Category Archives: Artworks

Evolution: Polka Dots

My finishing process

Once a painting is completely done, and I’m satisfied, I sign it. Signing is important for many reasons as you can imagine, not the least of which is to signal myself that I should leave the thing alone. Done, already! I’m careful to place the signature in a location that will either enhance or at least not take away from the composition. These days I’m using a little squeeze bottle with a fine tip to paint my signature on my paintings, though I’m not locked into that. It’s just easier to write.

After the signature is completely dry, an isolation coat of acrylic polymer medium, a Golden product, is brushed on. One or two coats are used, depending on how much texture there is on the piece. I dry this layer about 24 hours.

Finally, two coats of a varnish go over the isolation coat. I use Golden UV Varnish in a satin finish. I used to use gloss, which allows the depth of color to show, and I really like that. Many of my paintings are finished with gloss. But the trade off is that the glossy finish reflects light, making it slightly harder to light, or to view in person and also causes specular highlights when photographing the art.I tried matte varnish, but to me the end result looked almost foggy. Matting agent is made of tiny particles in the medium that refract light, so of course it will look foggy. The happy medium (do I sound like Goldilocks?) is satin varnish. It’s a blend of gloss and matte, and the appearance is a pleasing, almost waxy looking finish. That’s nice because of the current interest in encaustics.  The varnish should be brushed on slowly and evenly, avoiding bubbles. I use a wide soft brush that won’t shed. The varnish will seek it’s own level and dries within about an hour. I leave a space heater on in the room, and a window open as it’s somewhat toxic.

Nest time, I’ll show you a new trick I learned about attaching hanging wires.



Sylvia - Copyright 2014 L. Hensley

Habitude at the Locks — Ballard Art Walk 1/11/14

Ballard Art Walk!

Reception Saturday January 11, 5:30-8:30PM
Exhibit: January 11 through March 5

Lynette Hensley, the Flying Redhead

What do you get when you attend a Flying Redhead reception at Habitude?! A touch of whimsy, an ounce of humor, and thoughtful beauty to contemplate. I will have my new work on exhibit, and of course it’s all for sale. Consider owning a piece, or just coming to visit us at a fun location and event. Our host, Habitude, will throw a wonderful reception! And it’s this Saturday night!

Habitude is a salon and spa, as well as a gallery, located in wonderful walkable Ballard.

Habitude at the Locks
2801 NW Market Street
Seattle, WA 98107
Open every day: 8:30-9

Visit the website for more information and a map
I hope you can come — this will be one of the biggest shows of my year.
I’m really looking forward to seeing you!

Trio by Lynette Hensley

Happy New Year! A look back at 2013

2013 was a year of super creativity in my studio. It was a year of learning and experimenting with different ways of making images, different ways of organizing an image on a surface, and playing with paint. Naturally that leads to some new looks, maybe a change of direction in style, subject matter, and hopefully an expansion and improvement of my abilities. And, happily, it was also lots of fun!

I made a decision to not include images that others created in my collage work. If I include collage, it will be with paper I’ve made.

I also geared my art life back up this year. My goal was to have 6 shows this year, which was accomplished. I was thinking I’d do fewer this next year, but I’m re-thinking that. More shows means that more people will see my work.

NEAT: North End Arts Tour December 6-8

Please join me and 30 other artists for this studio tour throughout North Seattle, December 6-8. I will be in studio 4, as a guest of Sandra Spear, a handmade glass bead jewelry artist, along with Priscilla Peterson, who is an embellished garments artist. I will be the token painter! 😉 I expect that the weekend will be inspiring! neat-mapA

I do have new work to show and I’d love to share it with you. It will all be for sale of course, along with the jewelry and clothing at our studio, just in time for the holidays. And if you just need a creative outing, this is a great way to spend a day, or the whole weekend!

More information about the event at the NEAT Seattle website:

There you can get a PDF of the entire brochure. Pick up a passport at your first site, and get it stamped at all 7 sites by Sunday night for a chance to win dinner for 2 at Kisaku Restaurant.

Hope to see you there!

