In case my readers haven't heard of you yet, can you share a little about yourself and your journey as an artist so far?
I’m a mixed media artist living in Sydney although I was brought up in New Zealand and lived for a number of years in the UK before settling in Australia 16 years ago with my husband. We now have 3 kids ranging in age from 18 to 10. I have always been creative and crafty and I’ve dabbled in many creative pursuits over the past 4 decades! I never took art at school and wasn’t particularly interested in painting or drawing until about 10 years or so ago. My initial interest was sparked in fashion illustration actually. I used to love drawing and painting shoes and outfits! I took a few mixed media workshops in those early days, fell in love with watercolour paints and began experimenting with incorporating collage and stitching in what I would describe as small “doodle” watercolour paintings, mainly abstract patterns and shapes. And so it has evolved and I have now been working as a full time artist for about 5 years.
I absolutely love your approach to artmaking. Can you tell my readers a little bit about that?
For me it is all about colour, layering and mark making. I’m an intuitive painter. Mostly (not always) I don’t begin a painting with a defined outcome in mind. The beginnings of my paintings are generally influenced by my mood and what colours I am feeling. I lay down initial marks and/or light washes of colour that then determine the direction of the painting, over many layers. I add and take away until I am satisfied and the painting feels resolved. My prompt is generally nature inspired and it could be something as simple as encountering an interestingly shaped leaf, a bloom, the texture and pattern of bark on a tree or the way I feel walking along the beach or in the bush.
Before this interview, we learned that we used to live in neighbouring suburbs. How crazy is that! Sydney is such a beautiful place to live. Do you find that your local environment inspires any of your art?
I know. Absolutely my local environment inspires my art. I am fortunate to live a short walk away from Lane Cove National Park and the water, whether it be river or ocean is easily accessible, as examples. I love to engage all my senses when I am out walking in nature, whether it be locally, further afield or travelling overseas (when we could travel overseas!). I see colour inspiration, shapes, patterns and textures everywhere, often it feels like a sensory overload! My artworks are a visual reaction to the beauty I see, hear, feel and smell in my everyday life.
You've done a fair bit of travel too. How do you think travel has impacted your view of the world and your role as an artist?
Yes, I have been fortunate to travel extensively during my adult life. Travel (in whatever capacity) is, in my opinion, paramount to living a full and interesting life. It encourages one to be curious, to engage, to be broader minded and tolerant. It provides so much pleasure in terms of experiencing different cultures, varied landscapes, scenery, all sources of the most amazing inspiration! From an artist perspective all of one’s life experiences are, in some capacity, brought to the canvas. The experiences I have had through travel have helped shape the person I am today and I often draw inspiration from my memories of places I’ve been and things I’ve experienced in different countries.
Thanks so much for sharing your story here on the Art for the Heart blog. Where can my readers find out more about you?
Thanks so much Ros for giving me this opportunity. If any of your readers would like to find out more about me and my art then they can visit my website www.elizabethsullivanart.com and my Instagram @elizabethsullivanart . I’m also on Facebook and Pinterest and can be found there by searching my name.
Thank you lovely Elizabeth for coming on to my blog this week and sharing your journey with my readers. If you enjoyed this blog post, be sure to send the link to a friend.
Oh and you can also grab a free mini watercolour lesson by heading HERE.