The Glowing Bog II, ©John O’Grady 2014
Oil on deep edged panel 15 cm x 15 cm x 3.2 cm deep
(approx 6″x 6″ x 1.1/4″, no need to frame and ready to hang)

Some paintings flow smoothly from start to finish.

This painting had quite a journey to get to a completed stage.

On reflection, at each stage I was looking for a way into the painting, an emotional connection that would allow me to charge the painting with a part of me.

After laying down an initial wash, I started documenting the stages. This proved to be an interesting exercise as when I work on a piece it is normally not so full of twists and turns.

You can discover them below from the beginning to the end.

Painting Journey 1

Painting Journey 1

First off, I applied a wash of colour and picked out some clouds with a sponge against a dark tree line.

Painting Journey 2a

Painting Journey 2

I thought there was too much blue in the foreground of the first painting so I added in a complementary colour and a road emerged to lead the eye through the piece.

Painting Journey 3a

Painting Journey 3

In this second painting, I liked the sky and trees but the road wasn’t a flyer.

I upped the colour in the foreground and felt the tree line needed more work.


Painting Journey4a

Painting Journey 4

Big change in No. 4.

I have emerged from the lowlands and am high up in the mountains with lots of wind and clouds rushing by.


Painting Journey 5a

Painting Journey 5

A refinement from No. 4. I picked out grasses and gave them a right to left direction and added a richer colour in the distant hills.

Often when working this way, I rely on what feels right on an intuitive level even though this feeling is an amalgam of memories of landscapes and atmospheres and how colours respond to each other.

I then took a photo thinking the painting might be finished but it was back to the drawing board.

Painting Journey 6 – a side view

At stage 6, you might think that things are resolved and just need adjusting here and there but no!

There is a big change in mood and atmosphere.

The idea of keeping things open till the very end is essential.

I mentioned before that I don’t want to be precious while painting and this way of working can lead to failure or a result I’m happy with.

Let me know what you think.