Olive Grove in Les Baronnies, ©John O’Grady
8″ x 11.75″ oil on panel, requires framing


There is a small scenic winding road that passes between the village of Chateauneuf-de-Bordettte and Mirabel-les- Baronnies.

Close to Mirabel, olive groves are neatly laid out to the left and right of the road. The ground around the trees is manicured, nets are tied between the trees like hammocks, ready to be laid on the ground to harvest the olives in November.

Sometimes though, you can come across a grove or field that has gone ‘native’; the Olive trees and long blonde grasses meld into one in a pleasing way.

This particular grove had the light of summer evening filtering through the trees, silhouetting them against the light.

At the end of the overgrown grove, you can spot an old abandoned cabanon.

In this painting though, the real focus is the sculptural gnarled trunk twisted by age.

Against the light its beautiful form appeared to take on a blue, violet and reddish cast that’s accentuated by the blond colour of grasses that surrounded it.

In shadow, Olive trees appear almost black and in full sun are light grey brown but when I came to paint this piece remembered from last summer and I closed my eyes, I was back in the quiet grove and the tree revealed tints of deep blue and purple.

A quote from Gauguin immediately came to mind:
‘If you see a tree as blue, then make it blue’.

Although my olive tree is not blue, it shows different shades of colour.

Perhaps ‘The Colours of an Olive Tree’ would be a better title, what do you think?