Esco Alley Art
A mural street art project in Downtown Escondido in North County San Diego.
Joanne Sullivan
Bamboo Fun

When I was asked a couple of years ago to paint a mural, I couldn’t think how I would translate Chinese Brush Painting on to a mural using acrylic paints. This year, I finally accepted the challenge and I’m glad I did. “Bamboo Fun” is my first painting using acrylic paints, the largest canvas I’ve ever painted … and I LOVED it!

Painting in the Chinese Brush Painting style is quick and spontaneous, a discipline where you load the brush in a particular way with the darkest ink or color on the tip of the brush and with one stroke, you’re done. Once you make that first stroke, you cannot go back, you can only go forward. Each stroke determines your outcome. No strokes are ever the same, no matter how hard you try. It was not difficult choosing the subject of bamboo for this painting, after all, it seems, I live and breathe bamboo and the new center of my life … my 4 grandchildren.

From the top down:

James, happy go lucky, always a big smile on his face with a can do attitude.
Derrick, “handsome” his nickname in preschool is a thinker, wise beyond his years.
Julian, the musician, loves life, remembers every little detail and doesn’t miss a beat.
Lily, all smiles, a foodie and determined, don’t get in her way!

I am blessed. I hope you enjoy this painting as much as I did painting it.



Born in Jamaica, third generation of Chinese heritage, her 2 grandfathers and one grandmother came to Jamaica from Guangzhou, China. One grandmother was born in Jamaica. 

Joanne has worked in various art mediums as well as photography, weaving and pottery. Her painting began as a decoration for her pottery, but she quickly realized she preferred painting on paper. In 1978, after moving to Florida she was fortunate to study Chinese Brush Painting in the traditional Ling Nan style with the renown Chinese brush painting masters Chow Chiang Chiu and Chow Leung Chen Ying. She has since studied with master calligrapher Shantien Tom Chow in San Diego, at the China Art Academy in Hangzhou, China and James Tan from Vancouver. Canada.

Joanne painted bamboo for a full year, mastering the nuances of the strokes and gradations of ink. Little did she realize bamboo would be a huge part of her future when she and her husband, Tom Sullivan, a woodworker, made the first bamboo cutting board.

Her favorite subjects are flowers, landscapes, animals and calligraphy. “I especially love to paint flowers and baby animals. Birds and insects brings life to flowers on paper and who can resist the innocent expressions of a baby. Calligraphy keeps the qi my strokes”

She has sold and exhibited at art shows and galleries and in 2004, her painting was used on a Jamaican postage stamp depicting 150 years of Chinese in Jamaica.  

“I love the spontaneity of Chinese Brush Painting. There is nothing to compare the satisfaction you get from loading the brush with just the right gradation of ink or color, making swift bold strokes that captures the spirit and vitality of the subject.”

 Escondido is for artists. 

Come & CElebrate!!

2023 Esco Alley Art Party

Explore 12 new murals, and join us for birthday cake to celebrate Mayor Dane White’s birthday.

4 PM on Saturday, September 9th

Alley Art Party with DJ & cake, Free and Open to All, with food available for purchase from Doña Rosa Raspados. 

Find us in the alley south of Grand Ave between Kalmia and Juniper.

Global Roots Mural Mosaic Unveiling

America Connects West Mural

Music, Food, Friends, and Art!

Maple Street Plaza
Escondido, CA 92025

Join us for the Unveiling!

Sunday March 26, 3pm

Let's party!

2022 Esco Alley Art Party

Come celebrate the addition of 12 new murals with our artists in Downtown Escondido!

3 PM on Saturday, November 12th

Alley Art Party with Live Music, Free and Open to All!

Find us in the alley south of Grand Ave between Broadway and Kalmia.

Call For Artists

2023 Season

Esco Alley Art exists because of our wonderful artists. Apply today to participate in our next round of murals.

Thank you!

We so appreciate your generosity.