Friday, February 28, 2020

Leaping Into The Left Bank Gallery

A Glimpse Inside My Studio in Columbus, IN

One of the things I love about living the creative life is how it allows room to play - meaning, as much as it is work with deadlines and several non-painting tasks it is just as important to spend time remembering to hold to the child within. I often start my studio days painting on brown Kraft paper using my hands to push the paint around and just play. It is an easy way to loosen up. I also take some time to experiment with new colors, new subject matter and many of the"what ifs" that rattle around in my head or show up in my dreams. Certainly, there are often many failures when I attempt this on canvas but I strive for this as it is truly where the learning comes from. You just allow yourself to fall down, face first and then slowly get back up and move forward. More on that next month. Today is Leap Year Day!

So what's new? I spent January reorganizing my studio. While the photos don't really convey the amount of work it took I can attest it has helped me in many ways - 
Another Glimpse Inside My Studio - The Painting Side
clearing my space makes room for new ideas and helps to declutter my mind. An unexpected benefit is that after two years in this space it now feels more I'm ready to leap into a new body of work. 

I'm also excited to share that I'm in a new gallery - the Left Bank Gallery in Orleans, MA on Cape Cod. As a customer I have had a long relationship with this gallery and its owner Audrey Sherwin Parent. Then last November I leaped into the Left Bank Gallery in Wellfleet with an old college friend and rather impulsively asked if she was taking submissions. After a few days of conversations my work was hanging in her Orleans gallery. 
Left Bank Gallery on Cove Rd in Orleans

I've always considered Orleans my home away from home so being in this gallery now is especially meaningful. Orleans is where my parents vacationed us for two weeks each summer since I was six, where I waitressed my way through college at the Captain Linnell House and then moved to after college when I found a "real" job as a junior cartographer/graphic artist for the Butterworth Map Company in W. Yarmouth.  

Fast forward to 1986 when my parents retired and moved to Orleans and started a new life, becoming part of its very fabric for nearly 30 years. By then I had moved off-Cape but when I visited, my mom and I would steal away and gallery hop and the Left Bank would always be our first stop. We would pick out earrings for each other, look at and discuss the paintings and exceptional craft objects then go have lunch at the Land Ho! 

I remember a conversation I had with Audrey that likely she has no memory of. It was in 2012 when my mom was showing signs of dementia and in a "nursing home" and I decided I would return in the Fall and rent a place for the month of November so I could spend more time with her. I found a great rental up in Wellfleet - the old James Lechay mid-century modern home that had a separate art studio where I could continue painting. 
James Lechay's Wellfleet Studio
As it turned out my mom passed two months prior and yet I decided to keep the rental as a way to help me through the grief. I even took a week-long workshop with Cynthia Packard in Provincetown and was the first time I met Anne Packard who has since had a very strong and positive influence on my art and life.

Many days that month I would walk the streets of Wellfleet - to the library, into town, and to the beach areas. I remember the day I walked into Audrey's smaller Wellfleet gallery (it has since burned down) and found her there and she shared what she knew about Jim Lechay, the history of the mid-century modern homes and, with my mom's loss still on the surface, we started talking about our moms, the unique heavy loss it is as tears were still fresh and I learned from this short conversation that it is a terrible right of passage we all must endure and share as part of our life's journey. I bought myself a pair of earrings, thanked her and walked back to my rental. I don't think she ever knew how this one conversation helped me that day.

Fast forward a few years later after my dad passed. There I was, back in her Wellfleet gallery letting my mind wander and rather impulsively purchased an Arthur Bauman fish mobile to hang in my studio (I have a lot of fish in my studio, this is my favorite).  Arthur's mobiles typically are much larger and very Calder-like yet this fish caught my heart. I have never met Arthur but learned he passed away last year on my birthday.
My Arthur Bauman Fish Mobile hanging in my studio window
Anyway, I think I just wanted something, anything, to help me feel better. It does that now, it makes me smile.

Last fall when I was showing Audrey my work I could feel my parents in the gallery with me. Maybe that was why she took a leap of faith to add me to her roster of artists. I decided to give her a call a few weeks ago to see how things were going. She was excited to report that my work had received a lot of positive feedback and that four of my paintings had recently sold. Always good to hear after you've joined a new gallery.

I have a sign in my studio that says, "I am on my way to where I started" - it's written in a circle to remind me to be present while also to remember where it all started, and for me I know for sure a lot of it started in Orleans gallery hopping with my mom.  

Take a leap of faith today and remember to play.  /Chris

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Following Your Heart

This past winter I rather impulsively closed my Florida studio and moved to Columbus, Indiana. Wait. Indiana? Aren't you a New Englander?! Well...yes, and I always will be, at heart at least. But life is a journey, it transitions with and around you, and moving to a new city opens your heart and mind to all the many possibilities of a future unknown...(this said as we drove into the vortex of the coldest winter on record in southern Indiana - doh!).

