The Silver

Click the image to see it larger.

The Silver Thread, ©John O’Grady 2015
Oil on deep edged canvas 19.75″ x 19.75″ x 1.75″ / 50 cm x 50 cm x 4.75cm
It does not require framing and is ready to hang.


Have you experienced and felt moved by the magic of moonlight as it infuses billowing clouds with its silver light?

I watch the sky frequently from my studio terrace at night and feel deeply connected to these large masses folding and unfurling before my eyes as they glow in the moonlight.

Subconsciously, my cloud watching is featuring more and more in the paintings I make and is a starting point for this nocturne.

I blocked in large shapes of coolish blue over a warm red under painting. The shape and diagonal movement of the cloud just magically arrived, moving off towards the slightly greenish blue light emanating from outside of the picture top right.

When I had this part roughed in with large brushes, I continued to block in large areas of the lower part of the painting bringing the grey violet from the sky down into what I thought might be land.

Once this stage of the painting was completed, I found both good and bad parts. I loved that a fabulous amount of light was bouncing in all directions but it was too cool. By adding a warmer violet and red/browns into the distance, shapes started to emerge out of the chaos.

There is always, with this way of working, a key moment when I see some shape emerge which gives some sort of coherence to the whole painting. In this case it was the very feint outline of what looked like a distant mountain with blueish light hovering over it and reflections of light on water below.

The Silver

When I saw this, it allowed me to bring this reflective light forward, working in bands of light and dark as the cumulus cloud cast its immense shadow on water. The painting began to remind me of a wide open vista one might see in the west of Ireland. Now on a roll, the last part of the middle ground and foreground just fell into place. By adding a warm foreground well lit with directional marks it balanced the coolness of the top two thirds and the rounded forms of the cloud.

The part of the painting that I felt particularly pleased with is the hillside on the left (see below) and the arrangement of cool greens and grey violets.

The Silver

I would love to hear what you think.