Author Archives: Lynette Hensley

Merry Christmas 2014

Yesterday was Solstice, and that my dear friends, begins to bring relief to the darkness of winter nights. I choose to live in Seattle, where the light is scarce anyhow, and in the winter, it’s scarcer still. But solstice brings the light around again, and hope for warmer weather in a few months, and I compulsively make plans for the new year, and the next season of art work and shows. But that seems way too practical for me on this first night after solstice.

Tonight I want to pause and be grateful for the dark. In the dark I see less, and don’t get distracted by details. I can stop to thank God for the gift of loving people that surround me. For my mother who noted early on that I had a special art gene and nurtured all creative pursuits throughout my forming years. Mom is in nursing care, so I’m grateful for the nurses that care for her daily. I’m grateful for the chance to travel 5 hours by gas powered car on a smooth road with all the cars going in the same direction so I could see her eyes and make sure she knows I love her.

In the dark I can close my eyes and focus on my husband’s grayer-than-last-year bearded face with the curled mustache that makes him look like he’s permanently smiling. I’m grateful for my husband who always supports our mutual and individual creative pursuits, and participates in wordplay with me when the art is ready for naming.

In the dark I can consider how much light and joy my grandchildren bring to my life. Through the babies, I am reminded to wonder about things, and not just think I already know them. Through the adolescent ones I’m reminded to be passionate and move ahead with confidence, even if I’m mistaken. Most of the time it doesn’t matter anyway, but life is much better with passion.

In the dark I can imagine about the ones that are gone, and I hope that we will see each other once again, in some form, be it solid or ethereal. I imagine we will take the form of something that flies, like a bird or a cloud, but that doesn’t matter either. They are loved, and so am I, and the memories are enough.



Morgue File

What is a morgue file?

I used to keep a collection of images, a mini library of cuttings and photos to inspire and inform my costume design work. Standard practice for artists and designers, many fellow designers had impressive collections depending on their interests the projects they had worked on, and the space they had available for storage. When I was costume designing it was not unusual to need to research multiple time periods, locations, economic classes, cultures, and art styles, and of course this was before computers were used to store images and files. My hard copy collection consisted of interesting clothes, bodies in poses useful for rendering costumed characters for dances and plays, makeup ideas, hairstyles, undergarments, clothing for everyone from kings to clergy, and soldiers to peasants. I had sections for colors, fashion periods, hairstyles, weaponry, accessories, poses, animals, art styles, architecture, furniture. Really, anything of interest. As you can imagine, it could easily get out of hand.

Thank goodness for Pinterest, Evernote and Dropbox now.

Pinterest board

How I use a morgue file now

Now I have a morgue file for painting inspirations in Pinterest and Evernote. I use Pinterest mostly for the visual inspirations, and Evernote for the writing and notes. It’s not that different from my old morgue file, except for the storage space. Here I collect poses, faces, hands, compositions, painting styles, color schemes, concept ideas. In Pinterest I’ve kept some of my boards secret, others are shared. I refuse to steal, but I do participate in the time honored artist practice of responding to the work of other artists whether it’s borrowing a method of applying paint or trying on a composition that worked for someone else. There are trends, after all, and I always offer my own personal spin, colorway, palette, and hand to the project. I find inspiration in other artists, and images, and refer to them from time to time as I’m doing my own work. It’s a natural extension of being a theater designer!

Photographing my art – beginner level

Photographing your art

I set out to learn about photographing my art for two reasons:

  • to get better photos for submission to shows
  • to have good enough digital images that can be reproduced as prints

The kind of art work I am photographing is 2 dimensional most of the time, with some 3d.
Up till now I have used my phone, my tablet, and another digital camera with a wide angle lens to take photos of my work. BUT the photos came out with a gold cast from incandescent lights, and I could never get them quite straight, or with high enough resolution to make prints I could sell. So the equipment I had didn’t really allow me to do what I wanted.

I am part of the way along in understanding how to do this for myself.

Here’s what I have set up for photographing so far:

  • A backdrop of very dark blue velvet (I had this on hand — I would prefer black) The velvet absorbs most of the light, and it doesn’t seem to affect the color appreciably.
  • A vertical easel. I once used some hanging grids that  an artist friend had loaned me for another purpose. The grids actually worked better for me, but I own the easel.
  • A Nikon D5200 camera purchased at Sam’s club on sale. I recently got this very nice camera — this was the commitment moment for me. I decided to take this project on and learn how to photograph my own art.
  • The Camera came with two lenses. I use the Nikkor 55-200mm telephoto, and avoid all wide angle lenses for this purpose.
  • A tripod. I read reviews, and picked a Bower telescoping model that seemed substantial enough and would go high enough to photograph larger works.
  • Lighting. Two light stands with reflectors and white umbrellas. There was conflicting info about the need or usefulness of these lights — it’s just the way I chose to go for now.
  • (Something like this:
  • The camera came with a bluetooth connection that connects to my phone or tablet so that I could take a photo without touching the camera. This has proven to be VERY helpful. I can preview the image on the tablet, which is MUCH bigger than the viewfinder.
  • A polarizing filter – This is to reduce or eliminate specular highlights, those annoying reflections off the highpoints of your painting. I have not figured out how to work this yet.

camera set up

Several concepts I found helpful:


  • You are not trying to focus the light, but get a diffused, evenly lit appearance.
  • Do not point the lights directly at the flat surface, but using two lights, set them at angles (I use 45 degrees to the right and left, at the same height as the surface you are photographing.
  • The camera goes between the lights.

