On the Trail at Dawn IV, ©John O’Grady 2014
Oil on deep edged panel 15 cm x 15 cm x 3.2 cm deep, approx 6″x 6″ x 1.1/4
(no need to frame and ready to hang)
How to capture the atmosphere of an early Irish morning.
The dampness you feel on your skin, the rich smell of the earth sodden by overnight rain, the soft sound of dew drip-dripping off trees and bushes, the first sight of the sun rising through a fine mist on the horizon, the taste of moisture as you breathe in…
Now clearly painting is a visual thing and my eyes help me make decisions about colour choice and composition while you, the viewer, also use your eyes first to respond to the image of the painting.
But I think there is something else going on with landscape painting that can resonate even deeper than the visual and that is trying to bring to the fore the senses.
This is a painting from a memory of walking in just such an early morning atmosphere.
Increasingly, I realise that to evoke a memory on a paint surface I have to dig deep to capture what I physically felt on such a morning.
Memory can be pretty fugitive and experiences are mixed with lots of other things, but I have to say when I finished this piece it felt like I was there not because it looked like a place but rather, it felt like one to me and this helps bring a deeper experience that you might feel too.
Have you ever had that when you dream and you waken suddenly; you are physically awake but you are still in the dream? It’s powerful isn’t it?
When in the process of painting, It’s a bit like that I think.
Have you have experienced something like that, i’d love to hear about it.
This is a magical landscape, John. My first impression (before I read your description) was that it is a dream image, or an illustration of a place — as experienced by a character in a story — that could be real but is filtered through the character’s senses and imagination, and I am sharing in it. The nearly complementary palette heightens this sensation of almost hyper-reality. I agree that the most evocative art engages much more than sight. I love it.
Thank you, that is interesting how you also mentioned the word dream and in fact someone mentioned the word dreamscapes to me just recently with regards to the work. Your reading of the painting, where the character in the story is taking us through this place and we are experiencing what he or she is really rang a bell with me as I have been thinking about a similar idea for a long time for children in the form of a book on paintings. Glad you love the painting.
That is a very lovely painting! I remember a day in early summer when I strolled about in Kerry Co finding places to hide totally from the hectic day, exploring a bushy valley filled with gorse and WhiteThorn and behind that beauty an abandoned house. It made me sad to see such a welcoming place left alone. It was like stepping from a sunny place into the shadow…force and back! A story that came to my mind while I studied your painting. It cheers me up, me who sits in the wetness and coldness of Hamburg City, having caught a cold, sneesing and sneefing but smiling now because of the warmth in your painting. It will be my best friend today. May I download it for my desktop?
A book on paintings made for children is a wonderful idea! I have to take a look on my inner child sometimes to understand and live with children. I will be happy to read more about this idea of yours.
May you have a warm and happy day! Thanks for showing your work!
Poor you, I hope you feel better soon, That is really kind of you to say Frauke that the warmth of the painting cheered you up. Unfortunately there are lots of abandoned houses in ireland, each with its own special tale to tell. The thoughts on the book are just thoughts at the moment but I would love to get it off the ground. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.
I think this is a really interesting painting John – full of wonder. I too get a sense of ‘walking in someone elses shoes’, someone who inhabits the painting looking upwards towards the rising sun. It would make a fabulous illustration for a children’s book.
A more intimate piece I think than the previous painting and yes I agree it has an other worldly quality, which might well lend itself to a narrative in a children’s book. Thank you for your comment.