• By: OLM Staff

Ottawa Artist on the Rise

By Shelley Cross

Maybe it is a painting of a rosy-faced child with piercing blue eyes who captures you with her glance. Or, perhaps it is an abstract of such intense colour that you are drawn into its enduring story. These are some of the images captured by Ottawa artist Heidi Conrod. Each piece is as intricate and bold as the next. Conrod creates depth in her paintings by layering different levels of paint. The painting becomes a story and each layer of paint expresses a different emotion, a new character and a varying point of view.

Conrod’s use of colour has changed over the course of time. Her paint palette began with earth tones and has since evolved into more vibrant tones. Conrod is the first to admit that she has a certain infatuation with colour and almost never uses paint straight from its original tube. Instead, she creates her colour choices as the art comes to life. Conrod’s latest series of abstracts was inspired by biomorphic forms in nature. (Paintings referred to as “biomorphic” contain irregular abstract forms based on shapes found in nature.) She looks to the details in nature and incorporates “macroscopic and microscopic landscapes” into her work.

Blue Corset

Conrod is an award-winning artist, taking home the University of Ottawa’s Edmund and Isobel Ryan Visual Scholarship in Painting in 2012. Conrod was also awarded the University of Ottawa’s Jacqueline Fry Scholarship in 2011. She has been featured in a number of solo exhibitions in Halifax, Ottawa and Toronto. Conrod’s artistic roots can be attributed to her father who dedicated his Saturdays to his passion for creating art.  Conrod also spoke about her current inspirations, including such artists as Francis Bacon, Cecily Brown, Jean Arp, Arshile Gorky, Albert Oehlen and Gary Evans. Conrod says that she is constantly inspired by her surroundings.

Conrod recalls that when she was a child, she was very shy and often struggled to find her voice. She now feels that her art is truly the voice that she was missing. She is able to communicate through each brush stroke, every choice of colour and each finished piece of art. Every time someone relates to one of her paintings is a day that Conrod considers she has done her job well.


Abstract 3

Spring Thaw

Waggle Dance

Heidi Conrod’s work can be viewed at www.heidiconrod.com and at Wall Space Ottawa Art Gallery in Westboro.