Ellen Starr Lyon

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



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.



Post Show!

Well, the Opening Reception has come and gone. I felt prepared and was excited to see who might come. Around 4 pm the rain arrived…..and it poured and poured for hours. The reception was to be 5-8 pm. Despite the weather, so many people came! It was humbling to have concrete proof of the support of my friends, co-workers and family. It’s not very often that all the people I love line up to congratulate me for a solid 3 hours- felt like I’d just gotten married! What became clear that not matter what they felt about my artwork, they all recognize the sacrifice and effort it takes to pursue creation in the face of modern life. My “modern life” being a full-time working mother of two etc etc. I know that I find it incredibly inspiring to meet an artist that continues in the face of their own art-making obstacles, whatever they may be.

It was fantastic to be an artist for a night; to stand back and see the fruition of my efforts. It is tough to allow others to take a look and now that not everyone will like it or react to it in any way. Though enough had a smile or needed to stop to take in a small detail- that makes it all worth it. But, nothing beats being able to say I sold something on opening night- Thanks Margaret!



Local Artists Showcase 2012

I participated in a local artists showcase in February. One can’t help but mentally list the pros and cons of such a venture. I am no exception. I have mixed emotions though I feel like it was a success. I made money, 1000+ people saw my work, I was encouraged to apply for a show at a local venue but most importantly, I was brave enough to put myself out there. Something else that I have to mention, is the unabashed support and help from my family and friends. You rock! and I couldn’t have done it without you. This means you: Art, Mom and Dad, Ceci and her whole family, Aaron, Jennifer, Jessi, Jeanne, Lisa and her entourage, and the Matt-Anna duo. So many other friends dropped by- thank you!

The cons….there are always some, right? The worst is to sit at your own booth and squirm while strangers and friends alike look at your artwork. The friends that stop by are great! They chat with you, they compliment, and they build your confidence to man your station for the whole day (and in my case, sit with me at the booth AND buy art-thanks Ceci). The best things about friends and family showing up is that if they buy something- you will see it again. Of strangers,there are so many types. There are those who simply walk on by and those that stop to look. With the “stop and look” folks, you get your hopes up, but how to proceed? Some DO NOT want to be spoken to and don’t make eye contact then scurry away. Others are waiting for you to speak first and others are talking to you before they even reach your booth. None of this is ever a clue as to whether they’ll buy or not so you weather the storm and try to respond to subtle body language. Let it be said that I take no offense at any of these booth surveying habits (except maybe the ones that just walk on by) I myself, am one of thoes who’d rather just look and not talk. If I’m really interested, you’ll know. Overall, it feels too similar to sitting in my driveway selling at a garage sale.

I’d much rather show and sell in a gallery/shop setting. I like taking myself out of the equation. I love to show up at the reception and see my work beautifully hung and with space to really see each one but appreciate them as a group. I enjoy greeting friends and talking to new people that came to meet the artist. Then, I’m outta there! Anyone can come back and take a fresh look without the pressure to mingle and give themselves a chance to really connect with the art. If that happens, fantastic! They can purchase and leave a check at the desk and everyone is happy.