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Layers of Colour: Painting by Timothy J. Sullivan

abstract painting with white and yellow paintsLeaping Into Freedom, acrylic on wood panel

Timothy J. Sullivan is an artist who works in a less traditional manner than simple brushstrokes. His technique of scraping away layers of media to reveal the colours and patterns beneath creates images that are at once grounded by grid-like lines, and made up of ethereal notions of colour.


Timothy’s arsenal of tools includes palette knives, brushes and even painting rags, all of which create different patterns in the media that they interact with on the surface. His website,, shows many examples of tools used in different combinations, and the results they produce.


green and blue acrylic painting in abstract styleART LOVER, acrylic on wood panel with resin finish

I particularly enjoy Timothy’s use of colour, which is emphasized by his reductive, rather than additive, way of working.Layers of colour give way to other layers, creating an archaeological viewing experience. Timothy also occasionally uses thinner media such as ink to add a contrasting splatter effect to the images.


golden ink drawing on paperDhalgren's Fortune, ink on paper

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. She is a recent graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she studied Critical and Cultural Practices. She is passionate about talking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In her studio practice she is a painter, but she considers herself an art writer and educator foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises

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