Ellen Starr Lyon

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


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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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

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Why Still Life?

small blue glass jar

small blue glass jar

Do you see a pattern in what I’ve posted so far? Still Life as far as the eye can see! This hasn’t always been my focus but has always been an interest. Or has it been THE focus? I also love to paint the human figure but it becomes a still life to me. This is because its the abstraction of what I see that drives me. This may seem odd to you because what I paint is recognizable. But what I see and what I love to reproduce on canvas is the negative space created, the light spilling over and through, and the contrast and energy of the colors I’m looking at. Don’t get me wrong, I love the items that I choose. They mean something to me and it’s wonderful to highlight these lovely everyday objects.

But what’s next? Do I take the abstraction further? Take what I see and leave the actual object behind? Maybe. I also love to play with extreme canvas shapes, empty space and crowded spaces. Let’s not forget the enchantment patterns hold over me. There’s some much going on in paintings that call to me, beyond the subject matter. For instance, take a look at the little sketch to the right. It is not finished or meant for anything or even any good. But I have it in my lab because it glows. The hot red vibrates against the blue/black and makes me giddy. Welcome to my brain and a wee bit of my creative process.