Skip to content

Artist captures magical movements of Tofino and Ucluelet

Nelly Heyduck opens ‘and the ocean takes a breath’ at Henry Nolla Gallery in Tofino’s Wickaninnish Inn
Local artist Nelly Heyduck has opened a new solo exhibition in Tofino showcasing seascapes and abstract surf art. (Douglas Ludwig photo)

A local artist has immersed herself in the movements and moments of the never-motionless surroundings she loves.

Nelly Heyduck officially opened a solo exhibition entitled ‘..and the ocean takes a breath’ inside the Henry Nolla Gallery at Tofino’s Wickaninnish Inn on August 1.

Heyduck is a veteran of the local art scene, but this is her first solo show in Tofino.

She told the Westerly News that her new exhibition focuses on large pieces depicting local seascapes and abstract surf art through “very energetic” strokes.

Heyduck said she found her passion for original art rekindled during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 and that spark motivated her to get to work trying to capture moments within West Coast landscapes that can rapidly change through the seasons, or even just a day.

“I love skies, they are always changing here and the light and the sea never ever looks the same,” she said. “We have so much weather changes here in a day and the wind makes the clouds move so fast…I really wanted to show some different perspectives.”

She said focusing on movement comes naturally to her and added late summer’s fog provides breathtaking and transforming imagery as the light and colours around her ebb and flow.

“It’s more about the moment, when you stand somewhere, smelling the air and seeing these moments; having the rainforest kiss the beaches and the openness of the ocean and the ever-changing Pacific here before my door,” she said. I find that there’s always a special mood I’m in that I’m really trying to capture in these paintings.”

She added her work is an homage to her love for her home, which she and her husband Jens fell head over heels with the moment they arrived during what was supposed to be a vacation 13 years ago.

Heyduck explained that she and Jens were living in Germany and decided to spend a year travelling “before we get too serious about life at the end of our twenties,” and traveled to the West Coast as part of their journey after a friend recommended they visit.

“We came and never left…It felt like home from the first moment” she said. “We went to Ucluelet and we recognized it was a special place. We really literally fell in love with Ucluelet and the surroundings and decided to stay for the summer, but then we were so connected with some people from our local church and the local community, so we did the jump…It was not so easy at first, but it was definitely worth it.”

She added that the constant circulation of travellers to the region means she never feels disconnected from the world despite living “at the end of the road.”

“I love that we are a destination for all the visitors. It’s a very specific atmosphere we have. It’s always changing, it’s very seasonal and it brings in international visitors and this makes it so interesting for me,” she said. “It really brings in a lot of movement and I’ve met so many interesting people here on the Coast…The world is coming to us and I still feel connected with the international visitors, but I’m more close to nature here. I’m amazed by the openness and especially the ever changing surroundings here. And the air, it’s a nice special air here.”

She added the couple has welcomed two children since their arrival and “wouldn’t change a thing.”

“We do a couple of things, like everyone probably, to get by, but we love it. We feel really free and open here and as artists we feel it’s really a spot you can really try things out,” she said. “As an artist and designer, there’s so much inspiration here, but also I have a kind of quietness that I can really focus on things.”

Heyduck’s ‘..and the ocean takes a breath’ exhibition will run until October and is open everyday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ MORE: New gallery promises engaging experience in Tofino

READ MORE: Ucluelet loses one of town’s oldest art galleries

READ MORE: Ucluelet artists launch pop-up art exhibition

Andrew Bailey

About the Author: Andrew Bailey

I arrived at the Westerly News as a reporter and photographer in January 2012.
Read more