But I hear you asking again, Sully, why Indiana? The answer is simple: I followed my heart!.

You see Indiana is where our daughter lives and when we visited her and her now wonderful fiance' the smiles on our faces were never broader and after my parents passed I no longer had a true anchor on Cape Cod and we had been complaining about all the traffic and congestion in Florida and we just one day looked at each other and said, "let's do it!" 

If you haven't heard of Columbus I understand, we hadn't either and were a bit embarrassed by our ignorance once we learned that it is internationally known as a tourist mecca for those interested in modernist architecture. In fact, it ranks #5 on the list of top US cities to visit for its architecture! It is also known as the home of Chuck Taylor. You know, the sneaker guy.  
Christine Sullivan • Trailing Memories

For weeks we huddled by the fireplace, taught our Florida dog how to do her business in the snow and tried to decide where things should go and then I began the hunt for a new studio. Columbus is just under an hours drive south of Indianapolis and there are wonderful renovated buildings filled with artist studios. But no vacancies. And that would be a hike. I looked at a few options but none seemed to be it. Then I just seemed to stumble upon a building right in downtown Columbus that was under renovations and had space for lease. And before I knew it I was working with the contractors and team to design a space that was new but held onto the past as much as possible - a peek of the old brick, the worn patterns on the cement floor, open ceiling and a drop-down frame for lighting all with a window looking out onto City Hall and across from the county courthouse whose clock tower tolls on the hour. 
Christine Sullivan Studio E - Columbus, IN
It's hard to explain what it feels like to have moved quickly to an area of the country you aren't familiar with. Using GPS to get gas, grocery shop, find your way back to your house is a part of it.  Like tumbling through your days in a clothes dryer. But once I started painting I was able to, eventually, find my center. I was focusing on seascapes for my upcoming show in Provincetown and working on a catboat painting...and then a door opened. 

I was in the midst of painting "Tranquility" (see below), frustratedly "niggling" at it uncertain of what it needed and shifting this and that when something else caught my attention. My Pandora station had switched from the blues of Sting and Bonnie Raitt to the Christopher Cross song...Sailing. Wait. What is that?!? I am painting a sailboat and SAILING starts playing out of nowhere!?!?! Then I heard these lyrics, "oh the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see, believe me". The hairs stood up on the back of my neck. I sat down and listened. It brought me to a conversation I had with my Dad the week before he died. He LOVED to sail and his best buddy owned a catboat that they often enjoyed together.  I took it to say he liked the painting, that is was done and felt inspired to paint several more which will be part of my upcoming show. 

It dawned on me for the first time that afternoon that my new studio address, 217 Washington, was the same number as my dad's apartment number. 217. That lonely week cleaning it out after he passed floated by. And it was just at that point I felt a rush of confirmation that this move was meant to be. I had followed my heart. And now a lot of that heart is here in these new paintings.  If you are on or near the Cape next weekend, please stop by to take a look. I'd love to say hi! 
Tranquility 30 x 20" oil/linen
- cs

437 Commercial Street • Provincetown, MA

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Finding My Way Home

One of the things you deal with after being officially "orphaned" is not having a home to go to. For many years I couldn't wait to get away from "home" and later as it became my "parents home" it was a place of refuge. A grounding place. The Cape was this home, too. At first it was where we learned to swim, row a boat, dig for clams while packed in a small cottage out in East Orleans with a sink the size of a dinner plate and a shower so narrow you had to keep your elbows in.  When I was in college I took summer jobs in Orleans and shared dorm-like apartments we could afford on tips and minimum wage. After graduation I took my first real job at a map making company in West Yarmouth and rented a home with two others in Barnstable Village. While I got to know the varied towns and villages and back roads of the Cape, when I needed refuge I always headed to Orleans, to Nauset Beach and back to the Mill Pond. Meditating in its peace and listening to the Bob White's call.

A few years went by and I moved off Cape, had a family of my own and then moved to Florida for a new job.  Now Orleans was where my parents lived, where I spent my Thanksgivings and Christmases. A new refuge. A place where I gallery hopped with my mom who was now painting and a member of Nauset area art leagues. The place my husband and daughter came to know through me. And as the years sailed by the roles began to shift and soon it was the place I went to ensure my parents were okay, the house was being taken care of, to take them to Dr's appointments and then to help them move from their home to life in assisted living. 

In 2009 I returned to painting full time and started dividing my time between visiting my parents in Orleans and spending time up in Provincetown and Wellfleet - taking painting workshops, renting studio space and later delivery work to the gallery. Interspersed were the many trips to the Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis where I would calm my parents and sit and watch the Island ferries as they came and went, the nurses and doctors come and go and then, finally my parents. First my mom then, three years later and in the same exact room, my dad.

