Take me to the Island II, ©John O’Grady, 2013
Mixed Media on Panel, 12″x 16″
This painting and I went through a whole lot of trials and tribulations.
It started life as an acrylic painting of a seascape, in fact the paint above the horizon line is still acrylic.
I thought I had finished it. But the following day, as I came into the studio,
we looked at each other and we fell out. We didn’t speak for weeks.
We managed to make up but fell out again, repeating this tango as is often the case.
Finally, we found a way to communicate. The first saving grace was to work in oils over the acrylic paint.
There is something about oil paint texture, it has an organic feel that freed me and allowed me to find my way
back into the piece.
I often start a painting using Golden fluid acrylics as an underpainting layer as they behave like watercolour and can create exciting accidents and bleeds. Working with oils on top brings another dimension.
The second saving grace was I remembered one of my abstract seascapes you can see below ‘Light over the Sea’, a simplified painting that focuses on the play of light and dark on water. It reminded me the ‘keep it simple’ moment had arrived.
Here is the abstract piece that helped us make up!
Light over the Sea, ©John O’Grady
Acrylic on Canvas
I’d love to hear what you think.
I don’t know if it is the underpainting you mentioned that has created the glow of light on the water but it is very effective. I have seen a ‘white’ horizon like this before when looking out to sea and you have captured it beautifully. In addition, the colour and shadows on the land all just works well together. Many congratulations.
I know what you mean about the white light on the horizon Chris, it is like it is like a laser in intensity, that was my favourite part of the painting, thankyou
This painting is quiet and invites reflection. I’m transported there on top on the hill, contemplating the changing colours and movements of the sea, the way light plays with water even though the threatening clouds that create the beautiful patchwork on its surface suggest I can’t stay there too long. I love it.
Thanks Nath for you really thoughtful comment
I love seascaps, boat pictures, lighthouses etc….so this picture I especially like and your story about its creation, and the things you explained about the paints….well done John.
Thanks for your lovely comment Julia, yes I agree the sea has a special light and I got there in the end with the painting
I like the way you describe the thought processes to get the effect you want. I feel wanting somehow in not being able to take such a a wonderful, almost poetic approach to the work I do. Spending all my days in a commercial environment, and now that I am in the twilight zone of life and working to please myself I still find it difficult to work from the same standpoint as yourself. It’s almost as if I still need a specific brief to work to. I have a love hate relationship with commissions and when I do take one on, it is difficult for me not to resort to detail instead of allowing the looseness or freedom, which I admire in your work, to come through. I do hope all this makes sense.
Thank you Walter for taking the time to comment. I know what you mean looseness, getting tighter can be hard to fight against in painting. I am no expert but there are stratagies to adopt that reduce the chances of that happening. Keep painting away Walter it is such a rewarding thing to do. I have seen some of the great work you have made so try not to be to hard on yourself.
I am intrigued by the horizon line in ‘take me to the island’, and would love to know if the island in the painting is of a real island, and if so, which?. I am a bit of a nut about islands (among other things!).
I love that you are sharing the process with us here in your blog. I often take photos of my work as I go, and blather on on facebook, but perhaps a blog is a better way to go
Thanks very much John
PS have started on a wordpress blog after seeing your blog here! Thanks again, Liz
That is great that you have started a blog and the best of luck with it. The island in “Take me to the Island” is a real Island to me, it may be not topographically correct, but it is an amalgam of all the times I have looked at the Islands of our coast and the feelings I have felt. I never work “Plein air” I always work from memory as that is where the potential for unleashing powerful emotions are for me.
The technical questions re: process I have responded to in a private email
best wishes John
It feels to me like it might be Lambay Island – and it reminds me of an afternoon on Howth head. Beautiful Painting, John. e
Thanks a lot Eoin, I don’t know where I dredged it up from Eoin I think it’s more of a feeling about islands, they are special places, don’t you think?