Camera set up

  • Camera and image must be level for best results.
  • Fill the camera view finder with the image, leaving a small border for cropping later.
  • Watch for distortions — make the image square in the viewfinder for best results. This can be very challenging.
  • I place a white card in the photo off to the side to give me something to compare for white balance.
  • I set the camera to take a jpg and a raw image for each shot.
  • ISO 100 to 200
  • Aperture 5-6 is the recommended.

Varnishing the painting

  • I varnish my paintings to finish and protect them. I used to use gloss, but have changed to eggshell which seems to help prevent specular highlights, and I like the change.


  • I have to read the manual each time I do this, so you can see I’m in the learning stages.
  • I have not figured out how to set the white balance in the camera yet.

I am a fairly experienced Photoshop user, at least for the way I use it.
I know how to balance the colors, fix shapes and minor edits of reflections.
One thing I haven’t learned yet is how to use the white card I’ve placed in a photo to correct color in either the camera or Photoshop.

If you have info that could fill in the blanks, please share. It would be most appreciated.


Here’s the article that got me started.


Popplies and Peoplies

NEAT Seattle Studio Tour December 5-7, 2014

Next big show coming up is NEAT Seattle, a studio tour. I will be a guest of Sandy Spear, and Priscilla Peterson will also be with us. Sandy makes glass beads, and jewelry from the beads, and Priscilla makes wearable art clothing. Looking forward to sharing the tour weekend with these two lovely women! December 5-7, 2014

Headstones by Lynette Hensley Headstones

I will bring more of my new 3D figures “The Actors,” the “Headstones,” some smaller paintings and collages and matted prints for gift giving. Great time of the year for purchasing totally unique gifts!

Link to Studio Tour Site


Queen 3, by Lynette Hensley

New Work for Edmonds Art Studio Tour

Some interesting additions to my artworks! I’m calling them The Actors. I currently have five figures to show. This is a fun departure from 2 dimensional paintings and collages, and more akin to what I did in my costuming days.

Meet the twins, called “Illumin-naughty” and “Illumin-nice.”
Then there is “Nearly 12”, mostly because he sports an 11 on the pool ball.
The first one I made, her name is “First Lady.” Simply named.
Finally there’s “Queen 3”, pictured above. She came back from her vacation in the tropics wearing a wooden pineapple bowl.

IlluminsSm Almost-12sm First-LadySm

Also a new thing I have done is called “Headstones.” Yep, heads on stones. Kinda cool as paperweights or desk toys.

Headstones by Lynette Hensley

Fun at the Edmonds Waterfront – An Art Demo Day

EAFArtists in ActionSunday, July 27 I was with 3 other artists at the Edmonds Waterfront, demonstrating how I make and use some of my tools for my art.  I was showing how I hand carve rubber stamps, the papers that I stamp to create pattern and textures for collage materials, as well as some finished and in-progress collages. Kim Day, NW Polymer Clay Guild member — working with polymer to make beads. Lynette Hensley, collage artist and painter — hand carving stamps & show how she uses them. Carol Meckling, acrylic painter — happily drawing a pet portrait for you! Betty Melhoff, NW Polymer Clay Guild member — creating buttons from Polymer clay. On this beautiful sunny day, we were entertained by some college jazz players right next to us, and there was a steady flow of curious lookers! Thanks for coming down to beautiful Puget Sound to have a chat! And thank you to the Edmonds Art Festival Foundation for the opportunity to show a bit of our processes right there in the public eye. EAFArtists in Action3Artists in Action 2014 Photos by Meredith Arnold

Lynette's Work table

Edmonds Art Studio Tour 2014

This year,  September 20 & 21, once again I will be participating in the Edmonds Art Studio Tour. This event has become a destination, gaining in popularity and acclaim, and is now in its 9th year! I was fortunate to be a guest artist at Cami Smith’s studio that first year, was at Lynn Scott’s studio last year, and this year will be in Studio 11, with Mona Fairbanks in her studio, along with Robin Westbrook with her beaded jewelry.

This year I will have paintings as well as some 3D work, assemblage figures that I’m working on as of this summer, as well as some less expensive work, drawings, paint sketches, small collages and prints. People have shown an interest in these works, so I’m bringing them along for the tour.

In preparation for this year’s tour, we thought it would be good to give folks a chance to get to know us better, and so we put together an artist interview project. Here’s mine!

Photos from last year with Lisa JonesMoore and Lynn Scott:




Photos from the first year with Cami Smith, Cami’s mom and Pat, pictured below with happy hands!




Here’s the link to the Edmonds Art Studio Tour 2014!

#EAST #EdmondsArtStudioTour #LynetteHensley #FlyingRedhead

September 20 & 21, 2014

On the easel today, 6/4/14

Looking at the last show I had up, I noticed a preponderance of quinacrodone burnt orange which in one way, holds the show together, and in another, it seems like it could be time to add some new colors to the palette. So I started working with a small palette of Quin gold and ultramarine blue, titan buff, and Van Dyke brown hue, and I liked what came from that today.

In an attempt to add to the flower collection, I chose to start with dogwoods. They make me remember Georgia and Virginia in the spring, with the pink ones and white ones blooming everywhere and the cicadas singing in the rise and fall of their songs. I like the flow of the flowers across the canvas. This first one is just a start. It will end up quite different — at least it usually does.


Then inspiration hit with a photo of a dear one, and I made a portrait. Because it didn’t become a likeness of her, I will try again, but I still like where it ended up. There may be some slight finishing to do, but she’s very close to done.

portrait-in-progressweb portrait-6-4-14-web

I played lots of loud music to help me quiet the rest of the world. All in all, satisfying studio time.