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


Who is my audience?

The Three Graces

The Three Graces

I have asked myself this question often since starting this artblog. Those I want to reach, I suppose, are those “in the boat” with me. So parents out there whose lives have been taken over for the foreseeable future, tell me how you are handling life. No need to be an artist; how do you keep your essential self? I do not give all of myself into being a mother. I think that is the surest way (for me) to be a terrible parent. I need to retain me in order to be authentic. I think its great for the kids to see me in more than one dimension; just as I was impressed as a child that my mother wrote poetry and my father could put an extra room on the house.

Another answer to that question is, everyone! To create is one thing but to share it is quite another. To make my images public- whether five people or fifty people see them is part of this artist gig. I reach for a higher finish than if they’re just for me. Let me tell you a secret…..if I painted only for myself they would rarely be finished. The last stage of my paintings are for the viewer because when I look at a half finished painting, I already see it. But I want you to be able to see it too.