HOULTON, Maine — Since moving to Aroostook County five years ago, Littleton artist Frank Sullivan has made a big impact on the regional art scene. He has displayed his work in local shows, taught art classes to area residents and also educated Northern Maine Community College students about art appreciation.
Now, the Massachusetts native is showcasing his talents for a broader audience as a result of a partnership with the Blue Moon Gallery in Houlton.
Sullivan will show his oil paintings and pastel drawings at the gallery, which is inside Visions on Main Street, from Jan. 28 through March 26.
An opening reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Jan. 28. The artist also will be giving a talk about his work and his process at 3:30 p.m. March 3 at the Blue Moon Gallery.
A full-time artist with a bachelor’s degree in visual arts from College of the Holy Cross, Sullivan also studied printmaking at the American University on a graduate fellowship and later studied graphic design and illustration at the School of The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and figure drawing at the Worcester Art Museum.
He moved to Aroostook County in 2006 after working as a graphic designer, illustrator, art director and art instructor in the Boston area.
Sullivan said that there were many things about The County that attracted him, including the abundance of trees and the vast, wide-open spaces throughout the region. Since moving to Littleton, he has spent a great deal of time putting what he sees in front of him on canvas. Farmhouses, fields and potato houses are favorite im-ages and he incorporates weather into much of his work, whether it is by showing a farm at sunset, a potato field dotted with snow or a pink sky hugging a forest.
Once settled at his Littleton home, Sullivan converted a potato house on his property into a studio and gallery, where he displays his work and teaches drawing and painting classes throughout the year.
In 2009, Sullivan’s work was featured in a show at the Mark and Emily Turner Library in Presque Isle. He has won numerous awards for his art, which hangs in private collections throughout the country.
The Houlton show will feature a selection of oil paintings and pastel drawings inspired by the agricultural landscape of Aroostook County, particularly the Littleton and Monticello area, Sullivan said earlier this week. Sullivan said his work focuses on capturing qualities of light, weather conditions and times of day by using bold colors and a painterly application of materials which emphasize the act of painting and the artist’s materials, rather than descriptive details of the subjects.
“I have no interest in merely ‘describing’ particular places or things,” he explained. “I’m more interested in creating emotional statements — physical manifestations of the personal feelings I experienced when I looked at whatever it was that I chose to be the subject of my picture. My process involves looking at nature for com-positional elements and color relationships that I can develop into pictures that transcend mere physical description of the subject matter.”
Since coming to The County, Sullivan has become heavily involved with the arts community. He teaches drawing and art appreciation classes at Northern Maine Community College and art classes and workshops at the Wintergreen Art Center in Presque Isle. He has served on the board of the Southern Aroostook Cultural Arts Project in Houlton, and he also serves on the board of the Houlton Star Bright Children’s Theatre.
His work also can be seen at Visions and The Courtyard Cafe, both in Houlton, The Eastport Gallery in Eastport and Morningstar Art and Framing in Presque Isle, and he has four paintings on display at the Capitol in Augusta. His work can be viewed online at http://rainbarrowstudio.blogspot.com/.
The Houlton exhibit is presented by the Southern Aroostook Cultural Arts Project. SACAP is a nonprofit, volunteer organization that works to foster an arts community in northern Maine. The exhibition at the Blue Moon Gallery, 532-9119, can be seen during regular hours: Tuesdays through Fridays from noon to 5 p.m., and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.