Artist Elizabeth Sullivan has been painting since childhood, but didn’t find her chosen medium until 10 years ago. The event that sparked the start of her experimentation with watercolors was a move into a small apartment with no room for sculpture, oil painting or fabric dying.

That small experiment has expanded exponentially and her southwestern watercolor images of horses and other wildlife are now internationally known. Her paintings have been published as art prints in Sweden and distributed to the US and Europe, and have been licensed to companies who have produced area rugs, greeting cards, coasters and more. The small apartment is long gone, replaced by a studio in her house in Elgin, Texas.

Sullivan acknowledges that one of her inspirations is cave paintings and pictographs and the vibrant hues of the southwest. She uses an interesting technique to achieve the yellows, reds, oranges, browns and turquoise, which used a characteristic of watercolor, but is not an ordinary watercolor technique. Watercolors are transparent – so by layering one color on top of another in several stages, brilliant color pops off the page.

Another aspect of her paintings is paint that flows across the page. “The tendency of water is to flow,” she says, “and I just add more water and let it flow. Of course the trick is to get it to flow where you want it to go, in the proper amount.”

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