Into The Mystic, Oil on Linen

Last summer I came to the Cape with such mixed emotions. I was fighting back the memories and feeling lost. Where is home? I visited the rolling waves of Nauset Beach and walked the quiet shore of the Mill Pond and listened to the Bob Whites as my body mirrored the leaning beach grasses. I shopped at Shaw's and had a beer at the Ho! All the things that I used to do. I went and visited my parents resting place - the church grounds in Orleans - and found myself talking about the weather and looking up at the tall pines swaying in the winds. Everything was the same. And different. 

Then I drove up to Provincetown to deliver my new paintings. We were hugging and laughing and getting settled. I checked into my room, picked up a few things at Angel Foods on Commercial Street and that afternoon found myself sitting in a beach chair behind Poor Richards Landing after a wonderful swim in the warm waters and watching the shifts of colors over the Wharf while having a beer with friends and realizing this is home, too. I was still hurting but I was in the cradle of the Cape's bounty.

And now almost a year later I am heading back to Provincetown and for the very first time I can hear myself saying, "I am moving forward. My grief is starting to lessen." Time has a way of helping with that. And I am learning that nothing ever really dies, that we are our past and we find our way forward and that it is as much with the strength of our friends as well as the natural environment that surrounds us that helps us to move on.  The smell of the salt air, the taste of the salt water, the shifting winds in the marshes, the billowing cloudscapes, the pinks of the sunsets, the early morning birds calling, the boats bobbing in the harbor - these sounds and images have been my constant as it has for many generations before me. And this is where I go when I paint. Like tapping into a universal place. And I realize now that this too is home. A place we carry within us and holds a part of all we love and all we loved dearly within it.

Christine Sullivan - New & Selected Works
Opening Reception Friday, July 7th • 7 - 9PM
Oils By The Sea / ROCCAPRIORE Gallery
437 Commercial Street • Provincetown, MA

P.S. I have been painting daily since February and these new works are part of my healing process as I find peace within the ever changing yet constant landscape of the Cape and are part of my show that opens Friday, July 7th at Oils By The Sea / ROCCAPRIRE Gallery located at 437 Commercial Street on Provincetown's East End. Stop in and say hello!


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Starting Up A Brand New Day

Brand New Day 20 x 24" oil on canvas
It has been close to a year since I've posted, a year filled with a lifetime of changes that thankfully, after a six month dry spell, has me back in the studio and excited to see where this transition leads.

It started last May, just after my birthday. I was excited to be back on the Cape for another intensive 3-day landscape workshop with Anne and Cynthia Packard in Provincetown and time to visit with my dad. I then ferried over to Nantucket for a week-long plein air painting workshop with Thomas R. Dunlay. The weather was exceptional, as was the company and I returned to my Elmira studio tanned, refreshed and began diligently to finish up and deliver new works for several upcoming shows.

In August I returned to the cape for my featured artist / solo show at Oils By The Sea / ROCCAPRIORE Gallery in Provincetown and stayed another week to relax, paint and visit with Dad. Then it was back to New York for the Finger Lakes Exhibition at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY where I was asked to give an artist talk in early September. This was followed by another group show in Olean, NY.  So you see in a few short months I had traversed New England four times, the great state of upstate New York six times, received several awards, gave my first artist talk and learned I was accepted in Vermont Studio Center's residency program. My art life, you could say, was abuzz! 

That is until mid-September when I woke from a deep sleep to my cell phone buzzing in circles on my bedside table. I fumbled to grab it, saw it was 3AM and the call was from my dad's assisted living number. I bolted upright. It was my 94 year old dad saying he had a bad night of pain and hit the wall emergency button and the EMT's were transporting him to the Cape Cod hospital. I remember mumbling, "Okay, okay Dad. Thanks for letting me know. I'm sure you'll be okay. I will call the hospital in the morning. Okay, love you too." 

Hammock Shop 18 x 24" oil on canvas
 My head fell back to the pillow. My thoughts racing. He sounded pretty good, his mind was still working well...and yet he asked me to call my older brother who lived in Boston. I barely slept. There were tests and xrays and calls and waiting but quickly learned it was a small intestinal block causing all the pain and a simple surgery was needed that day. The surgeon said it went better than expected, my dad was doing extremely well for his age and soon he was up "walking the hallway." I was in the car driving to the hospital when they said he was doing so well he was being released that afternoon and to meet him at the rehab center.  Feeling relieved that he'd be okay and seeing he was in good hands and seemingly his normal self I checked into my hotel and collapsed. That night another call came. He could not eat or drink and was sent back to the hospital. I will spare the details but leave it to say I stayed another three weeks and my dad passed on October 10th. I was by his side.

It would be several more weeks before I was able to return home, stunned by all that happened. Taken aback at the grief I was feeling thinking that since my dad was 94 I'd be prepared for this loss!? Then I closed up my Elmira studio and headed down to Florida for the winter. We were slow to unpack and I was dreading the holidays when at Thanksgiving we learned of the tragic death of our niece. Too much to process. Filled with overwhelming sadness and disbelief I just wandered through the holidays in a daze. And I still did not paint. 

