John O'Grady Art - Moonrise with Dragonflies | moonrise painting
Moonrise with Dragonflies, © John O’Grady
10.2″ x 14″ x 0.75″, mixed media on canvas, ready to hang.

Not for Sale

I didn’t know whether my eyes were deceiving me!

At the foot of Mont Ventoux, a spring pours out of a cliff face clear and cool and nestles into a pool before meandering down the valley.

While I was sitting there on a bench, a number of people passed by and filled large containers with water. It was a beautiful afternoon with sunshine and fresh air, hawthorn trees and violets in bloom announcing the coming spring.

The temperature had started to warm a little to reach 19˚C.

I was looking with interest at the water. The trees’ bare branches were dancing on its surface and making sinuous shapes every time the breeze created gentle ripples while shadows and light drew intricate patterns.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, something darted across the pond in a flash, skimming the surface and then back again. It was the first dragonfly of the year, in early march. I don’t think my eyes were deceiving me.

In a second it was gone.

When I came to make this reflection painting, my thoughts immediately returned to the dragonfly and to last summer and another pool next to a spring at twilight.

On the far bank, a golden full moon slowly rose above the trees.

The heat of the day was starting to ease, I could now feel the moisture rising from the pool and brought by the breeze. Dragonflies were everywhere, darting back and forth, displaying their aerobatic artistry.

As darkness fell, the full moon climbed up into the sky and the dragonflies carried on flying.

This painting evokes that balmy evening in Provence. The harmony of reflected shapes above and below the waterline add balance.

Each of the colours used was created with blue.

Instead of using a complementary colour which tends to energise a painting, I worked with an analogous palette, a set of colours that sit next to each other on the colour wheel.

So I used blue at the centre, next to it, blue greens and on the other side blue violet. This gives the painting a unified and quiet feel while retaining a sense of warmth.

The golden yellow moon attracts the eye and is the only complementary colour applied.

Can you feel the warmth of that summer evening?