Sunset,Ireland, Bogland

Winter Sunset, ©John O’Grady, 2013
Oil on Panel, 6″x 6″


“It is better to paint from memory, for thus your work will be your own”
Paul Gauguin

When I close my eyes, I can tell myself what I want to see in my mind’s eye.
Invented or real, It’s an amazing capacity that humans have.

If you close your eyes now, can you conjure up a sunset you’ve witnessed?

I suspect that not only you can see it but you can also feel the emotion that this memory evokes.

More and more I am working in this way with landscapes of the mind.

When I start a painting, there is no pre-ordained idea of what landscape I am going to paint,
just colour feeding off colour, mark relating to mark, light touching dark.

I adore the chaos and freedom that this brings. This way of working allows me to remain open.

Slowly out of the chaos something emerges not fully formed but distilled from an amalgam of memories and imagination.
As I  mentioned in an earlier post, this process can lead to crash and burn but it’s a chance worth taking.

Making a painting is about packing in as much of me as possible into the work, to transmit that intensity of feeling so that hopefully you as a viewer of my work can feel it too.

Other artists have tapped into this deep resource:

Wassily Kandinsky said:

“I let myself go. I thought little of the houses and trees, but applied colour stripes
and spots to the canvas… Within me sounded the memory of early evening in Moscow –
before my eyes was the strong, colour-saturated scale of the Munich light and atmosphere,
which thundered deeply in the shadows.”

and another Bauhaus artist Paul Klee said:

“The joy of painting lies precisely in the challenge of memory and the challenge of
translation from the lived experience to the two-dimensional or three-dimensional symbol.”

I would love to hear what you think about this way of working