Sometime in December I called the Vermont Studio Center explaining my situation and asking if I could move my February residency to another month. I had not touched a brush since July and didn't want to waste the opportunity. A woman on the other end of the phone was very patient and saved me with another option, "You know... I'm happy to help you find another month but this is a wonderful place to just come and be with your thoughts. There's no pressure here. All your meals are taken care of. You're surrounded by other artists and you can meditate and be alone if you'd like and use it as a time to help you through this transition in your life. It may be just what you need." I hung up the phone in the same manner that my head had hit the pillow after my dad's call. Thoughts racing. Maybe this would be a good idea? I decided to go.

My experience in Vermont deserves it's own separate blog post but for now let me just say it changed my life. At first when I returned to Florida I simply spent time thawing out (average temps in VT were often below zero) yet I knew something had shifted. Everything I looked at was speaking to me. Blades of sea grass bending in the breezes grabbed my imagination as the pitch in the language the birds hurling across the brush made me stop and search for them while the shifting colors of the sky and sea were churning around me.  The connection between all living things was at once evident and I went into my studio and started painting. These were healing works. I first needed to work on new Cape 'scapes for my upcoming new season and show in Provincetown which was a good way to pull me back. I often cried and felt guilty if I was feeling joy. I often stumbled as painting after a six month dry spell feels similar to when you go back to the gym. It hurts. It's not easy. The muscles aren't like they once were and the results aren't there as quickly as in the it was often frustrating! I had to look at the notes I taped on my studio wall, notes I wrote to myself in Vermont that say, "It's okay to be happy" and "If you're not struggling you're not learning." And listened to Sting's "Brand New Day" in my headphones like I did in Vermont because my only goal while there was NOT to paint like I do at home, search for what's next. Explore. Play. Find the joy again.

Love Song 12 x 12" oil on linen
This is what painting does, for me anyways. It takes you along. Walking you through internal thoughts and memories, often times feeling both pain and joy. Making mistakes. Figuring out solutions. A connected conversation of sorts. So when I got a text from the gallery owner in Provincetown, a few weeks after delivering new work, saying that one of my new paintings had just sold? I stood still. It was my birthday. The painting was one created from memory of a place my family vacationed at as a child on Cape Cod that I titled, "Love Song." And I couldn't help but think it was my dad sending a message. And it shook me awake like a call in the wee hours. But this time it was happy news. Thanks, Dad.

/yours in the art life.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


In The Dunes 18 x 24" Oil by Christine Sullivan
August, boy August on the Cape. As young children it was simply paradise. Our last grasp of summer before school, a way to hammock ourselves and yet alive with the possibilities of what was ahead. And how appropriate that it is the same window for my first solo show on the Cape.
Please join me for my opening reception
437 Commercial Street, Provincetown MA
In our family, much like many of you, our parents would pack up the station wagon to the gills and make the trek from Syracuse to the Cape the first two weeks of August. We'd stay in the same, small cottage in the Nauset Heights area of East Orleans known as the "Blue Shutters" and owned by Mrs. Hopkins. Complete and unplugged it sat on a spit of land with the Mill Pond, a salt water tidal pond, on three sides. It was where the salt air and the salt water meet and became my center. 

Harbor House, 20 x 24" c sullivan
And while the "big beach" surf of Nauset was the main attraction during the day, it was the quiet moments back at the cottage when we were left to ourselves that I remember most. Alone, down at the  edge of the Pond pulling clams from the mucky sand earning my .50 cents a dozen, or out rowing around the Pond while my brother snorkeled for and speared small crabs, even as I sat on the stone steps outside the rickety screened kitchen door shucking ears of corn for my mom, hearing the Bob White calling in the distance, I somehow, even then, knew. It was all around me as my tanned arms pulled at the green husks. Seeping into that place where we go when things get tough, as they surely would, becoming my Bell Jar. I was seven years old. And it is there when I open a tube of paint. Back once again I go. The pink of the late evening sky above. The tips of the sea grasses bending in front of me. The quiet of the purple beach heather, almost whispering as the tide slowly shifted with a gull overhead.

Of course I have had these experiences as an adult. After I grew out of the summers with my parents I returned alone to live and work on the Cape. Then my parents moved there for twenty-five or so years. My mom returned to her landscape painting, my dad to his 18 foot sail boat on Pleasant Bay. Knowing full well that none of this would consider me a native but my fifty year relationship may stand as an acceptable close second, at least for some. My nights on the bar stools of the Land Ho! well set. But it's always the childhood memories that are the strongest. That I pull from. That joins us all. Especially while painting. 

This was never more evident then during my last workshop with Anne Packard and her daughter Cynthia Packard this past June. We were standing there. On Ms Packard's deck. About ten of us. Busily setting up our easels and paints with little to no small talk. Looking out at the Bay. The Pier. Wondering what we would stare down and attempt to capture and hearing Anne and Cynthia making the rounds...when a brisk wind brought with it the sharpness of that familiar combination of salt air and low tide (which my best friend still refers to as "dead fish!") and my heart lept. Literally. And I was brought back…to those summer days…that love. The sea. The boats. 

