This body of work began sometime in the mid 1990's, as an experiment, seeing if I could adhere a dress to a canvas and create a painting over all the textures. "Dress painting" is a term I came up with to explain these when I simply couldn't think of anything better. Over the years they have evolved, with new elements of collage being added. Dress patterns, photographs, and embroidery all appear from time to time, as well as lino block prints, rubber stamps and gold leaf. I will use this space to explore the beginnings of this series, as well as showing my latest work. If the piece is available for sale you'll find the price at the bottom. Free shipping in the U.S. Contact me at kallencole@aol.com to purchase.

Would you like to see my full website? Head over to KathrineAllenColeman.com

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A color junkie

Everyone is probably familiar with the idea of an artist's palette. Usually the first thing that comes to mind is that kidney shaped flat thing with a hole for the thumb. I have been painting for over 20 years now, and I've never actually used one of those! Empty yogurt and cottage cheese containers are usually my palette of choice, with a nice slick expanse of tempered glass as a backup from time to time. But today, I am stitching some of my little "Paper Dolls," so a wad of embroidery thread is my palette.
My grandmother taught me how to embroider sometime around the second grade. I remember even then being mesmerized by the shiny floss, how the deep saturated colors changed as the light hit. I still love to look at these, line them up sorted into analogous colors, or from pure hue to more neutral shades. I think we call that play?
Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Atta Boy

The question I get asked most often at art shows is definitely "do you do commissions?" But I am also often asked "why don't you do boy's clothes?" Well I do, but pretty much only as commissions. "Atta Boy" was requested to be a companion piece for a little dress painting I did called "Smarty Pants."
"Atta Boy" has a background of transferred Farmers Almanac pages, it is glazed over with quinacridone gold. A row of buttons from a Navy jacket runs along the top. The name is stitched through the canvas, and the oval shape is surrounded by a line of little brass beads. And yes, the little overalls were blue, but I still repaint them entirely to give them lots of depth. This was a fun piece to do, especially because I was given lots of freedom in the process, simply a companion. Something that would feel good in Iowa. Both hang in an oral surgery office, I hope they bring smiles.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Paper dolls and the flip side

Here is the latest paper doll. I've taken this one one small tiny step further by choosing pink as the color of the embroidery thread rather than green. Pink and this green are a complimentary discord, a term color theory fans are probably familiar with. This is because red and green are complementary colors, as they sit opposite each other on the color wheel. But they also become a discord when the value of the colors, (meaning the lightness or darkness) are changed. Red, in it's pure form is a darker value than green in it's pure form, so when you lighten one, or in this case both, so that they are of similar value, or the red (pink) is even lighter than the green you get a discord.

I have always been color theory obsessed, it may even be a medical condition.

And, I have to announce, this is the first piece I have done as a "grown up" that has a touch of that dreaded craft supply...glitter! Cheap? Maybe. Tawdry? Possibly, but I must say I do like it in this case!

And I often have people browsing through these little pieces at a show, and they often can't really tell what they are. Is this paint? Do you use glue? Possibly just a general need for reading glasses, but I thought I'd show you the flip side. All the embroidery work is stitched through the paper, as are the beads and buttons. These little babies routinely take 3 hours or more to complete. Fortunately though not all this needs to be done in studio, I'll often stitch these while Scott is driving the van to a show, or in the hotel room, wherever that is, even at a show if the crowds are light.

That's it for now, have a great day!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The paper dress blues

One of the things that I like about this blog is that I can post something whenever I start down a new road. It doesn't have to be major, something worthy of a whole new web page, just something like this. This little paper series that I've been doing along with the big dresses on canvas has taken a little shift. Rather than strictly using paint, I've started to collage art papers on top of the pattern pieces. This opens up a whole bunch of decorative possibilities, and gives me a good excuse to buy some of the beautiful hand made papers at the art supply store!
And little ideas rarely stay little for long, my mind is already mulling over ways to expand on these. I guess that's why they call it a creative process, one thing always seems to lead to another.
This piece is 5" square and framed in acid free materials. Sold

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Good Show

Good Show! As children, putting on a show was one of the highlights of visiting my grandparent's house. My cousins, my sister, and I would arrange variety shows and fashion shows where we would parade through the living room dressed in Grandma's and even Great Grandma's stored away treasures. Singing, dancing, it was a hoot. And we certainly weren't alone. Many women come into my booth and tell me their similar stories when they see this piece. The photo transfers are of my mother and her cousins doing the same thing about 20 years earlier. The dress is from sometime in the 1950's, and the little lines of red stitching in the background represents the imaginary red velvet curtain. Although we all know that bed sheets on the clothes line work just as well!

Good show is 24" square, and will be showing with the rest of my work tomorrow and through the weekend at "Main St. Fort Worth" in Ft. Worth Texas. Hope to see you there!

"Good Show" has sold (yay!)

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Motormouth made it to Houston! She arrived unfinished, the stitching of her name across the top, and placing and sewing on the buttons took place at our studio annex, in this case a Crown Plaza just off I-59. The background, a series of stamped "M's" not only stands as initials MM=motormouth, but is much more amusing if thought of a little more phonetically. Try this, say the name of the letter, sounds like "em" and repeat "em em emm emmmmmmm."

Motormouth is stitched through the acrylic transfer of the engine block, and the scattered pattern of dots on her dress are actually the shapes of gears, or flywheels, or whatever you'd call those things with teeth. My Dad was the mechanically inclined one, not me! The dress itself was a 50's vintage smocked dress by Polly Flinders, a name many girls who grew up in the east are familiar with!

Below is a photo of my booth at the Houston show. The weather was fantastic, there is nothing better than putting on sunscreen after a long cold winter! Motormouth was a hit, even though she didn't find a new home. Her buddy "Goody Two Shoes" did, and I was a little sad to see her go. We will be returning to Texas in just a few days as I will be showing in Main St. Fort Worth. Hope to see you all there!

Motormouth is available for $1400