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, December 29, 2011

f i n a l l y !

It doesn't matter what you call it, painter's block, a creative slump, dragging yourself around in that personal pity party, it is an irritating place to be. So I say this, knocking on wood with my fingers crossed and all that, I think I am on the other side of it.

I have been busying myself, getting the odd piece done, preparing for that mental thaw. And finally, it came. It was almost like a damn bursting. Ideas would pop like lightning. One night I just kept scratching them down so they wouldn't evaporate the next day.

What changed? Well, I told myself that the time I spend in the studio is not called "working" anymore. Working is saying "Welcome to Walmart." Working is getting up before dawn, walking to the bus stop, and not getting home until it's dark again. Hanging in a warm studio in a robe, drinking tea, and painting, although not always easy, is what I have always wanted to do. I should be thanking my lucky stars that I can manage to do this. So now, I'll be in the studio painting, not working.

And one more thing, I have convinced myself to trust my hand again. For some reason I was getting tighter and tighter. At one point I looked down and realized I was working on a 2'x3' canvas with a tiny brush that had all of 10 hairs in it. Clinging to a photograph. It was like I had lost my damn mind. The first painting that I worked on after that I had to coach myself through. It was like having a little cheerleader in my head. "You can paint, make a mark, just do it. Loose, Fresh. Rahrahrah! Well it wasn't really like that, but sort of. And amazingly enough it did work.

So just like that, a rush of ideas. Three pieces in various stages of completion, and another on the way. The first one, below will be a new version of Wallflower. Still a long way to go, but she is coming along nicely...

And this one is a close up of a new "Plain Jane" This one is pretty much done, just a little "Assembly Required".

And this is a section of a piece called "Four Eyes" There are three other canvases that hang with it. Perhaps her name will make more sense when you see the whole group. But I love how the dress in this piece pretty much disappears. And it felt so good to paint this.

So now my plan is to finish these up and let you see them all in a few days. My only question to myself is why am I taking cool snowy blue paintings to Florida? Perhaps I have lost my mind! Come back in a few days and see what I'll be taking to Coconut Grove!

Friday, December 2, 2011

A night's work

I've been a little quiet lately. The dessert blog takes more energy than you'd expect, and I have a thousand excuses just like that one if you have time. But the thing is, I've had a lot of time off between shows, and I'm working towards building a new body of work. Nothing like that is simple. I've been sketching, and scribbling, making models. Having brilliant ideas and hating them the next day. And a for few days I've just settled down and done a little work. Tonight I carved a funky damask pattern into linoleum so I can use it stamp-like in an upcoming painting. Assembling the elements, getting ready for a big push. And I don't think I will know I can do it until it's done.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I have never been so distracted by the trees. Red light floods into my studio, burgundy reflecting the morning sun. The sky is so blue that it looks fake. I keep finding myself drawn outdoors, usually taking one more photo. It is supposed to freeze tomorrow night, and whatever chunk of landscape I miss today may be totally different in a few days. The colors of the trees have even found their way into my paintings. I wonder if this will fade in the winter. I hope not. This is probably why I am taking so many photos, trying to hoard the color.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Studio Slice #20

Not everything is pretty around here, some things mean business! Do you see the visitor hiding on the right?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Studio Slice #19

A whirl of color, almost like candy. Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Studio Slice #18

Expensive sticks. 8 and 10ft lengths of moulding for picture frames propped up in the corners. When not in use, they make good supports for spider webs.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Studio Slice #17

Collaged background on a new piece, I love this part.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Paper Dolls on Sale!

Hi folks! Do you hear that? The subtle growling? That scratching noise? That would be the wolf at our door. He usually hangs out near the end of our driveway, but we'd like to send him off for a little while. So here are our sacrificial lambs (talk about mixing metaphors.)

Five of my favorite Paper Dolls, all on sale at $120 each from the regular price of $145. With free shipping anywhere in the USA or Canada.

See one that would brighten your day? Send me an email at kallencole@aol.com First come first serve of course!

Here is #1, a sweet swinging dress made with an East Coast map, and tiny stitched seed beads.
Sorry this one has **sold**

Paper Doll #2 is a groovy A-line from the '60's with a pouf of fabulous trim and a great vintage button.

#3 is one of the few little girl dresses I've done like this. With a line of "smocking" and the tiniest button I've ever seen. Perfect for a baby shower gift!

#4 is a great dress showing off the NOLA area, with a nautical themed button.
(And it just **sold** yay!)

And dress #5 is all about the glitz, shiny silver, with vintage cut glass buttons. The embroidery thread is a deep plum. Go on, add a little drama to your life, (the good kind!)