Provincelands 30 x 40" Oil, c sullivan
I have about a dozen paintings in this show all of which are Cape images. Oils By The Sea / ROCCAPRIORE GALLERY is located on the East End of Commercial Street and is owned by long-time local artist & film producer Shirl Roccapriore. The history of the location is deep as it was once home to a strong Portuguese fishing family that drew their livelihood from Cape Cod Bay and the surrounding waters. Later it became Harvey Dodd's gallery (1933-2011) for decades. I couldn't feel more honored to be represented by this high quality gallery and to have a solo show here in August. 

Come join me Friday, August 7th for the opening reception. The gallery is located directly across form Ciro and Sals Restaurant and next door to The Mews Restaurant so it's easy to find and to make a night of it! And if you are not able to come see the show in person please visit the gallery website at

All the best! /c.

P.S. While you're in P'Town be sure to pick up a copy of the Provincetown Art Guide magazine and check out my full page ad. 

437 Commercial Street, Provincetown, MA 02657

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Three's A Charm: Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition

It was both exciting and challenging to work on this, my first attempt at melding my present painting process with my cartographic past. As it was to learn that "Finger Lakes Geomorphology" was juried into the 65th Rochester-Finger Lakes Biennial Exhibition. This years juror was Michael Rooks, Wieland Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Atlanta's High Museum of Art, who chose 68 works by 46 artists from a field of 920 entries by 330 artists - thus I am honored to be in such good company. This will be my third appearance and is largely credited for launching my professional art career.

It is also exciting as this was a bit of a departure for me. The base of the painting is a "map" - harking back to my geography/art degree and early days as a cartographer on Cape Cod - describing the locations of the eleven long and narrow lakes that make up the Finger Lakes. But it was the energy of the earth event that created these lakes, about two million years ago, that shaped my painting process. As did the human interaction and migration as the sense of place evolved. There are nods to the early towns and villages, the salt mines, open farmlands, recent vineyards, the NY State Thruway - but it is more personally an example of my love of paint, rocks and of this region. One that I hope will lead to a bend in the road in my own painting journey.

The exhibition opens with a reception on Saturday, July 25th from 8pm - 11pm.  There will be live music (including a large dance band in the grand ballroom), a drinks and dessert bar and the museum is open so you are able to stroll through five centuries of world art in a marvel of architecture. 

Memorial Art Gallery is located at 500 University Ave, Rochester, NY. I will be lecturing here during the exhibition on Thursday, August 27th at 7pm and the exhibition ends September 13th. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Artist of the Year - An Exhibition Filled Weekend!

What better way to end my reign then to see it go to my friend and fellow artist, Jan Geyer, The Gargiulo Art Foundation's Artist of the Year 2014. After several months of experimentation in the abstract, Jan is now a figurative painter with expressionist tones and over the past year has been working diligently at her craft and exploring new directions. First there was the Harold Garde Strappo print making workshop. We took this one together but it was Jan that truly fell in love with this Garde invented print-pulling-off-glass process and then developed it in a way that uniquely showcases her deft drawing skills. Then there was the award of a 4-week artist residency at the renowned Vermont Studio Center this past August. It was here that she fell back in love with painting the figure and came back inspired and worked diligently over the Fall finishing an expansive and impressive body of more than forty new figurative works. These will all be on display at two exhibitions / awards shows this weekend. Here's the rundown, and you'll want to attend them all:

Tonight, Friday, Jan. 9th, 6 - 9PM
The weekend tips off when the Gargiulo Art Foundation hosts the Artist of the Year Exhibition at Salvo Art Project's gallery at NatureScapes Nursery (313 Old Brick Rd off Rt 100 just two streets west of Belle Terre).  Salvo's tall ceilings and studio-surround atmosphere is the perfect backdrop to experience about a dozen of her fresh figurative paintings and Strappo prints. It is also a great place to relax on a Friday evening with friends and enjoy the art and open studios of other local artists. Add to this the live music in doors and the gardens of NatureScapes outdoors where you can sit next to a warming fire-pit and enjoy a glass of wine under the night sky and it all makes for a memorable evening.

Plus, many of the former Gargiulo Artist of the Year recipients will be there - Linda Solomon, JJ Graham, Weldon Ryan, myself, Peter Cerreta, Jane Sbordone and Edson Beckett - and it's a great way to support the arts in our community as a portion of all sales of Jan's work goes towards the Gargiulo Art Foundation's Art in Public Places program here in Palm Coast. And Salvo asks for a $10 donation at the door to support funding improvements to this large structure currently housing studios for eleven local artists. The celebration kicks off at 6pm.

