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.


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FROM THE GROUND UP. And in this case, a Venetian Red ground.

My most recent exhibition, Grown Compositions,  just opened last Friday at Gather in Bloomington, Indiana. The opening reception was three fantastic hours of greeting friends and family but also meeting the many art lovers in our town. I missed seeing my first buyer, so this is for her! S.P. here is your painting. I thought you might (and everyone else) enjoy seeing the underlying layers of it. It is a good example of my technique. I almost always start with a colored ground and then sketch in my composition- you can see the sketch in the first image. In larger paintings, this sketch is often altered, sometimes significantly but for smaller works, the sketching stage involves more planning. Next I will add the darkest areas and then the lightest, seen in image 2 and 3. This helps me to balance the composition and allows for the final glazing layers. Image number 4 shows the addition of the mid-tones- in this particular painting, the mid-tones were comprised of many different close shades of green. The final image shows what I think of as the “body colors”, the solid non-transparent colors. I had intended on taking another pass but the softness and velvety depth was already asserting itself and my deadline had come! So, S.P. enjoy your small plant portrait of Vinca Major and let me know if you have any questions.

Vinca Major 1 Vinca Major 2 Vinca Major 3 Vinca Major 4 Vinca Major 5


Upcoming exhibition @ Gather in August!

I had a fantastic 2 days during the Bloomington Open Studio Tours. I had to chance to show friends and family new work and to introduce visitors to my work for the first time. Those two days passed incredibly quickly. I sold several works including all of my marble paintings (large and small), a three piece set of my smoke bush studies and a demo piece I was working on all day Saturday. I heard from many who were unable to make it and those who want to continue to follow my work. Well,…..

Good News!

I will be exhibiting new work at Gather during the month of August. Gather Take a Look! is an incredibly adorable space filled with wonderful product created by local artists; it is located in Fountain Square Mall in downtown Bloomington. This show combines two of my passions: painting and gardening. It will be a body of work comprised completely of plant portraits. My intent is to create a body of work depicting specific aspects of plants that I adore rather than just pretty paintings of pretty things. I am attracted to the abstractness of repeating patterns, depth, color, texture, and translucence. All things that abound in nature. So please look beyond what plant you see to the elements which set it apart, just as you would with a portrait of a human face. Below are a few images of works in progress and a shot of me beginning Japanese Painted Fern.

These and others will (finger-crossed) be finished and hanging for the Opening Reception on Friday, August 7th.