Artist Jane Sullivan talks about the inspiration behind her mysterious, calming paintings

By in Interviews


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Being a painter

Please give us a few words of introduction about yourself


I am a business psychologist by day and I paint in my spare time. I don’t always get the chance to paint as often as I would like as a lot of my time is taken up with work, but once I get going i absolutely love it. I am also particularly interested in alternative sub cultures and I think some of my work reflects this. I live in London, born in Australia – I think I miss the sun and living near the coast and quite a bit of my work reflects my fascination with the sky and the water. In more recent times I have started to explore the use of texture in painting.

Volcanic by Jane Sullivan


What made you decide to take up painting?


I have always been interested in painting. I did a lot of drawing as a child but then gave that up. In my early 20s I became fascinated with Venice Carnival and started to paint and design my own masks. One thing led to another and I decided to try using canvas and just went from there. Oh, and a clairevoyant told me that I could paint once and I figured I should see if I did have any ability…

What training did you have?


I am completely self taught.

What has been your best creative achievement so far?


I was very proud when a guy in Switzerland wanted to buy one of my paintings. I get a lot of very positive feedback on my paintings from friends and family – it’s real buzz when one of them commissions me to do a painting or wants to buy one that I have done. My flat doubles up as my gallery!

General Questions

What’s your favourite quote?


I am a bit of a Bladerunner nerd ….’I have seen things you wouldn’t believe, seen battle ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. these things and more will disappear, like tears in rain. Time to die’. It gets me every time…..

Who is your favourite artist?


Hard to say but I am particularly fond of Rothko.

What are you aiming for?


To find more time to paint! And to be a better painter and it would be nice to sell a few more thing and for more people to see my paintings.

Fire by Jane Sullivan
I have recently set up my own business so that is taking a lot of my time. But painting remains an important creative outlet away from the business….

How will you get there?


hard work! (business).
I need to make time to paint – when I get going I am on a roll but sometimes it’s hard to fit everything in. I definately need to do more painting and to keep experimenting with technique and style, whilst retaining what I think is distinctly ‘me’ in my paintings.

Is anything holding you back?


No, apart from time, and confidence – as somone who is completely self taught I don’t really promote what i am doing to the outside world very much .

You and painting

What sort of feedback to you get from people see your work?


They usually love it. People have said that some of my stuff is very dark and mysterious whilst other paintings are very soothing and calming.

Firelight by Jane Sullivan


From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work?


Really depends, some are done quite quickly others are a labour of love and can take weeks.

What music do you like to listen to when you work?


I often listen to my favourite band, Project Pitchfork, or often just a mix of stuff. I listen to a lot of ebm/alternative/goth music…. My partner and i have about 3000 cds between us all on the computer so there can be quite a variety of stuff….sometimes i don’t listen to any music and one of my favourite paintings (Volcanic) was inspired by a particularly dark sci fi programme i was watching!

What is next in the pipeline for you?


More painting and making a success of my business.

Being inspired by painting

What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as a painter?


Nature is quite a big thing for me – the sun, the sky, the water.The shape of the land. I travel a lot and take a lot of photos that I then use to inspire my paintings. Also music inspires my painting and i am very fond of fashion photography – not the clothes per se but the images, the use of colour etc.

What is your favourite work that you’ve produced so far and why?


Volcanic is probably my favourite. Hard to say – I never get sick of looking at it and quite a few people have wanted to buy it but I always refuse to sell it. There is something quite dark but at the same time calming about that painting – it’s like it draws you in and encourages you to go on a journey where you don’t know what the end point is. It’s a bit of a mystery to me….

a painter’s advice

What do you think it takes to make a good a painter?


Patience – I don’t always have a lot of patience but somehow I find a real inner peace when I paint and can spend hours just working one tiny bit.
Willingness to just try something – if it doesn’t work it doesn’t matter.
Good powers of observation.

Oceans by Jane Sullivan

2 comments for “Artist Jane Sullivan talks about the inspiration behind her mysterious, calming paintings


September 29, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Love your stuff, really impressive.


September 30, 2011 at 3:22 pm

I still love volcanic and one day i shall comission you to paint a similar one for me. Good work honey.

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