Saturday, Jan. 10th, 6 - 9PM
Then on Saturday Geyer opens her expansive Studio at City Marketplace (located next to the Walmart plaza) allowing us to experience an intimate look at her work space and process as well as nearly thirty additional new works, some of which were born during her awarded four-week residency at the Vermont Studio Center this past August. Jan's studio is on the balcony level of City Marketplace, just a few doors down from the Flagler County Art League's Second Saturday community event. The mayor of Palm Coast will be on hand with Tom Gargiulo and Arlene Volpe for the award presentation. Her studio will be open from 6 - 9PM.

[Speaking of Tom Gargiulo and Arlene Volpe I continue to be amazed at the amount of hard work they continue to put into their Foundation's Art in Public Places within our community…even during a scary year of health issues...and naming one local artist as Artist of the Year helps bring attention to individual artists. I can tell you from my own personal experience that this one award, received last November, acted as a slingshot for my professional art career (and I can't thank them enough). ]

Jan's work is also part of a show which opens this Sunday at I AM ART/RACHEL & FRIENDS Gallery in Hammock Beach called "SHE: The Figurative Feminine" - celebrating work by and of women. This show opens Sunday, Jan 11th, 4 - 7PM. The exhibition also features works by local artist Diana Gilson and Kate Miller and includes several resulting works by students of Kate's figurative class held there. The gallery is located at the "Pink" building on A1A north, next to 386 Restaurant. This "Sunday Soiree" event kicks off at 4pm. 

Hope to see you at one or all of these events this weekend! 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Plum Contemporary Gallery Grand Opening Friday

After months of hard work by owner Karen Sheriden and her fine staff, Plum Contemporary Gallery will be holding a grand opening celebration this Friday, December 5th starting at 5PM and the public is invited to enjoy contemporary art, live music, fresh food and drink by area vendors and meet the artists. The new location at 10 Aviles Street is just steps across historic Aviles from its prior location and yet has twice as much space and dramatic tall ceilings to showcase an increased number of works while losing none of its creative and personal approach to art appreciation. 

Please join me in what is sure to be a special evening. /cs

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 5th / 5:00 - 9:00 PM
10 Aviles Street, St. Augustine, FL

Tomoka River Morning, 40 x 30" Oil on Canvas

In The Mid-Season, 18 x 24" Oil on Linen
Riding High, 12 x 12" Oil on Linen

Friday, October 31, 2014


Come join us at the grand opening of THE SALVO ART PROJECT - a new artist co-op nestled within the old Florida beauty of NatureScapes Nursery in Bunnell, Florida. 

The interior layout of this two story barn-like structure was designed and built out by artists John JJ Graham, former director/owner of Hollingsworth Gallery, and Petra Iston to house studios for 13 area professional and emerging artists. 

Saturday, November 1st / 5PM - 9PM
Grand Opening & Art Exhibition
Old Brick Road, Bunnell, FL
(off Rt 100, 1/2 mile past Belle Terre on the left)
Live music starts at 6PM. $10 Donation at the door. 

The outer circle of studios each have their own large sliding glass doors with views of the gardens and tall Florida oak trees and the inner circle is where you'll find the gallery of contemporary art. 

SALVO ART also holds after school and summer camp classes for local area children and offers several adult evening classes - go to SALVOART.ORG for more details on the artists, classes and upcoming events/exhibitions or call 386-871-9546.

Moving in day. Notice the floors are painted, there are walls to paint on (my preference vs easels) and we each get these amazing, large glass doors that open to and bring in the surrounding gardens, nursery and old Florida landscape. 

The view and central Florida oak that stands right outside my glass doors. As Anne Packard said to we studio artists in her landscape workshop I took this past June in Provincetown, "you must paint from life!" So now I have the best of both worlds - all I have to do is step out!

Monday, June 2, 2014


Province Lands II, 30 x 40" Oil on Canvas

Summer is almost here and, feeling blessed that I was in Florida during one of the worst winters the North has seen in twenty-five years, I have moved into my Elmira studio and am preparing to head to my "home away from home," Cape Cod. This will be an exciting trip as I spend quality time visiting my dad in and around Orleans, drop off a car full of fresh paintings to my newly signed gallery, OILS BY THE SEA in Provincetown (more below), paint for three full days in a workshop led by America's premiere landscape painter, ANNE PACKARD (and her highly acclaimed artist/daughter CYNTHIA PACKARD) then hop on the ferry to Nantucket for a few days of plein air painting with Boston Painter TOM DUNLAY. What a whirlwind and yet I am so excited. And thankful. I will try to post my progress or I may wait until after. Either way and until then, may you have a joyous spring and I hope you are able to find inspiration to fill your creative side - be it painting, gardening, cooking, writing or just holding on to the now and seeing, really seeing the beauty around you. Brush on!
FRIDAY, JUNE 6th, 6 - 9PM
If you are in and around the Cape this weekend the galleries in Provincetown hold a "First Fridays Art Walk" and I'll be at Oils By The Sea Gallery during their 6pm - 9:30pm reception. This fabulous gallery is tucked amongst what is known as "Gallery Row" at the East End of Commercial St. and is owned and operated by the talented artist, Shirl Roccapriore. In addition to showcasing her own work, Shirl represents four artists all with ties to the Cape: Christine Sullivan (painter), Jim Broussard (painter), Sally Brophy (photography) and Dawn Zimiles (encaustics). And if you can't make it, please stop in this summer and tell Shirl I said, "REE!"

