Half underwater, half in the sky with humongous clouds, the teal-and-turquoise world in Elisabeth Sullivan’s paintings is bright and cheerful. Inspired by nature and longing for a warmer climate, she traveled across the states until she found a home in San Diego, CA.
Elisabeth is a huge nature advocate and a member of several conservation organizations. Her art evokes awareness of a delicate balance on Earth and what it means to
I’m excited to get to know her and share her story with you.
Inspired by nature
ITAS: From your bio, I see that you are quite a nomad. You have lived, worked, and studied in so many places. And all of them are very different in terms of climate and nature. Nature being your biggest inspiration, could you tell more what fascinated you the most in every place you lived?
Elisabeth Sullivan: So the 3 places I’ve lived as an adult [Austin, TX, Tucson, AZ, and San Diego, CA – editor’s note] all have one thing in common and that is warmth. I absolutely hate winter. I always have.
You don’t get to choose where you are born, and I got out of winter right after college. I started to become fascinated with the sky and clouds when I lived in Texas and that fascination grew when I moved to Arizona.
I’m also incredibly fascinated by the desert and the various cacti, especially the Saguaro. They feel like people to me.
San Diego is all about the beach and the ocean. I’ve always been fascinated by nature, since before I can even remember.
ITAS: You have a very unique and very recognizable style! Can you tell us more about how it developed and about the stages it went through?
Elisabeth Sullivan: My style has come kind of full circle.
I’ve always been a big fan of surrealism and when I was an art student in high school and college that was my style.
When I started to paint for a living I did mostly landscapes, seascapes, and animals. My focus on the landscapes and seascapes is always the sky. I gradually started adding birds to a lot of my paintings and eventually merged my surrealism with my love of clouds, ocean, and landscape.
ITAS: Back in Texas, you started your own brand of wearable arts, first as airbrushed T-shirts and then designing your own clothing line. And you continued this business when you moved to Arizona. Do you still run this business or is it completely in the past?
Elisabeth Sullivan: I don’t run the clothing business anymore. Because it’s just me and I was doing everything. It takes too much time to do more than one thing. It was going to be either clothing or painting. I chose painting because it’s really where my heart is. I still sew things for myself, though. It’s a great skill to have!
ITAS: If there is a dream project you are yet to work on, what is it? And why do you want to do it?
Elisabeth Sullivan: I have so many dream projects, it’s hard to pick just one! One project I’ve wanted to do for a long time is a stop motion animated video of a time-lapse rainstorm and write and sing a song for the soundtrack. I’d also love to write and illustrate a children’s book. And so, so many more things I’d like to do!
Outlook on life
ITAS: Please, finish these sentences:
I will always… create.
I will never… give up.
I’m grateful… for this beautiful planet and all the magnificent creatures on it.
I dream about… owning a little piece of land where I can live sustainably.
I’m learning… there’s never a big break, you just have to keep on plugging along.
You can find Elisabeth Sullivan online
Official website: elisabethsullivan.com