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Art at a time of uncertainty. Ellis O'Conner

I’m a Contemporary Landscape Artist living on the Outer Hebridean Island of North Uist working in the field of painting and drawing. The energy to be seen in my paintings are my 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 myself in the environment, I make much of the artwork on site where extreme weather and the elements find their way into the pieces. My process of working outdoors in wild weather is significant part of my practise and development as an artist.

Back in February just before lockdown commenced, I was in the middle of finishing off a large amount of paintings for two exhibitions that were due to be opening in March, one in Edinburgh, one in Ireland. I had finished all of the work and sent them to the galleries just in time for lockdown to commence and have both of my shows postponed until later on in the year. I remember at the time worrying about how I was going to have the motivation to keep creating due to cancellations and all of the uncertainties, however art ended up being my saviour and a significant outlet so I was able to stay sane throughout the period of social distancing!

I decided early on in lockdown to make work for no other reason than just to focus and help me navigate through the period of fear and uncertainty that we all felt at the time. I was able to still work from my studio as it’s my own independent space and so the act of going to the studio, delving into my work and developing my painting over the course of the past few months has proven to be hugely helpful and has allowed me the time and space to slow down, create my paintings without any looming deadlines (for once!) and keep my art as a constant when everything else seemed to be in a period of turmoil and constant change.

I’ve realised how fortunate I am to be an artist and have a medium that gives me such perspective and allows the act of being mindful and providing me with the outlet that is so needed when all else is in a state of flux. I have just opened my studio/ gallery back up to the public and am now getting my schedule together for the rest of the year where the galleries I normally show with have opened again. I’ll always be grateful of having my art at a time when I needed it the most.

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Arial, gazing through clouds at sculpted land and sea. Awesome

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