Oils by The Sea Gallery
437 Commercial St. 
Provinctown, MA

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Harbor House 24 x 30" Available at Roan & Black Gallery
When you are painting an image of a place you well know, the process, as with Harbor House, often seems effortless. I'd been planning to paint this structure for some time. It seemed a beacon from the past, the Cape Cod I knew as a child, strongly standing ground out in East Orleans. It is at the end of Tonset Road near a landing with a small turn about. A spot I drove to with my plein air painter friend, Lori McCall, last Fall while scouting painting locations. We stepped down the few stairs to the harbor waters, taking in the bright dingy's tossed against the deep marsh grasses and watched as a fisherman headed out through the narrows, and decided it would do nicely. After a few hours of struggling with the transition of painting in the out-of-doors, I needed to regroup. I took the few steps back up the landing and in so doing looked directly at this house. It was then that its quietly familiar standings and weathered grey shingles grabbed my shoulders from a place back in time, and I, quite startled, felt the immediate and strong need to paint it. However, the good light would soon be lost and I was leaving the Cape the next day so I took several photographs, jotted a few notes and made a small sketch. And there it stayed, like those memories, on the shelf of patiently waiting.

Fast forward to two weeks ago when, here in my Florida studio, deep into the painting process, I opened a drawer and there it was - starring at me.  I knew it was time. I pulled up a clean canvas and dove in. Almost immediately my Cape experiences began to pour from my brushes. I remembered all those vacations as a child where six of us would squeeze into a two bedroom cottage and spill out in the early morning air to walk by the Mill Pond as our parents packed up for another day at Nauset Beach. I remembered we would pull ourselves up onto similar porch chairs with the traditional blue and white stripes and how the mix of stone and sand felt beneath my tanned, bare feet. 

Several hours went by when, feeling I was close to completion, I pealed it off my easel and hung it on my studio wall to "cure"- giving it the necessary time for the thick paint to set and me time to stand back and see what it needed. That next morning I noticed it held a strong presence and, after a few small changes/additions, I knew it was ready.
Concurrently, I just signed on with a new gallery, Roan & Black in Saugatuck, Michigan. Roan & Black is owned by two, very passionate and savvy guys who completely transformed an old mechanics garage into a successful gallery. It is a bold, fresh contemporary space located in a beach town known for its commitment to the arts. Saugatuck, a small city on Kalamazoo Lake just around the bend from where the Kalamazoo River meets the eastern shores of Lake Michigan, is similar to the Cape with its boating culture, stunningly broad beaches, vast dunes and fields of billowing beach grasses. It is also at the center of "The Art Coast of Michigan."

So it dawned on me, while looking at Harbor House and thinking about how I had just shipped several paintings up, that maybe this one would also work in my first group show with R&B called "STRUCTURE" opening this Saturday, April 19th. The response I received after emailing the image was a resounding, "YES!" and three days later the painting left my studio for the 1,158 mile journey to Saugatuck.

I quietly left the UPS Store thinking about how quickly this painting went from a place in my heart, to the canvas and now on to Saugatuck. It was then that I heard the last line of Casablanca. You know, when Bogart says, while walking into the dense fog, "Louie…I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." And realized how wonderful it is to be able to send a part of ourselves out into the world.


A collection of six artists working 
in oil, paper, clay and mixed media 
and how structures inspire their work

SAT, APRIL 19th, 6:30- 9PM

Roan & Black Contemporary Gallery
3315 Blue Star Hwy, Saugatuck, MI

© 2014 christine sullivan

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Wonderful Art Weekend!

Original by Linda Solomon
Dear Friends - This is a wonderful weekend to be outside - not only to enjoy the warmth of Spring here in the Hammock, but we have three days filled with special art events that kick off this afternoon (Friday) with a one woman gala show and sale at Le Cose Belle and rolls right to the launch of the FLAGLER ART & WINE SHUTTLE on Sunday! 

Here's the details, hope to see you out and about! 


Friday, April 11 / 4 - 7PM
A One Woman Gala Show and Sale
A special evening at LE COSE BELLE GALLERY in the Hammock featuring the work of Linda Solomon. Linda's work will fill the walls of Le Cose Belle as well as a good portion of my studio space next door. Come on out and enjoy some light eats and wine as well as the contemporary art in Rachel Schiff's gallery, "I AM ART/RACHEL & FRIENDS."
Le Cose Belle is located in the Pink Building next door to 386 Restaurant and across from Paul Baliker Gallery on A1A. 

