Elizabeth Sullivan Bio and Artist's Statement
Elizabeth Sullivan has been drawing and painting since childhood. She holds a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Texas at Austin.
She grew up around horses, and worked on an Arabian horse ranch in Texas. Horses are a main subject of Elizabeth's art and have always been a part of her life.
"I like to paint graceful and powerful motion," she says, "and horses provide a beautiful subject." Birds, fish and other wildlife also appear in her art.
She started doing art shows in 2001, and plans to continue, as well as produce works for galleries, and show her work as visiting artist at Bass Pro Wildlife Art Gallery in Springfield, Missouri. Her unique and original style caught the eye of several manufacturers and has now been licensed to companies who have produced area rugs, posters, greeting cards, and other products with her art. Her murals, on barns in Texas and Missouri, have been published in books.
Elizabeth currently lives and paints in Elgin, Texas. Often you will find her in various US cities at art shows, sometimes with her brothers and fellow artists, Michael Sullivan of Austin, Texas and Patrick Sullivan of Kyle, Texas.
I enjoy painting motion. Horses and other wildlife are a graceful subject for motion, so I paint horses and wildlife. These subjects come easy for me as I have spent a great deal of my life around horses and other animals.
I paint for people. Art is communication. The viewer must understand what I try to communicate and be able to contribute to the artwork himself; otherwise, it is not a work of art. I am genuinely thrilled that so many people have understood my art and feel the same way I do about wild animals.
I started painting with watercolors because the nature of the paint contributes to the subjects I am painting. The essence of watercolor is water. Water flows. Letting it flow contributes to the motion of the painting. I try to pick transparent colors and use them as transparent colors in layers to increase brightness of the paintings. Often I let the background show through the subject being painted as if it is painted on stone or a cave wall. Rock art and cave paintings are one source of inspiration for me, as well as oriental art executed quickly and precisely. Sometimes I saw it took me twenty minutes and forty years to execute a painting - forty years of practice to be able to execute it in twenty minutes. One has to paint quickly with watercolors or lose the flowy nature of the paint, because it dries fast. On the other hand, some of my paintings take hundreds of hours to fill in details. The viewer does not see the forty years of practice paintings. I use a myriad of watercolor techniques on various papers. I use Arches watercolor paper, as well as 5 different kinds of oriental rice papers. I paint using dry brush, wet on wet, a mouth atomizer, my fingers. But the basic technique is watercolor on paper.
My paintings become mixed media, because I sometimes use gel pens, gold leaf, and fancy papers to enhance my paintings. I have developed a method of waterproofing some of my paintings to be able to hang them without frames. I use leather, beads, and feathers to put a finishing touch on my southwestern style. I have recently incorporated wood, acrylic paint used in a watercolor style, cloth, twine and cardboard in some of my paintings - they have evolved into collage. A number of customers have asked me, "What tribe are you?" and I can truthfully answer Cherokee, as I am part Cherokee - as well as clan O'Sullivan, County Kerry, Ireland. Sometimes in my paintings amid the beads and feathers , you will see the influence of the Celtic goddess of horses, Ebona.