Large interior painting with red and orange colours called Summer Evening, Vence by John O'Grady
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:

Detail with open window from Summer Evening, Vence by John O'Grady

It is early evening and time for the apéritif, a cooling pastis with local olives:

Detail of table at Aperitif time from Summer Evening, Vence by John O'Grady

The cat is trying to find the coolest place in the shade:

Detail of Cat from Summer Evening, Vence by John O'Grady

Some of the decorative details that run through the painting:

Decorative patters from Summer Evening, Vence by John O'Grady

What do you think about this artwork? I’d love to read your comment.