrangement didn’t work. But when I added a pearlescent turquoise to the silver and black, it was like magic.

The painting was transformed.

It now has a dreamy, hushed atmosphere.

What do you think?