Why I Create
Having spent most childhood holidays and weekends up hills or camping in tents along Scotland's north west coast, I suppose it was inevitable that nature would play an incredibly influential role in my life. Spending time immersed in nature is what connects me to myself, to the world and others in it, and is where I believe a childhood sense of exploration, joy, care and wonder can be found, no matter a persons age.
While studying at design school, I discovered abstract painting and instantly fell in love with how the process of painting made me feel. In it, I saw it's potential to communicate the experience of play, wonder and joy with others, and tie all that I love most together: being outside, painting, and sharing and encouraging others to find a space for exploration in their everyday too.
Through painting, I explore human connections to natural places, and the effects and importance of these environments on our daily lives and wellbeing. I see my paintings as a way to map memories and share experiences of adventures outdoors, both large and small. Within landscape, I am inspired by sounds, and often take field recordings as I walk or sketch, to draw inspiration from the audio of these environments. Each painting is a reaction to the sounds, visuals and emotions experienced in our natural spaces, and are represented through colours, marks, textures and shapes to capture a sense of place.
Coming from a musical background playing traditional music, rhythm, improvisation, musicality and harmony are important considerations in my practice. I often collaborate with musicians and composers to explore this audio-visual conversation. Patterns from the landscape, walking, music or field recordings are heard, felt or seen and feature through work as textures, repeating marks, shapes and motifs.
My work is influenced by my background in screen printed textiles and surface design, a love for folk art, and my connections to nature. A firm believer in the importance of accessibility across art and access to the outdoors, I hope my work through painting, community arts, teaching and illustration encourages more ways of noticing, celebrating and protecting our natural spaces.
I hold a BA with Honours from Edinburgh College of Art in Screen Printed Textiles and Surface Pattern Design.
Work is held in public and private collections worldwide, and exhibited in galleries across Europe. I frequently create bespoke artworks commissioned for private and public spaces and projects.
Orla's work looks to connect people to nature: Inspired by the importance of creative play, exploration and positivity that both her artistic & design process and being in the outdoors share.
I am a freelance designer, collaborating with brands, organisations and individuals to tell meaningful stories that make a difference.
With a personal interest in teaching and facilitation, I love using design and illustration for educational contexts that bring people and place closer together. You'll find me working on:
Print & Pattern Design
Live / graphic scribing - in person & online
Map Design & Wayfinding
Public Art Installation
Teaching & Course Design