My best,



What paint can do

Discovering the joy of painting is like learning a new song. You learn the notes, the tempo, rhythm, where to breathe, where to be fast or slow, to pause and go. Theres a time for loud and a time for soft. Painting is the same but it’s in another language. I’m working on some little fun paintings right now that are helping me uncover some interesting color combos, discover the power of gray, and when to choose a cool one or create a warm one. I’m putting more paint on the canvas than in past work. Maybe this is obvious, but when you get enough paint on the canvas to be a little dimensional, it looks more like, well more like a painting.

Putting down a layer of tissue paper or rice paper changes the surface enough for me and takes away the problematic canvas texture. Ofcourse tissue paper can also be a problem if there is an unfortunately placed wrinkle in it. But that can be overcome with…more paint, or even some molding medium.

I’ve made a decision to paint more and collage less, and also not to use images for collage…no photos or pictures from books. Ok Paint…teach me!

Learning new ways

20130620_170026Part of this summer I have spent learning some new ways to make art.  Recent viewing of DVD workshops by Anne Bagby and Carla O’Connor led to some of my new work, pictured in process here. I have appreciated Anne Bagby’s work, and even own 3 tiny works of hers. Her highly patterned, intuitive process matches and inspires my heart for layering materials and mixing patterns to create interesting surfaces. It’s akin to some of the work I did in fabric as a costume designer.

Carla’s instruction is interesting to me, and watching her go through the process of a painting has encouraged me to let go of some ill conceived wish for perfection…I know better, but it creeps in. Carla works in gouache, and I work in acrylic and collage, but many concepts and processes apply.

She's Got Plans

Art Talk at Artist’s Connect: She’s Got Plans

“She’s Got Plans”


I have a background in theater costume design, so my paintings often have stories behind them, like a scene from a play.

I’ve thought a lot about subtext through the years — Subtext is that thing that a person is saying to themselves while they are saying other things out loud.

The thought that this character had her life plan tattooed on herself captured my imagination.  Her rooms were to be named for secret thoughts or hopes, or fears, things she was dealing with or refused to deal with. All that subtext right out there for everyone to see.  I needed a strong character, and I found her and added this layer of a blueprint or floor plan.  I was not intending this project to be autobiographical — didn’t start that way at all.

Sometimes I get stuck in concept land — where the concept and the way the painting comes together just don’t gel. Paintings get set aside, and are later revisited, sometimes trashed, sometimes layered over with better ideas.

This painting took awhile because I started it just before I met my husband. It waited patiently for me, while I spent time getting to know him, and while I changed and my hopes and dreams changed. He and I found ourselves collaborating to rename the rooms

The floor plan became more hopeful, more autobiographical, and a stronger painting. My hope is that the image is strong from a distance, that it invites you to look closer and when you do, her thoughts, her “subtext” is revealed.


Altered Ancestors

LHensley-TragicWe begin with fine photographic portraiture, the late 19th century cabinet card, a visual record of the stiff Victorian era.

Oh these people! How can I get inside and find out who they really are? How can I tell their stories? How frustrating… little handsome jewel boxes with Pandora’s emotional treasures inside.

Like making short scenes from a play, I added characters from Leonardo’s sketchbooks, layered over the portrait sitters to speak to the emotional undertow, the subtext. Adding words clarifies the scene, because I’d actually like you to know what the piece is about. And if you like ambiguity, don’t worry, there is plenty of ambiguity left for you too.

Materials used:

• Late 19th c Cabinet cards: The cabinet card was the style of photograph which was universally adopted for photographic portraiture in 1870. It consisted of a thin photograph that was generally mounted on cards measuring 4¼ by 6½ inches. Wikipedia

• Images from Leonardo da Vinci’s sketchbooks: Collage lends itself to exploring layer of meaning. Images that come from two different cultures, time periods.

• Words from a large print book

• Vintage file tabs and papers, handwritten letters/invoices/attic finds.

The Column Before the Storm

“The Column Before the Storm”, collage and acrylic painting on gallery wrap canvas, 15″ x 30″ x 1″, 2012

Juxtaposing architecture and costume, this piece explores the feminine nature of the Greek Ionic column, and the curves. It also explores the columnar nature of a woman, an upstanding pillar of the community, the calm vertical that withstands social weather, and the female support role in society’s structure. Plus, she’s pretty.

She is a part of an architecture/clothing series that I got started in a collaborative effort with someone back in 2005 or thereabouts, and while the collaborative project fizzled, this painting did not.