Featured Artist Patrice Sullivan

Artist Patrice Sullivan shares a collection of paintings that resurrect family history and childhood memories. Visit her website to see more.


Charcoal drawing of a family with disappearing mother

“The Mother Who Wasn’t There” charcoal, 40″ x 40″


I love to paint! The making of imagery has consumed me for most of my life. I retired from teaching painting at Colorado State University and am now living in Phoenix, Arizona. I received a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and an MFA from University of Pennsylvania. My work is personal, autobiographical and multi-layered in meaning and imagery.


image of a girl being confirmed

monoprint/stencil/acrylic, 11″ x 14″


I knew I loved the figure so much that I wanted to paint and become proficient in depicting figures. This led me to use imagery from my family album using light as a binding element running throughout my work. I paint landscapes, interiors, exteriors, still lifes with figures interacting and posing for the camera displaying memorable moments with families, friends, and neighbors.


oil painting of an old family photo

“Kin” oil on board, 20″ x 24″


My process in creating images is different from the normal starting and finishing a painting, then starting another. I usually have twenty to thirty paintings going at once. This gives me an entry to working every day and allows for my mood of the day. Some days I feel like starting new paintings which are loose and very fast. I always have some of those in the studio.


oil painting of a woman getting out of bed

“The Yawn” oil on board, 12″ x 12″


If I am in a mood to paint very delicate and precise information, then I have those paintings that just need a bit of finishing up, perhaps more details within the figure or environment. Other paintings need restructuring of the composition to make the painting structurally sound and visually effective. This could be eliminating, removing, or reorganizing elements within the composition.


oil painting of nostalgic backyard scene

“Backyard Blues” oil on linen, 8″ x 8″


Size is important in my work as well. Although I mostly work smaller, I always have two big canvases I am working on as well.  This is so viewers have to step closer to the work to grasp the meaning and personal stories I share. My paintings take a long time to finish. I do not start with a drawn image, but big shapes of color which need refining and embellishing. Some paintings are quickly finished, while others may take months.


charcoal portrait by artist Patrice Sullivan

“Bernice” charcoal/pan pastel, 30.5″ x 34″


Alongside painting, I love printmaking and drawing. I had a residency at the Manhattan Graphics Center in Manhattan in the fall. There I made many images and learned new techniques. In graduate school, I did a lot of printmaking, so I knew most of the processes.


oil painting of a black and white vintage photo

“Sidewalk Snap” oil on linen, 24″ x 24″


Lately I have been doing monoprints with stenciling as a component. I will incorporate this technique in my paintings. It is wonderful to expand and grow after so many years of being an artist. Drawing I have always loved, using primarily charcoal with some pan pastel, which is a rich and vibrant medium.


Monoprint portrait of a woman

“Francoise Revisited” monoprint/stencil, 11″ x 11″


Hopefully, viewers will connect with a time and place in their own memories where their personal stories recall time of great joy and/or great sorrow.

Patrice Sullivan invites you to follow her on Instagram.


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