My body of work is diverse in subject and encompasses themes of absence and omission. For example, pieces such as Rocky Mountain Landscape 2 and Dotted Pines focus on the piece of landscape hardest to see: the farthest stretch of land at the edge of the horizon line, emphasizing the abstract. On the other hand, figure-centric pieces such as Cut eliminate both the surrounding context and half the portrait itself such that the basics of identity become even harder to decipher. The pieces leave behind essential information. By limiting the scope of the image, powerful emotions – unease, anxiety, curiosity, exploration, drive – begin to shape the dialogue of my work.

While each of my pieces offers enough information to be identified as representational art, the limiting nature of the composition abstracts the subject. These images are momentary and restricted, leading to a line of questioning. What are you missing? What else was there? What has been left behind?

Watercolor contributes to the sense of scarcity in the work. The least physical of all paint media, watercolor flows on paper until it sinks and stains. There is no three-dimensional layer, just a residual wash of color left behind from the brush. This ephemeral quality supplements the line of questioning initiated by the composition, adding an emotional component to the work through the elemental qualities evoked by water.

My newest work, Landscape Ghosts, furthers themes of absence in landscape. I begin painting by laying a resist where man-made objects and structures are in the image. After painting the landscape sans human interference, the resist is scraped away, leaving only bare paper behind. The remaining ghosts then challenge us. In these bucolic views and meditative landscapes, how close can someone feel to a traditional ideal of purity in nature? The ghosts remind us of how affected the landscape has become by our own human infrastructure.

To read more about my recent series, you can read a post on The American Scholar's blog featuring American landscape artists:


Clara Nulty is a practicing artist based in Louisville, CO and showing mainly in Denver, CO. Clara was lucky enough to grow up in an unceasingly supportive family. At a young age, she found pen and paper and never looked back. Clara's father, Peter, also a watercolorist, provided at home tutelage until Clara began to earnestly pursue schooling. Dedicating herself to fine art at Hackley School in Tarrytown, New York, Clara worked her way through the AP Studio Art program.

Clara graduated Hackley with a thirst to pursue art throughout her next four years of education. At Carleton College, in Northfield, MN, Clara expanded her technique and breadth of media. Enjoying classes in printmaking, drawing, painting, and bookbinding, Clara solidified her goals to enter the art world after graduation and pursue her own practice. Clara graduated Carleton, majoring in Studio art with academic honors and distinction in her major.

Recently, Clara has participated in multiple Juried shows in galleries in Denver and New York. She works mainly in watercolor. When studio space is available, she also works in print, bookmaking, and metalsmithing. She enjoys mixing texture, color, narrative, and contemplative moments.