The Spirit of Water VIII, ©John O’Grady (Click on the image for a better view)
31.5” x 31.5” x 1.75” acrylic on canvas, ready to hang
This piece fits within the ‘Spirit of Water’ series of paintings inspired by the experience of light shifting on the West coast of Ireland when Atlantic weather fronts move inland.
It’s a larger painting though, and movement and mark makings matter when I seek to express energy and of course contrasts of light and dark.
Standing at the edge of the ocean, the air is filled with moisture. A golden light on the horizon sweeps across the land while a slow veil of rain approaches. Already, headlands in the distance are starting to disappear.
I wanted to bring the senses into play through paint. To feel the moisture on our faces; smell and taste the salty air; hear the crashing water on the distant rocks and see the glowing light filtering through the veil of rain.
In Simon Scharma’s book ‘Landscape and Memory’ he says:
“Before it can ever be a repose for the senses, landscape is a work of the mind.
Its scenery is built as much from strata of memory as from layers of rock.”
I think this is particularly true of the Spirit of Water paintings. The re-connection is formed through the physical and emotional rush of standing before nature.
When all our senses are engaged in that experience, it stays with us, always. And a painting is a record of that memory.
Can you relate to this?
I’d love to hear what you think.
Hello John, you have created a wonderful painting and there are many aspects that delight me when I look at it carefully. The overall effect is truly sublime and what you have achieved does indeed engage all of my senses. The quote from Simon Schama gave me much to think about and it is true that some of my strongest memories of landscape recall all of my senses; the sound of wind blowing through grasses and trees, the feel and sound of bog underfoot, the tangy smell of sea salt and the sensation of spray of my face. It is a beautifully balanced painting which pleases me greatly. I am struck but the sense of movement in it – the sea lapping and crashing onto shore, the soft mist descending, the veil of rain moving steadily across the sky. The contrast of light is wonderful as it plays on the water and filters through the clouds and that burst of lemon sunlight is a joyous reminder of the the glory of nature.
Thank you for your wonderful comment and insights on the painting. It’s great to hear that the painting evokes some of those responses from you. Yes the Schama quote is a good one and made me think too