Art Over Macleay Park

Elisabeth Cook Sullivan
Ceramic Arts

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Elisabeth is active in the art community in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area.
See her show schedule for many of the events she as planned for this calendar year.

Elisabeth chaired the West Linn Arts Festival , then renamed Artburst Northwest, from 2008 through 2015.  She was on the Board of Driectors for Portland Open Studios from 2001 through 2005.
She has also participated on numerous other art related boards, galleries, co-ops
over the last two decades.  
Now in semi-retirement, Elisabeth focuses on her art, AOMP, a few galleries, and the occaisional show.

In 2006, Eiisabeth started Art Over Macleay Park
a show held in her home, now twice a year.  
It is a high end arts and crafts show, with a wide variety of art and artists.


An Artist since childhood, Elisabeth Cook Sullivan
holds bachelors and masters degrees 
in pure mathematics 
and has enjoyed a long career in theoretical and applied computer security.  
When asked about the diversity of her pursuits, 
Elisabeth always says, 
“It’s all art to me!"


I started drawing when I was about 4 and my father gave me 
a matchbook that had a profile of a woman on it and the words 
"DRAW ME and win a scholarship to Art School".  
At age 4 I didn't try for the scholarship, 
but it got me drawing heads and faces, and I never stopped. 

I've changed my medium several times in my career as an artist--
starting with pencils and crayons, then moving on to oils in my teens. 
I worked in papier mache for a few years, discovering art in 3 dimensions.
Later I moved to ceramics, though I still paint from time to time. 
Somewhere in the middle of it allI spent 15 years as a doll maker.
I call them portrait sculptures. 
My dolls are portraits of real people and historical figures.
Queen Elizabeth I and Benjamin Franklin still grace my livingroom.  
I still make them occasionally.
No matter what I do, I always seem to come back to clay.
I have been known to work in polymer clays as well as
Stoneware, Porcelain, and earthenware.

I also like to work with driftwood.  My mother was the Michaelangelo of Driftwood.
Michaelangelo said, "Inside every piece of marble is a sculpture.  It is my job to find it."
That is what Mom did with driftwood.  I learned a lot from her, but I will never match her skill.

I actually made edible art for a while 
(chocolates made from food safe molds of some of my political works).
I keep growing and experimenting, but it seems I always come back to ceramics.  

It may seem that it is all about animals for me, but the animal work is relatively new. 
I change around a lot, but my true love in art is the portrait, my most consistent theme.  
Animal work is about portraits, too.
I am deeply drawn to the untamed.
The cheetah owns my heart, but I also love giraffes, zebras, 
wild horses, whales and dolphins, and others. 
I portray them all with respect and honor. 
2012 has become the year of the bird for me.

Humor and educational value are important to me--
if my art teaches something about one of my subjects, 
or gives someone a good chuckle, my day is made.

Spirituality is also of great importance to me.  
The Dahli Lama sent me some prayer flags about 15 years ago.
I don't know why.
They ended up on my front door, and they are still there.
A few years later I started making fabric and paper prayer flags.
They are all over my property.
They work, I could tell you amazing stories.
In 2009 I started making them out of ceramics.

The addition of Tibetan Prayer Flags to my work has changed my life. 
Making them is such a spiritual experience. 
With the exception of my prayer flags, which are slab constructed,
and my small birds, which are entirely hand constructed
My ceramic work is wheel thrown with hand constructed elements.  Some is pure sculpture, other is functional. 
I also create three dimensional portrait sculptures in fabrics. 
I'm politically active and has been known to create a little political satire art as well.


I guess I am something of a gypsy, having grown up as a Navy Junior, also known as a Navy Brat.  
My father was a career officer, graduating from the Naval academy, 
a world war II hero who was at Pearl Harbor, Normandy, and Iwo Gima, to name a few battles he saw.  
Mom was a Navy Wife, a full time job in those days, 
but she studied sociology in college and always wanted to be a juvenile judge. 
It was an interesting way to grow up.  
Both my parents were artists as well--my father painted from childhood, 
and after retirement, both my parents started to work with driftwood.  
Their work is simply inspirational.  
My parents are both gone now.
I miss them.

We joined the great military migration about every other year 
and moved from one side of the North American continent to the other. 
I've crossed the continent by car about a jillion times and almost as many times by air.
I think I have been to every national park, every national forest, every state park, every county park
and every point of interest along any of the routes from one side of this country to the other.
I've even seen the world's biggest ball of string.
I lived in 11 states before I was 18 and I went to 13 schools before I graduated from high school.  
Amazingly I stuck to one college each for my bachelor's and master's degrees.
I have lived in the North East, all up and down both coasts, have lived in the south,
had a big dose of the midwest with my Father's western Kentucky/illinois/missouri roots,
and I've lived in the Rocky mountains.  Utah of all places. 

I had a hard time deciding if I wanted to be an artist or a scientist.  
There were so many things that interest me.  
I started doing art as a little kid, always loved math, 
had a serious flirtation with chemistry in high school and college, 
and a much more serious flirtation with the Romance Languages 
starting with my first Spanish class in 9th grade.  
I sort of I ended up doing it all..

I had my first "real" job in Washington, DC. I was a programmer for the National Education Association. 
In the 1960's I turned down that wonderful offer to work for NASA on the space flights 
because I couldn't bear the thought of living in Texas.
Too Hot.  Too Texan.

I taught college for several years--mostly math, some programming.  
I moved to industry, worked for some of the big boys in the computer industry.
I got to travel all over the world, and got to use some of my foreign languages.
My specialty was computer security--mostly operating system stuff.
I had work groups in China and India.  
I had my own business as a consultant for a while.  I still dabble in it from time to time.

I was briefly married, ended up raising my two sons on my own.  
It was difficult yet wonderful. My kids and I sort of grew up together.
We started out in San Diego, with me in Grad school.
Eventually we moved to the SF Bay area, then to Oregon, 
If the northward trend continues, maybe I will end up in Alaska.

I say, regarding my diverse interests, "it is all art to me!" 
because my many disciplines all make me think and feel the same way.
I see the same beauty and form in Mathematics as I see in Art.
I've been given the great gift of being whole-brained--able to work well out of both sides of my brain.

Mathematics, engineering, and, science are incredibly creative disciplines,
but I think you need to get somewhat deep into those disciplines to understand that.  
I try to be patient with my artist friends who think anyone who can think logically can't possibly be creative.
I try to tell them to think about Leonardo Da Vinci.  The man had it all.

Educated as a mathematician, a scientist and educator by trade, 
I have always been and will always be
an artist. 

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