Peak-Time, ©John O’Grady 2015
Oil on deep edged canvas, 16″ x 16″ x 1.75″, ready to hang
Leonardo da Vinci once described clouds as “bodies without surface”.
Cumulus clouds have a nebulous quality and yet at the same time, they are Sculptural, they move gracefully upward and make their way across the sky slowly.
They are heavy with moisture but their movement and transparent qualities belie their weight.
How can this be captured in paint?
Watercolour lends itself to the ephemeral nature of clouds and many painters such as Turner have used this medium successfully.
In oil paint, it’s a little bit different due to its substantial nature that combine texture and opacity but oils can have a delicacy if used in the form of glazes.
A glaze is created with a small amount of transparent oil paint suspended in a medium of Dammar varnish, thickened linseed oil and gum turpentine. This is then applied thinly to give the delicacy of a fine veil placed over the previous paint.
The colour is built up one layer at a time and once dry, it shifts and deepens slightly. It’s like magic.
In this piece, I wanted the clouds to appear to glow internally as they catch the last light of the day coming from the right.
While painting, I kept thinking how we look at clouds that constantly change shape and lack solidity while at the same time, they are so substantial that when we see these large masses, we can be humbled and, awed, see our relationship with the world in a new light.
I would love to hear what you think.
Gorgeous, John. The texture and variations of color are amazing. Beautifully captured with luscious depth. I appreciate your explanation of technique, but I still don’t know how you do it!! LOL!!! Well done, indeed!!
Thank you very much, I am glad you like it, hopefully I didn’t sound too techie! 🙂
I especially like the subtle way you handled those glowing lights on the ground. It would have been so easy to overdo it. For me, they absolutely make the painting.
Thank you for your comment. I had a few goes at getting those lights to work with the mood of the piece as you said not too strong was the key with the light diffused slightly. Glad they worked for you.
This is ethereal and beautiful, John. These clouds are lit from within. I find it interesting that you observe in applying glazes to simulate the ephemeral quality of the clouds that the pigments themselves shift and deepen on the canvas. What a mysterious world, and a mysterious expression of it..
The mysterious world of glazing in oils is work in progress but I am enjoying the results, I used to work in this way in acrylics glazes when doing abstract monochrome pieces. It’s that light from within that you mention that I was trying for. Thank you for your comment.
The cloud does seem to glow John; the colour and light is just beautiful. I feel a sense of the cloud rising upwards and yet it remains connected with the earth by a veil of mists. We humans, represented by tiny lights below, carry on with our lives whilst the drama of nature unfolds above our heads. Superb.
Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Your words really underline what the piece explores. The idea of scale permanence and impermanence. interconnectedness of material immaterial.