Ellen Starr Lyon

commited to creating art while being a full-time working mom

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The 2016 Bloomington Open Studios Tour is over and I have so many to thank for a great weekend! A huge shout out goes to all my visitors and supporters. My parents came for a second year in a row to help me ready for the event (including providing the snacks), my husband and son got out of “Dodge” to create space, my friend Ceci covered the dog-watching and my daughter stuck around to clean and greet guests.The threat of thunderstorms made for a slow start but the visitors came in a steady stream afterwards.

In the days leading up and directly afterwards, I had 100+ visitors and sold work to new and experienced art collectors. Many took advantage of my once-a-year sale on “littles”, the 4″ x 4″ oil on canvas works created solely for this event. It is my way to insure than anyone that has the desire, can own an original piece of art. Buying from a local artist is the best way to start your collection and to support your local creative community. Who wants to live in a place where there’s no art being made? If making it is not your thing, you can still be an important part of the process. See below, shining examples of community art supporters! If you’ve ever bought a painting from me and don’t mind sharing a photo of you with your painting, please send me a copy at ellenstarrlyon@gmail.com. I will be creating a scrapbook on my blog to track the happy homes that my “children” have gone to. Many thanks in advance!!

For recent images of what’s happening in my studio, follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ellenstarrlyonfromthestudio and on Instagram @ellenstarrlyon or contact me for a private studio tour.

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Bloomington Open Studios Tour 2016!

Please join us June 4th and 5th to tour studios of over 35 local artists!


Come take a look around and ask questions. My studio will be open Saturday 10-6 pm and Sunday 10-4 pm. I will be at my easel doing demos, showing my technique and materials. My studio is in my home in the Sherwood Oaks neighborhood at 3629 S. Bainbridge Drive. SherwoodOaksNeighbors It is accessible and snacks will be provided to help you maintain your stamina as you travel from studio to studio.

There will be many works available for purchase including specially priced small paintings. These are priced for the event only- get one while they last. Everyone deserves the thrill of owning an original piece of art. Start your collection now! I will be happy to talk to you about custom commission pieces as well. I will be posting pictures of new works to my facebook studio page and on my studio Instagram account @ellenstarrlyon, follow both for the most recent event information

Pamphlets with artist information and maps to all the studios are available around town at sponsor locations and on our website. I am #13 on the tour- look for the sign and balloons!

A special preview of work by participating artists will be at the I FELL building and gallery on June 3rd during the gallery walk. First Fridays @ Fell. Come take a look and plan which studios you’ll visit the next day.


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completion of a commission

Last month I was asked by a friend of mine, on behalf of a group, to paint a specific image as a gift. I’ve never completed a commission for a group of people before but was thrilled. The painting is to be a gift based on a metaphor used in a conversation, “We’re definitely the cherry in a basket of apples and oranges!”It seems pretty straightforward and so will the final image, I suspect. But what isn’t are all the decisions made along the way.

Here is a short list of examples: what type of apples, what color and shape, how many of each fruit, what type of surface, what kind of “basket”, to add or not add a textile? The size was predetermined so one piece of the puzzle began it all. I went to the grocery and handpicked my fruit models and then sifted through my collection of bowls, baskets and fabric. Long before a brush touches the canvas, there is set-up. Set-up is composing the still life: adjusting folds, items, lighting and shadows. Then in turn, composing of the painting: balance of objects, light, line and spacing on the actual picture plane. I’ve included a photograph of me painting, it shows both the set-up and the final composition. Sometimes, these are quite different. I have also included a photograph of the first composition which I later abandoned and started over from scratch. It may seem like a small change but was huge to me. The bowl of fruit needed to make a stronger impact and in a practical sense, the star of the show, the cherry, needed to be larger. For me it comes down to what feels right.

Commissions are a great way to partner with an artist whose work you admire but to also add something of yourself, whether it is an idea for an image or an object that has significant meaning. I know that I am happy to participate and judging from the big smiles above, the result can hit just the right note.

If interested in commissioning a painting, large or small, please contact me at ellenstarrlyon@gmail.com . 





Ceramic Gift, oil on canvas 2016 11″ x 14″

I thought you might enjoy an update on the painting I will be submitting to the Pygmalion’s Wed Night Art Show with Saffron. I’ve got my tube of Saffron, do you? Again, all proceeds from sales of Saffron benefit Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County. I am quickly running out of time so final decisions need to be made. What will I focus on? I can choose to highlight the design and texture of the red satin pillow case, I can add the myriad on reflections and colors on the three ceramic pieces or can geek out on the natural wood grain of the surface the objects are on. Who knows but hopefully you’ll be able to discern my choices when you stop by to see the final piece!


Wed Nite Art Show with Saffron at Pygmalion’s Art Supplies


The title refers to annual event at Pygmalion’s Art Supplies in Bloomington. Here is a description of the event from their website:

Announcing our Wednesday Night Art Show: Wednesday, April 20, from 5:00-9:00, right here at Pygmalion’s! Each year we invite everyone to buy a tube of our Custom Color, use it in a work of art, and enter the work in our one night art show and party. We hang the work all around the store, and offer a delicious buffet of gourmet food prepared by Pygmalion’s owner John Wilson.

For photos from last year’s Custom Color Art Show and Party, please visit our Cat’s Tail page and scroll to the bottom of the page.

This year’s deadline for submitting artwork with Saffron is Monday, April 18 at 6:00. At least $600 in prizes will be awarded by juror Heidi Gealt, Director Emeritus of the IU Art Museum.

Whether or not you have submitted work, we hope you will come see the show, and enjoy some delicious food, on Wednesday, April 20th!

I try to always buy the special color especially because all proceeds from the sales benefit a charity; this year it is Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County. I’m not sure if the painting I started (above) will be what I enter but I do like to show process shots. These photos show the roughing in of a composition over another painting. Who doesn’t want to see a drawing over a gravity defying bowl of fruit? This painting is inspired by two USA ceramic pieces I was given by my mom on Easter. Thanks, ma! Check back to see the evolution of this work or to see if I choose another to highlight this years’ color.

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From The Studio


Beginning Stages of Fern Painting, over an existing sketch

Hello all, I encourage you to check out my Facebook page, Ellen Starr Lyon- From the Studio: https://www.facebook.com/ellenstarrlyonfromthestudio  . Please “like” my page to see current projects, content and everyday happenings from my home studio. I post new work available for purchase, recent and upcoming events, and a glimpse into my creative life. To schedule a studio visit, purchase a work or to commission a painting, contact me at ellenstarrlyon@gmail.com . Thank you for visiting and plan on stopping by June 4th and 5th during the Bloomington Open Studios Tour 2016!