The Emotion of Colour, ©John O’Grady
3 paintings 6″ x 6″ x 1.25″, oil on beech panel, ready to hang
The paintings I make are nearly all landscape-based and painted from memory. Sometimes, some pieces evolve from a different starting point, even though they finish up as a feeling of the land.
Over a month ago, Howard Hodgkin, the great British painter of memory and of sumptuous colour passed away.
He was an artist I looked at often and felt a deep and lasting affinity with. On hearing the news, feeling emotional, not sad, I recalled some of the many wonderful paintings I had seen over the years and the power they contained within.
On the day of his death, you could find me in my studio as usual.
It’s good to work when emotions are strong. By harnessing emotions and feelings, something tangible is made.
Three beech panels prepared months ago were sitting on the shelf behind me, awaiting the right moment to be transformed.
I grabbed one and with a large brush created this first piece:
Although not conscious of doing it, I was painting my own little tribute to Howard. By not thinking too much and trusting in the feeling, No. 1 arrived quickly followed by two and three.
Then, I placed them on the shelf turned away from my sight and returned to them three weeks later.
On reviewing them, No. 1 felt right.
When looking at No.2 and 3, the feeling had changed. Now it was more about making choices about colour and movement, moving from light into dark.
On the second painting, working with oil sticks to create movement and texture resulted in this:
When I placed 1 and 2 together, I knew that the third painting had to be placed in the centre.
I wanted the three pieces to work with each other and suggest the passage of time. That’s how the third painting ended up cushioning the other two pieces:
Here is a link to a video of Howard Hodgkin’s work:
I’d love to hear what you think.
Thank you John, for the beauty and ‘Emotion of Colour’ this evening. A wonderful moving t ribute. RIP H.H.
Thank you Christine, you are very welcome, he was a great painter, who trod his own path.
John, there is something very compelling about the looseness, power, and immediacy of the strokes. (No. 1 particularly is a marvel of spontaneous feeling.) Such directness seems to express an essential truth, but one that cannot be articulated in words. Movement, the passage of time, color and form that change from moment to moment, these make up the experiences of our lives. Thank you for sharing these passionate pieces, as well as the video on Hodgkin. His quote about mark making really sums it up, doesn’t it?
I agree with you, No1 captured something immediate which I was very much drawn to and led into the other two pieces. Your words on the ‘passage of time’ and the ‘experiences of our lives’ is very moving and so true. Thank you very much and yes the Hodgkin quote is a beauty and as you say sums it up so well.
I agree, No1 captured something immediate which I was very much drawn to and led into the other two pieces. Your words on the ‘passage of time’ and the ‘experiences of our lives’ is very moving and so true. Thank you very much and yes the Hodgkin quote is a beauty and as you say sums it up so well.