Summer Evening Vence, ©John O’Grady
23.5″ x 31.5″ x 1.5″ acrylic on canvas, ready to hang
$1710 (approx. €1563, £1379) with free shipping
We’re all spending a lot of time indoors (and keeping well I hope). So it got me thinking of how painters have portrayed interiors, particularly when looking from the inside out.
I started working on some new paintings, all to do with interiors, atmosphere, and the capturing of a fleeting moment in time. They are all worked from memory. And here is the first of two I completed in the last few days.
This large piece is of a time, over 10 years ago, when I lived in Vence, up in the hills overlooking the Mediterranean. It’s where Chagall and Matisse lived, after moving from Nice during the war years.
In Vence’s old town, there was a small art shop I used to buy my paints from. The owner told me Matisse and Chagall went there too.
I adore Matisse’s interiors and this painting pays him a little homage. In “Notes of a Painter” (1908), he said:
“Composition is the art of arranging in a decorative manner the diverse elements at the painter’s command to express his feelings.”
Seeking to capture the heat of those summer evenings but also make the painting decorative, I tried to find a balance between depth and flatness.
The patterned surfaces hold the objects and figures in space.
A few details of the painting
The only way out of the room and the heat is through the French window, ajar, that allows us to look past the cypress towards a flash of light blue and the distant sea:
It is early evening and time for the apéritif, a cooling pastis with local olives:
The cat is trying to find the coolest place in the shade:
Some of the decorative details that run through the painting:
What do you think about this artwork? I’d love to read your comment.
This painting is suffused with atmosphere, John. I can feel the temperature, the time of day, the mood. And I would love to be in that room, in that moment, enjoying the pastis and olives. The nod to Matisse is beautifully done, a reference and homage and not a mere copying of style. The play on perspective and POV (especially the table, with its contents on view, the seated couple and the empty chair) makes me feel like an observer longing to participate. The decorative details and beautiful relationships of color have a muted joy about them; the cool blue horizon line beckons us (for a future day). Having been confined, like most of us are, for two months now, I feel peaceful and hopeful in this warm, alive, and inviting interior. Thank you, John.
Thank you for your thoughts on the painting, which very much resonate with my own feelings, particularly the blue horizon beckoning us. I’m glad you picked up on the decorative qualities too, it was this part of the painting which I enjoyed making the most and found the most rewarding. It’s lovely to hear that it makes you feel peaceful and hopeful.
Wow! This one is a surprise – and absolutely stunning. I love everything about it.
Thanks very much Nick, glad to hear it came as a pleasant surprise.
Hello John, my jaw dropped when I saw this painting; I am so used to you taking me out into the landscape! You have created a touching domestic scene of warm contentment in this restful interior . The room feels safe and enclosed and yet, as in a renaissance painting, we are given the gift of a view of the natural world through the open window. This is enticing of course and yet I am satisfied to stay within the room and enjoy the calm mood as the end of a hot sunny day approaches. The overall effect seems to be beautifully created from colour and perspective, with shadows and sun spots. I feel emotion within the painting, suffused with a strong sense of nostalgia and exemplified by the oranges and browns. The patch of rich gold (highlighted on the floor) shimmers and is picked up delicately in the mirror which adds interest and balance to the overall sense of space and time. There is a finely drawn stillness to the evening, encapsulated by the open curtains. The final finishing touch of perfection is the cat stretched out and contented too. This painting would give any home a glow of happiness.
Hello Chris, yes it’s a little bit different alright, for the times that are in it. Thank you for your insights and feelings on the painting. I thought you might pick up on the cat, exiting stage left. The patch of rich gold you mention Chris is a part of the painting I was very happy with its decorative qualities and as you say it is picked up once again in the mirror on the wall, which brings us back into the room once more