Artist statement for Blue Hour

Blue hour is the moment of twilight when the sun is below the horizon, the remnants of its indirect light blanketing the landscape in a diffused shade of blue. For me this is when the earth appears at its most ethereal and calm, as it feels as if you could peacefully dissolve into the expansive blueness along with your surroundings. Forms loosen in the blue hour as they prepare for the full absorption of night, and the world takes on a dreamlike tinge of otherworldly mystery. Blue is a colour not to be consumed as it rarely occurs naturally in the food we eat, but it is a colour to be consumed by, as we often find a sense of tranquillity when swallowed by the wide stretches of blue that make up the ocean and the sky.

In this exhibition I’ve used oil paint and soft pastels to depict not only the landscape caught in the throes of the literal blue hour, but also moments and places that I believe possess the quality and cadence of the colour blue, regardless of whether the physical colour is present. A blue moment can be any place or occurrence that feels overwhelmingly calm, still, silent, endless, melancholic or lonely. The blueness of an hour can be derived from the serenity found in the landscape, the quietude of a building covered in dusk or the potent loneliness of an unoccupied restaurant waiting for customers.

In my oil paintings and pastel drawings of manmade and natural landscapes I blend the malleable materials until hard lines dissolve, mimicking the disintegrating effect of blue hour. I try to limit the palette to shifting tones of one colour in order to pull the viewer into the boundaries of the composition. Increasingly in my practice I feel drawn to trying to achieve a sense of calm that emanates from a painting or drawing, which I hope to find in the spatial depth and encompassing sanctuary of blueness.

Lucy O'Doherty May 2021