• Orla Stevens

Atmosphere of Orkney


The imbalance of rocks underfoot, listening to sea-spray splatter against cliffs, watching clouds dance and reform. I’m fascinated by these qualities, and the potential they offer for reconnecting with ourselves and the world around us.


Walking along coasts, scrambling over slopes; a time for play and exploration. Much needed moments and places that stay with us, even if we only visited briefly.



Cliffs at Yesnaby



I’ve been gathering up these important qualities within sketchbooks on site, translating my latest trips back in the studio resulting in this new series of paintings. Drawn to rougher, more gestural marks, using colour for emotion and expression to paint the experience of landscape, central to my work.



Plein-air Sketchbook of Hoy, from Stromness



I’m delighted to be able to share with you a new collection of original paintings on paper, inspired by my two trips to the Orkney Islands this year. These pieces will be available at the end of October.

These pieces draw a focus on the atmosphere and light experienced travelling around mainland Orkney and further north, to Rousay, Westray and Papay. Intrigued by the layering and uncovering of the abundant archeological sites, these pieces have been built up and pulled back through many iterations, piling colour and texture to echo the elements; My own ode to discovery and reconnection.



Detail of 'Sourin'



The closeness to the past, mixed with the rawness of the landscape reminds me of how much unknown there really is - about our own history - how small our experience is, against the scale of the crashing of a wave, or a gust of wind. I hope these pieces capture Orkney’s uncontrollable weather, pulling you through your own memories of edge-lands and sea-scapes. To somewhere that too brings perspective, and a reminder to enjoy the beauty and life lessons that can be learnt from the landscapes around us.



Late winter sun, Yesnaby looking out to Hoy





The new paintings on paper will be available mounted or unmounted, unframed via the website shop at the end of October.



A selection of the new pieces available.