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A catch up with Mary Sullivan from Cork

With the support of Clúid, Mary Sullivan, a Clúid resident in Cork, held her first solo art exhibition in 2017. The main photo was taken of Mary and her family at the exhibition, which was also attended by the then Lord Mayor of Cork, Councillor Des Cahill.

In March 2019, Mary helped to celebrate our 25th anniversary at Áras an Uachtaráin. She presented one of her art pieces to the President on behalf of Clúid. We caught up with her to ask her what that day meant to her, and more recently to see how she had found the last year under restrictions.

Mary, you joined us at our meeting with the President of Ireland in 2019 – how did it feel to present him with one of your paintings as a gift from Cluid?
It was an honour to present the president with one of my original paintings. I had a great day up in Áras an Uachtaráin which is surrounded by lovely gardens, which I enjoyed exploring. It gave me ideas for new paintings. I was delighted to see recently on social media a memory popped up on President Higgins Facebook page of that day and it was good to see the painting again.

How have you found the last year living under the restrictions? I know a lot of artists felt the challenge of being stuck indoors and the stress of the pandemic itself – it doesn’t necessarily inspire you to want to create. What was your experience of that? Was your art a welcome focus during the last year? Or did you find it difficult to paint?
Unfortunately, I haven’t been doing many paintings as my tutor is unable to visit due to the covid restrictions. I need him to set up my art materials: I also miss the guidance he gives me and the great fun we have together. I have been doing a lot of arts and crafts but it’s not the same.

Nature comes across as a really strong theme in your art – would that be right? Do your paintings then reflect places that you’ve been to, or perhaps want to visit some day?
Yes, my paintings are mainly landscape as it is a style of painting that suits my physical limitations. And abstract art also suits my style. I like to leave the theme of the type of paintings I do to the imagination of the person viewing it to interpret in their own way. I get a lot of inspiration from photographs with striking colours rather than specific places. I also like the work of Monet so I get a lot of my ideas from that type of work.

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