The Mountain Road II, ©John O’Grady 2015
Oil on canvas 7″ x 9″ x 0.75″.
A small road weaves its way through the mountains in Ireland.
This painting is about scale and how the road is dwarfed by its surroundings. It’s also about what we might see when we look up and notice the incredible light in the skies that swirl around us.
As our eye moves upward through the painting, shapes begin to dissolve. Where does land end and sky begin? Nothing is definite nor defined; the elements are in a constant flux.
After all has been diffused in the transparent light filled mist, we eventually reach the top of the painting and the sky, where we meet the solidity of the back lit glowing clouds that seem to move towards us. Yet, we know clouds are also unsubstantial and evanescent.
I’d love to hear what you think about the light in this painting.
I am intrigued by your exploration of substantial versus insubstantial — as well as the scale you’ve used here, which is another reminder of how small we are in the grand scheme of things. We go from solid foreground to dissolving mountains and mists to seemingly solid cloud forms, another illusion. The way the diagonal corners in the painting relate to each other is subtle and beautiful. (That light breaking through, just opposite the darkness on the grass. The vanishing road opposite the line of clouds.) The glowing clouds cast light and shadow on the ground beneath. I keep thinking, “everything and nothing.” Maybe I’ve been reading too much Zen lately, but you seem to have captured so much of that feeling here.
I think it is the question of not being sure of or definite about what is around me or even what I see. In ‘The clouds in the Rhone’ painting, I mentioned ‘I am never sure about things that are sure’. I am also intrigued by ideas of emptiness and form, the interconnectedness of things that are seemingly not connected. I am not too sure I was exploring these things overtly but I tend not to work with defined edges. colours tend to move gradually into the next, detail is often veiled or concealed. Maybe I have read too much Suzuki too.
Thank you for your fabulous reading of the painting.
This is one of those enticing paintings that draws you into it so that you feel inside it (if you know what I mean). It deserves to be viewed in large screen to fully appreciate its depth and beauty. I am especially drawn to the patch of broken cloud in the top right but I am always intrigued by a pathway leading to…It places us within nature and we are almost overwhelmed by its scale.
I am glad the painting takes you up to the top right where the broken cloud is. I wanted the eye to move through the piece and then have to look up. It is interesting you mention about viewing it on a large screen, as it one of those (small) pieces that when I finished I thought could really work larger. I do know what you mean about feeling inside the painting, possibly because we are blocked at every turn the only distance is through the sky holes. Thank you for your thoughtful comment Christine.