Mountains are in Ulla Farrelly’s blood. The visual artist is a former ski instructor, and avid backcountry hiker, and a keen observer. Farrelly’s Mountain Mythology series, which honours mountains and valleys in the Kootenays and Rocky Mountains, is now on display at the Nelson Public Library.
Farrelly works en plein air — painting outdoors — in an effort to capture the essence of her subjects. She began her artistic exploration of the mountain landscape with pointillist renderings. “Sitting in the landscape, breathing the air, watching the changing clouds and light reveal different aspects of the landscape made me pay attention while drawing down the mountain one point at a time,” she says. From there, Farrelly created high contrast black and white drawings, making the landscape come alive in shifting line and mass.
Most recently her explorations have taken her into watercolour for its soft, dreamlike quality. “I took a number of veil painting workshops with art therapist Gordon Skuse in Nelson in the 1990s, and through creative exploration in these workshops I discovered a deeper understanding of myself, the element of water and the mysteries of colour,” Farrelly explains.
This influence is evident in the sensitive rendering of line, light, and shadow within a pastel palette. A graduate of Kootenay School of the Arts in Mixed Media and Metal, Farrelly has also worked in a variety of media including printmaking, mixed media, jewelry and bronze, video, and photography.
The Library exhibition, which also includes laser cut landscape interpretations in wood, runs through July and August.