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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Stay Tuned for More Leaves.

I find myself drawn to depicting plants. As I worked on this portrait of my begonia I tried to distill the reason why. It’s not news or unusual that I love to garden. I love the new foliage, the bright juicy colors, the delicate flowers. I love the feel of dirt and enter a happy trance while I weed. I value having something living in my space, especially through the dark cold months. For these reasons and a hundred more, planting and tending are a part of me. That, however, is not why I paint them so often. It is always the same three things that drive my work: abstraction, light, and negative space. I do use objects that I have an affinity for but only as tools to create fascinating (to me) passages, niches, nooks and transparencies. The end product is a naturalistic portrayal but that really is secondary or tertiary to me. Perhaps in the future I’ll allow that to fall away and paint what I love without the context. For right now, stay tuned for more leaves.IMAG5657IMAG5824IMAG5661IMAG5672


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!