The Silver Thread IV, ©John O’Grady
12″ x 12″ oil on panel, requires framing.
Not for Sale
I wanted to flood this painting with filtered rays as they pass through clouds and capture the quality of light bouncing off water you might see on the west coast of Ireland.
What initially started as a vague idea ended up with a painting about shapes and how they fit onto a square flat surface.
The clouds, when I started the painting, were much bigger. Billowing up into the sky, they filled most of the upper two thirds of the painting.
As the work progressed, I gradually reduced their shapes to allow more space and light to flow through the piece and give it space to breathe.
The smallest change to a shape can throw a painting’s balance out. Here, each small change affected the whole and had to be compensated for.
This exercise was absolutely fascinating. It ended, I hope, with a balanced piece that still has movement and retained a life force within it that evokes the magical atmosphere you might see of an evening when looking onto one of the many islets dotted along the western shoreline…
What do you think?
John, this is gorgeous in and of itself — especially the way the light limns the clouds — but your commentary got me thinking about positive and negative shapes in the piece, especially in the sky, and how challenging it might be in that context to create harmony and balance. Thank you for initiating that little mind shift and helping me to appreciate this painting on a different level. The palette is beautifully balanced as well, particularly the violets in the sky that are mirrored on the land against the warmer reds and oranges, and even the surprising and lovely strip of yellow-green earth on the left. And again there’s a view of the hazy distance, a place we can’t quite know from here. Makes me long even more to take in Ireland’s western shoreline “of an evening.” But how lovely to savor your interpretation of it.
Thank you for your thoughtful perceptions on the painting. Yes that ‘balancing and harmony in negative space’ that you mention was an interesting and absorbing exercise, moving shapes around until it seemed to work. I spent a couple of hours during the week cloudgazing and I think it found its way into this piece.
The colors in the new photo are much different — a much calmer palette! Altogether much cooler. The sky and land seem more of a piece, and the sky takes my attention. The island in the distance appears almost to be floating, like an apparition. The cloud forms become more apparent, too. So interesting!
Thanks for commenting again Jo, I thought it might be of interest to point out the new photo as it is, as you have stated much different. That coolness adds to a calmer feel I think and yes the ‘floating Island’ apparition like.
So many wonderful elements in this John and very much in the Take me to the Island theme which I love. The strength in this one for me are those clouds – you really can paint clouds well and here you have excelled; it is right that you have entitled it ‘Silver Thread’. You have balanced the colours in such a fascinating way and once again I feel that I am on the shore looking out into and up beyond the clouds.
Thank you very much for your thoughtful comment. Yes I agree this really is all about the clouds and the light in the sky filtering through them, which gives the painting a certain atmosphere. As you mentioned the painting ended up as a blend between ‘Take me to the Island’ and the ‘Silver Thread’ series.