Ellis O’Connor is a landscape artist working from her studio on North Uist. Since graduating from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in 2015, Ellis has undertaken numerous residency programmes, including ones in Iceland and Norway. In 2016, as part of the annual Arctic Circle Residency she was one of a group of artists who sailed around the Svalbard Archipelago in the High Arctic making work about the landscape and environment.
The dynamic energy to be seen in Ellis’s paintings is her response to observed changes in the landscape; ‘the movement and rhythms of the sea and the land … the merging of sea with air, advancing rain and mist, ever changing light – elements that seem to be about something intangible.’
In order to immerse herself in her environment, Ellis makes much of her artwork on site where extreme weather and the elements find their way into her pieces. She describes the process of working outdoors in wild weather as almost ‘performative’. When outdoors she mainly uses water-based materials such as inks, combined with charcoal, conté and lots of rain!
‘I’m drawn to extremes, places that are raw, where the elements are unforgiving. It feels real to me and I’m fascinated by untamed lands and how they make me feel alive. Being in nature gives me perspective and it is this feeling of awe, and my own experience (of being) immersed in a wild place that I aim to put across to the viewer, so they too can feel the sheer significance of the landscape.’
The new series of paintings made for this solo exhibition are based on Ellis’s direct surroundings in the Outer Hebrides and the way in which the elements, the atmosphere and the landscape all merge together to create a unique inspiration for the work whilst providing Ellis the perfect place in which to capture the movement and vibrancy of the landscape to put across to others.
Ellis is a Visit Scotland Ambassador, with a collection of inspiring social media pages! Have a look at her instagram page here.