Take Me to the Island IX, ©John O’Grady
10″ x 10″ oil and wax on panel, requires framing.
This painting is the ninth in the ‘Take Me to the Island’ series but could also be seen as a continuation of the previous painting depicting one of the many islets that lie along the coast line all around Ireland.
As an exploration of light at dusk, this piece has the feel of the west coast when the sun is falling and the light and haze bounce off the sea like a mirror.
Such blinding light shifts and morphs as the clouds filter the light from the sun, silhouetting the clouds like floating sculptures drifting across the sky. The glare changes the light falling on the island. The right hand side has almost disappeared and the left is in shadow against the horizon line; in a few seconds the light will shift again, no less wondrous and captivating.
Things appearing and disappearing are a theme I seem to return to. How we perceive through the lens of atmosphere is of constant interest.
The muted violet of the clouds is a counterpoint to the golden-green light in the background.
In the foreground, I have started using a cold wax medium which is like an encaustic type process but without having to use heat to melt the wax.
The cold wax, a blend of melted beeswax, Dammar varnish and refined turpentine, remains in a putty like state. I mix it with oil paint and found it great when used with a hog’s hair brush and a knife: the paint once applied leaves marks and texture perfect for creating the foreground of rocky shoreline.
I look forward to reading your comment.
This has a lovely sense of atmosphere. Great work!
Thank you Cynthia, glad to hear you like it. Yes it was all about atmosphere that magical quality of light and quietness
I am impressed with how expressive you can be using a limited palette. The colors convey so well the time of day, as the eye perceives everything as becoming more monochromatic as the light is fading. Having taken an encaustic workshop years ago, I am intrigued by the wax method you describe; it must be very pleasing to work with such a textural medium, and you use it very effectively here. Love the greenish yellow glow, the reflected light, and the vague, shifting forms in the distance. One gets the sense that the atmosphere is changing moment to moment, and that the dark will overtake it all soon.
Thank you for your thoughtful comment on the painting. The cold wax medium is something i have wanted too try out. Like yourself I used encaustic many years ago at art college and enjoyed it. This method is a little easier to be mobile with. and yes the textural quality is something i am quite excited about using in the future and building up different coloured layers.
The light is exquisite in this painting – so subtle, so beautiful. Shades of blue highlighted with yellow capture the transience of nature – we know it will change and that the water, clouds and light are constantly shifting; yet here is that moment for us to ‘keep’. What a gift, well done John.
Thank you very much for your comment. it meant a lot to me, as the ‘exquisite light’ you mentioned and its counterpoint to the clouds is really at the source of this painting. Refining and refining that relationship until the muted blues balanced with the yellowish green light filling the sky.