I Took the One Less Traveled by III ©John O’Grady
6″ x 12″ x 1.5″, Oil on deep edge panel, ready to hang.
$247 (approx €210, £190) with free shipping
Pathways crisscross the provençal countryside between villages.
These half-road, half-tracks ‘chemins’ made of compacted soil and stones, are a means for farmers to access their fields. Outside harvest time, they are empty and a joy to follow to discover the unexpected.
This late summer afternoon, I noticed on the side of the path the heat had dried and bleached the grasses yellow-white.
The tree-trunks looked striking in the shade.
Coming around the bend, the chemin rose up and, stretching out before me, I saw the most beautiful dappled-light pattern of complementary yellow-orange highlights set among the blue-purple shadows.
Immersed in the shimmering heat, I stepped on this intricate mosaic to the rustling sound of the cigales’ chorus.
I met no-one.
Locals wisely kept indoors but I was enjoying how the heat had infused nonchalance into the landscape.
How these old pathways have been trodden over the centuries, each person telling their own tale.
How these pathways will witness the steps of each future traveller.
Each on their own journey…
The title of this painting comes from a line in Robert Frost’s poem ‘The Road Not Taken’.
There is something special about paths and laneways, don’t you think?
The subject is ostensibly simple, but what you have revealed about this landscape (and your feelings about it) is very rich. The complementary palette highlights the contrast not only between light and dark but also between warmth and coolness, openness and protection, the obvious and the mysterious. The hint of pink/violet in the sky and in the bright spots of the pathway “mosaic” deepen the atmosphere and keep the yellow-orange and blue-purple from flattening the image. You have a way with light and shadow, John; the dappled light in your paintings always captivates me, and this one is no exception. The heat is palpable and creates a sultry mood, but I can also feel the slight breeze shifting the leaves overhead. Pathways are enticing; we want to see what’s beyond the next bend, beyond the horizon. It strikes me that this describes your approach to art making (and perhaps to life) as well.
Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I can’t really add anything further to what you have already written. You have described and analysed it so beautifully. Just in conclusion to say yes, I am increasingly drawn to light and shadow, as you say ‘warmth and coolness, openness and protection’ so many thoughts so many possibilities!