Saturday, April 12 / 6 - 9PM
Jan Geyer, William Mazziotti, Robert Mielenhausen, Harry Messersmith
A Gargiulio Arts Foundation Sponsored exhibition held at HOLLINGSWORTH GALLERY as part of their "Second Saturday" community art event at City Marketplace, 160 Cypress Pt Pkwy. Plus, stroll down to the Flagler County Arts League Gallery for their Spring Show and you'll also see the original oil by Linda Solomon that is being raffled in support of her cancer treatment expenses.
Sunday, April 13 / 12 Noon - 6PM
A One Woman Gala Show and Sale
This special event continues on Sunday at LE COSE BELLE GALLERY in the Hammock with a mamosa brunch from noon to 2pm with outdoor seating and a special "trunk sale" of Linda's works.

Sunday, April 13 / 2 - 6PM
Then, things really get rolling at 2pm with the launch of the 
That's right! Sunday afternoon from 2pm to 6pm there will be a comfortable shuttle bus making the route on A1A between Flagler Beach's OCEAN BOOKS & ART and LE COSE BELLE GALLERY in the Hammock with stops at the following galleries:
The Balker Gallery
Le Cose Belle Gallery and Boutique
Christine Sullivan's Hammock Studio
I AM ART / Rachel and Friends
Hammock Wine & Cheese
Art LaMay Gallery
Ocean Books and Art
Down By The Sea

Tickets are $10 / $15 per couple and can be purchased online at (simply type in "Flagler Art and Wine" in the search menu to get to the event page) or in person on Sunday at the Adult Educational Center in the Hammock or in Flagler Beach at the site of the Farmer's Market. NET PROCEEDS GO TO THE UNITED WAY'S WOMEN'S INITIATIVE FLAGLER to benefit women and children in need. For more information 386-693-4882.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

JJ Graham Paintings

Petra by J.J. Graham, Oil 2014
Here we are, in the bleak mid-winter. But hard at work, with his unique abundance of light and color, is artist John (J.J.) Graham. Typically working at making other artists look good at his Hollingsworth Gallery in Palm Coast, FL, Graham has been feverishly painting the past month and now it is his turn to shine. 

Tonight we celebrate the paintings of John J.J. Graham with the opening of his solo show at the Peabody Auditorium in Daytona Beach, FL.

Daytona Beach, FL


JJ's expressive style, which has been evolving over the past twenty years or so, continues to prove that great paintings are really born through a love of paint and the not-so-easy process of blending your true self into and onto the imagery. Most painters tend to shy away from revealing too much, but those who dig in and excavate, pour, scrape and spill it all on the canvas, are typically those whose raw paintings we can never get enough of. And these new paintings don't disappoint.

I stand in his studio and watch his incessant pushing and pulling of the brush, leaving short yet determined strokes, followed by J.J.'s "pause and paws" approach. This is where he paws at the paint and pauses to look at the surface before diving in yet again. Then there's a full body turn as his left foot pops up while his right arm comes down quickly layered by a more graceful, almost wand-like move with a scrappy looking piece of charcoal and bam! Images appear, lines form, he travels in it, around it and allows it to come alive - almost like he is letting something out or waiting for it to knock him over. Sometimes this happens in minutes, others take days and weeks - but always his paintings are living and breathing testaments to the workings of an artist who paints without fear and has built a style that is uniquely Graham. 

When looking more closely at his paintings you typically find nuggets of both information and detail along the sight-line. Be they texture or a color shift, you soon learn, while holding a glass of wine and slowing down to really inhale the images, there are other worlds living within, behind and alongside what first captured your eye. Not unlike J.J. himself. The depths and caverns not always on the surface. And we see, when looking at both the artist and the work, that this is the out pouring of someone whose life is dependent on the canvas, on the process of painting and is obsessed with paint. 

Come discover these new works in person and meet the artist tonight at the Peabody Auditorium which is just north of the intersection of International Speedway Blvd and A1A along the beach. There is plentiful parking, light eats, and wine and is free and open to the public. Come on out. You just may find yourself taking one of them home.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year from The Hammock!

Hello and Happy New Year! Just a brief note to say thank you for continuing to support my art life. It has been another wonderful year of growth and exploration and I have met many new friends and collectors along the way. My wish is that you are able to spend more time in 2014 fulfilling your passions, seeing more of the beauty in the world and discovering it within. And that you and your loved ones have a healthy and happy 2014.

I am kicking off the New Year with a show which opens this weekend at The Hammock Gallery in Palm Coast. The gallery is part of the Hammock Wine & Cheese Shoppe compound, set under a canopy of trees on historic A1A (N. Oceanshore Blvd, north of the toll bridge and across from the Publix plaza) and operated by warm and wonderful people who not only have a passion to bring you delectable cheeses and introduce you to bountiful wines but they also bring in LIVE MUSIC every weekend and original artwork each month. I mean, where else in Palm Coast can you spend happy hour sitting outside with your friends enjoying wine in a colorful garden setting (or indoors if it gets too chilly) listening to great LIVE music and taking in the art?!

All the best for the coming year. /cs