Ellis O’Connor

About me

I am a Contemporary Landscape Artist from Scotland working in the medium of painting using mixed materials and various tools to create evocative and experimental interpretations of the environment around me..I studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in Dundee graduating in 2014 with a master’s degree in Fine Art & Humanities.

Since graduating I have worked in many artist in residence programmes – from living in the far north of Iceland to run community engaged art workshops, to having a studio in a lighthouse in Shetland. And more recently I was one of 10 artists worldwide chosen to sail around the Archipelago of Svalbard in the High Arctic on a research led residency with a group of artists and scientists.

My paintings are my interpretation of not what I see outside but what I feel – the energy, the atmosphere, the fleeting moments of elemental weather passing by; all responses to observations through the medium of paint in an expressive and gestural way. This overall connects the viewer to the power and emotion of the land around us.

The dynamic energy to be seen in my paintings are my response to observed changes in the landscape.

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. I describe the process of working outdoors in wild weather as almost ‘performative’. Some of the pieces made on paper on site become the basis for larger works on canvas painted back in the studio. Here, I usually work with oil paint, building up the surfaces using natural substances like sand and dried seaweed.

I exhibit my work widely and regularly in Scotland and further afield, I’m represented by galleries throughout the country and have been working as a full-time artist for more than 7 years.

I live and work from my home studio on the Isle of Skye where I draws direct inspiration from the environment around me.

By producing my art work I hope it will give people a chance to connect with that landscape and respect the nature that is so wild around us, to then cultivate a deeper understanding and inspire others to make a difference.

Ellis is the tutor for our new painting retreat on the Knoydart peninsula in August 2024 (details will be available soon).


Mixed medium techniques in landscape art using acrylics, oils, pastels and oil pastels
Drawing, alternative mark making methods using various tools
Observational drawing

Things I love

I love being outdoors, hiking, finding inspiration in the landscape, swimming in the sea, visiting galleries when I’m on the mainland and travelling! I’m also 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 through my work, so they too can feel the sheer significance of the landscape.

In this short video Ellis talks about how she sees art as a way of connecting people to nature and the effects of climate change:


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.


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