The Stormy Sky, ©John O’Grady, 2013
Oil on Panel, 8″x 8″
I have been building up quite a few paintings over the last 10 days or so, 12 in total all at
different stages of completion.
They are lined up against a wall in my studio. I move from piece to piece, add a touch here or there,
or even scrape off the paint completely.
I’m trying to come up with an approach that keeps the painting fresh: I spend a small amount of time on each work and
most importantly, keep the spontaneity and guard against being precious for fear of spoiling something.
The happy accident is the painter’s friend.
‘Stormy’ sky is the first completed piece of work in this series. I like the result.
The painting has mood and movement, plays of colours and light that make for an interesting viewing.
What do you think?
This is lovely; the touches of red in the earthy foreground, those racing clouds and wonderful light in the sky. I look forward to the others in the series!
Thank you Chris, I am hoping to get the other 11 finished at some point
Yes John, there’s a wonderful light in the sky. You can almost see the clouds move!
Thanks Eoin, it was a happy accident with the sky.
The dramatic illumination is beautiful! I also like lush and fresh colour of this painting.
Thank you Маргарита for your comment the colour is very important in this piece. I am glad you enjoyed looking at my work
Wow…….feels like the clouds are ready to let go of their loads….just like what has happened here…, wonderful picture John!!!!
Thank you Julia, sorry you to hear you have the deluge there!
Hi John – I have been having a good look at your technique (hope you don’t mind I am always trying to learn!). You do not have many obvious brush strokes that I can see on my monitor. Is this effect achieved by scrubbing the paint in with a dry brush? Also I note this one is done on a panel. When I have tried using that type of support the gesso priming brush strokes always show through and do not flatter the end result. Correct me if I am wrong but your priming brush strokes have been made vertically for the most part and read like rain falling from the clouds. Is this one of the “happy accidents” or as is more likely skillfully premeditated by the artist?
Thank you for your questions and interest in my work. I am using brushes less and less to try and capture a sky as I find that I end up fiddling too much. if I do use a brush I try to go as large as possible and stand as far back as possible making large marks initially. For the most part I use a bit of rag rolled up into a small ball which I then dab into the oil paint/s and then push,drag, prod, scratch in various directions to find an opening ( no pun intended) in the sky I have in mind. I love this way of working because I don’t know what might come out. Half the time failure, but that’s okay, because you might hit upon an exciting opening that could lead anywhere. I am trying to connect what I feel about a place and or time with the act of painting if that makes sense. Hopefully the work has an essence of that emotion that the viewer might feel as well. The boards I work on are hardboard which I prime myself, depending on what I have in mind or how I am feeling. I add two coats of primer/gesso rub with fine sandpaper and then a final coat, which I again sand down till smooth or leave with brush marks in. The quieter pieces tend to be smooth, whilst the pieces with more movement have some marks in them, as the brushmarks sometimes give me an opening in the painting, such as directional movement or as you mentioned rain. The brushmarks in this piece were used to give some feeling of downward movement in the sky, not at all premeditated as I try and use as much as possible what I feel and see there and then in mark making. I also wanted to use the dark foreboding cloud centre stage ironically a degree of lightness as if gracefully floating over the field, so I softened the edges with my magic rag and a large round sot brush, so hopefully a variety of marks and textures give a sense of drama. This is not at all prescriptive Nigel, particularly for myself.
Please let me know if you have any further questions or precisions over the points I have made as it might read a bit like a rambling stream of conciousness
John thanks for your detailed reply. It is great hearing how other people work. Your reply could have been a lesson on its own for your blog!
My own experiments with looking for happy accidents are all too fleeting. I think I have made a great breakthrough and can see lots of interesting things happening in the painting only to come back a few hours later for them all to have disappeared. And I am not using LSD! Come to think about it that might help!
There is a strong connection between the opium den and the artists studio, now we know why 😉