Christine Sullivan is a fourth-generation landscape painter. She holds a degree in Physical Geography, had an early career as a cartographer followed by a successful career in television advertising before making the leap to art full time in 2009. Sullivan’s work is now collected across the USA, Canada, and Europe. Christine currently lives and has a studio in Columbus, Indiana, and is on the board of the Columbus Museum of Art & Design.
Every day a piece of me is born. I flip pages of poetry, head tilted at the sky, remembering loved ones passed, the days too, as clouds carry moments by. I start quickly by drawing with large chunks of graphite or a thick twine of charcoal, putting the shale fragments once lost back together to form a new story. A stronger version built from a romance with nature. Onshore breezes rush through my hair as I take solace. Acres of farmlands carrying the pungent aroma of fertilizer. Splinters of the red barns of my childhood that nourished me. The branches and leaves where the songbirds live. When I am quietly working in the studio these are the land-stories that visit me like late afternoon shadows passing across the floor.
Every day a piece of me dies. Breaks off. Like an eroding limestone wall where shards of myself tumble down its surface and gather in fragmented piles unaware that this is how it all works. This natural way of things. Life. Loss. And I wonder, will a fossil carry a piece of my life in its story? This is the bedrock of my painting process. Erosion. Renewal. Paint. Allowing Earth’s telluric current to pass through while I attack the canvas, flipping between excavating beneath the surface like a paleontologist and chasing upward to a birds-eye view of the freshly turned fields below after which I retreat down a well-trodden path through a canopy of trees. Bathing in the trade winds. Tapping at the underbrush. Thinking all the while about the grief life brings. Fallen fragments like leaves at my feet revealing stories long forgotten. They tumble into the paint as I push and prod the thick paint with wide brushes and large palette knives.
Every morning I watch the birds. They come and swing on the ends of limbs then drop down to visit me, softening my heart. Preparing me for the day. There is a longing in their song. A language that echoes across the years and I can almost hear the slow glacial retreat of life taking place and grasp at its frailty, its sweet brilliance. Feeding, tending, migrating, sharing the roots that communicate silently like synapses they join me in the studio.