After nearly a year studying abstract expressionist oil painting techniques under J.J. Graham at his SECCA School
of Art in Palm Coast, FL she took several workshops on Cape Cod with instructors Cynthia Packard and Megan
Hinton who were taught by instructors of the Hans Hofmann School, as well as with Anne Packard at her
home studio and with Boston Painter Thomas R. Dunlay while on Nantucket.
Sullivan's recent month-long residency at the Vermont Studio Center enabled her time to explore ways to
combine her early geography education and love of rocks and is currently working on a series of quarry and map
oriented themed paintings. She found this sort of a circle of life learning moment and reminded her that all she
really needed to be a painter was held deeply within and planted there in her youth while playing in the out of doors.
Christine currently resides in the Finger Lakes Region of NY and in Northeastern Florida in the winter months and still spends considerable time digging for clams on Cape Cod.
About the Artist...
Christine grew up in a rural village outside of Syracuse, NY and decided in the second grade, while building and designing ceramic ash trays for her mother during a time when art in public schools was mandatory, that she wanted to become an art teacher. She took several studio courses in college concentrating on silk screen printmaking and overlapped a degree in physical geography finding it the perfect balance to her love of the land. Upon graduation there were few teaching positions available and she decided to take a job as a graphic artist and cartographer while living on Cape Cod. This one decision set her on a path in business where she eventually spent several years in the fast-paced world of cable television branding and marketing and rising up the proverbial corporate ladder. Then in 2009 she walked away from it all giving way to a promise she made to herself years ago - to live a more authentic and creative life.
A b s t r a c t e d L a n d s c a p e O i l P a i n t i n g s
Christine is an American landscape painter (b. 1957 Syracuse, NY). Her degree in physical geography and studio art from Plymouth State University (NH) supplied her with a unique and heightened appreciation for New England landforms. Prior to becoming a full time painter she had a varied and successful business life. After college Sullivan wanted to remain at her summer residence of Cape Cod and landed a job as a cartographer with the Butterworth Map Company. Here she also learned the graphic arts and publishing business but the winters were harsh and she later moved back to her hometown of Fayetteville, NY and took a job as a graphic artist in the corporate marketing department of Newhouse Broadcasting's Newchannels Corporation. She quickly expanded her creative skills to include newspaper, radio and television advertising and became fluent with the Macintosh. Concurrently her personal life was expanding as she and her husband, Jim, had a beautiful baby girl in 1991. Christine, now working long hours in the office as Creative Director and even more hours as a new mom, found the perfect release - painting. Her watercolors, once inspired by the works of Andrew Wyeth, were now leaning to a more abstract approach and soon a unique style emerged and she began showing and selling her work.
In 1994, after three of Syracuse's most brutal winters, Christine's career took another jump as she was recruited to help launch a new cable television network, the Golf Channel, and she and her young family picked up roots and moved to Orlando, FL. Over the next fifteen years Christine and her team built the company into an international brand and garnered several national and international awards. As this left little time for painting Sullivan would visit several museums across the United States while traveling, returning often to The Art Institute of Chicago where she would sit in front of a large Pollock with a deep yearning. She was also inspired by the progress her mother, E. Gloria Coffman, was making as a painter on Cape Cod. Her parents had vacationed in East Orleans with their four children (Christine has three older brothers) every summer since 1964 and were able to realize their retirement dream in 1986 when they moved there full-time. Her mom, after a forty year hiatus, picked up her brushes and was quickly gaining success. Together, they would gallery hop, review paintings and talk about the art life. Each time, she left the Cape quietly knowing this is what she was meant to do with her life. And she didn't want to wait. A discussion shortly followed and in 2009, her daughter off to college, she walked away from her position as Senior Vice President at the Golf Channel and began her journey as a professional artist.
Christine also decided to leave her watercolors behind and ventured head-on into contemporary oil painting under the guidance of John J.J. Graham at his Hollingsworth Gallery / SECCA School of Art (Southeast Coalition of Contemporary Artists) in Palm Coast, FL. It was here that J.J.‘s passion for the abstract expressionists took hold and she spent an entire year experimenting with various techniques, mediums and tools while studying the works of the masters and committed to painting daily. She began hoarding books on her favorite artists - first it was Wolf Kahn for his color work, Helen Frankenthaler for her almost watercolor-like oils and Milton Avery for his soft approach. Graham also introduced her to the California painters - mainly David Park and Richard Diebenkorn - and an exciting handful of others including Lucein Freud, Emil Bischoff and Frank Auerbach. But when she was able to see and study these painters' works in person at Art Basel/Art Miami she became truly inspired and determined to elevate her game.
Sullivan dug deeper into the studio, became a prolific experimental painter and developed a unique style and pallette. Christine began to reach out to artists on Cape Cod while visiting her now aging parents and the Provincetown Art Association and Museum school (PAAM) proved a savior, as did workshops with Megan Hinton in Wellfleet.
In 2011 her work began being accepted into several prestigious regional group exhibitions including one at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY. It was here that she discovered a large painting by Fairfield Porter, a painter she had studied but had never seen in person. This was another turning point as she saw in his work as a way to capture the soul of a place through representation while still keeping it in the realm of the expressionists and realized this was to be her intent. Later that year she was awarded a 4-week artist residency by the Community Arts of Elmira to work on her conceptual "clothesline project" - paintings that celebrated the backyards of life in and around the Finger Lakes Region of NYS. She quickly built a new body of work based on the clothesline and in the Spring of 2012 had her first solo show back where it all began - at Hollingsworth Gallery in Palm Coast, FL. It was shortly after this show that Christine's mother passed and while back on the Cape helping her Dad she took her first workshop with Cynthia Packard in Provincetown. Cynthia was instrumental in getting Sullivan to dig within for inspiration to help work through her grief and introduced Christine to her mother, Anne Packard, who invited her into her home studio for specific guidance and consultation.
In 2013, after several more group exhibitions, the Gargiulo Art Foundation, a not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to support the arts, artists and arts-in-public places, named Christine their "Artist of the Year 2013" and awarded her a solo exhibition which helped to launch her emerging career into gallery representation as did the acceptance in the 2013 Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition. During her frequent trips to the Cape she continued her workshops now with both Cynthia and Anne Packard as part of their new, joint landscape-from-life workshops taught on the deck of Anne's Provincetown's home. She would follow these with a week-long painting workshop on Nantucket under Thomas R Dunlay, a renowned Boston School painter who was taught by R.H. Ives Gammell.
In March of 2015 Sullivan was awarded a merit-based grant to attend The Vermont Studio Center's 4-Week Artist Residency program. In July Christine was juried into her third Rochester-Finger Lakes show and was awarded the Oxford Gallery Award by juror Michael Rooks, Wieland Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Atlanta's High Museum of Art. The was followed by her solo show in August at the Oils By The Sea / ROCCAPRIORE GALLERY in Provincetown, MA and in September she was awarded a jurors award for two of her large scale works in the Southern Tier Biennial and shortly after gave her first artist talk at the Memorial Art Gallery / Museum entitled, "The Geography of Color."
In February of 2016 Christine spent four weeks almost "off the grid" at the Vermont Studio Center Artist Residency Program experimenting with new ideas and concepts based on her explorations of the deep and historic granite rock quarries of Barre, Vermont and her early years studying local geography, topography and cartography. She received helpful guidance and profound influences form her studio visits with highly acclaimed artists David Kapp, Marie Lorenz, Kevin Appel and Xaviera Simmons.