All of these pieces are matted in acid free mats, with spacers to accommodate the buttons when they are framed. They are all shrink wrapped. Any questions? Let me know.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Studio Slice #16

A glimpse out the front window. I spend a lot of time looking out windows.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Studio Slice #15

Part of the ongoing process to keep all my bits together.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Studio Slice #13

Art supplies in the "Mosaic Studio" on the side porch.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Studio Slice #12

A collection of Scott's watercolors waiting to be framed.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Studio Slice 11

In case you've been wondering what's happening with the new series Scott and I will be working on together. "Just Desserts" will debut soon, but in the meantime here is an assortment of goodies, finished and not, currently on the drawing board.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Studio Slice #9

Some days it's about the big picture, other days, it's small stuff.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Studio Slice #7

One of the many cool things I love about this crazy artist lifestyle is getting to trade with neighbors at shows. Seth Fitts was my neighbor this weekend, and I love this little mixed media collage. Beginning with an old photo of a dog standing on his doghouse he added graphite, acrylic, and text. I hope you don't mind me reproducing this without your permission Seth!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Studio Slice #6

I like this composition, how the vertical lines on the cups and the upc code move your eye back to the buttons.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

Studio Slice #4

Not everything has to make sense.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Studio slice #1

I have come up with a new little exercise for myself, a way of keeping in touch with you, and to hopefully keep this blog fresh and interesting. I'll be post a new little photo, a fragment of life inside my studio, almost every day. And when I paint something worthy of a whole blog, I'll slip that in too. So here we go, Studio Slice #1.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Just Blabbing

The flecks of red breaking up the sea of green trees surrounding the studio suggests a change of seasons. And the fiddling, procrastinating, pacing, and wandering inside the studio suggests changes as well.

Quick changes are difficult for me as an artist. Once I get into the groove of process, knowing what colors work well together, and I have a stack of ideas to work with, things move along smoothly. Occasionally someone tries to reel me in, asking me to paint a still life, or a landscape, "like you do so well." Then I hear the grinding of gears. I have a couple of these commissions staring at me right now. But they just seem so far off the path of me moving forward that I can't quite bring myself to do them. I feel awkward, like I have to learn "how to" all over again.

Other times, like now, it is me trying to push my work in a new direction. So here I am. wandering off the beaten path. I feel like I need a carrot and a stick just to keep moving. And to make things a little more complicated I have two different bodies of work I am trying to cough up.

One is reasonably simple, Scott and I want to share a new blog much like his cupcake blog that was so successful last year. We will be posting a new sweet painting each day, and the theme will be "Just Desserts." I have a handful of these little babies done, and they are coming along nicely. Although very slowly, I think I've spent enough time on one tiny painting of cookies that I may make minimum wage on it by the time all is said and done.

But the other work is about to drive me around the bend. There will be dresses, there will be multiple canvases, my pallet will change, I will use more lino block prints and less photos. I have built a model, I have sketched out the layout, I have ordered the canvases. Ready, set, go!

Instead I sit staring at the pile of canvases, carve a possible linoleum block, fiddle on Facebook. I know what the answer is. Just do it. (Thanks Nike.) Just walk in the door and get to work. And I will I suppose. Once I get over whatever this is. Until then I guess I will fiddle, and poke at ideas, and quietly bitch at myself for watching the sun go down again with very little new work to show. Perhaps the biggest babies are hardest to birth. Maybe I'm just a big chicken. But I sure can understand why so many artists keep on doing the same thing for years. There is a lot of comfort there.

So now I'm going to post this, and walk back into the studio and try again.

Because we all know, if at first you don't succeed...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Project

So, those of you who have been watching my blog for a while know that when I'm not painting, or off at a show I am usually keeping busy with another project. The current project is "the great wall of china." A mosaic wall that will eventually go around the entire foundation of our house.
As you can see from this photo, it's been a while since I've been out on the side porch working on the wall. In the back left hand side of the photo you can see the remnants of a bird nest, we've had at least two babies hatch and move on since I've done anything significant. But I've been to the hardware store, and have a bit of time...so I'm back at it.
The main image for the wall is a sort of abstract, funky flower garden. Everywhere that is except for the two panels on either side of our chimney. Without giving up the whole story yet, these panels will have a clothes line with mosaic "laundry" hanging in the breeze. Here's what I've started...
A pair of 70's funky bell bottoms...

A souvenir t-shirt featuring a salt shaker from the Washington monument. If you know Ed Brownlee you'll recognise some tiles at the top that he made for me for this part.

A flowery bra made from a couple of hand painted tiles I bought on a trip to Southern France...talk about hardly being able to stand to break something...

And finally a pair of Y-front undies made from some beautiful frosted glass tile left over from Jennifer and David Garr's new house at the beach. I doubt this is what David had in mind when he gave me the leftover bits.
That's the progress at the moment, I still have a parade of animals to place along the bottom, and a whole background to fill. But I promise to post when these parts are finished, just don't hold your breath!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Somewhere in the middle

I just thought I'd give you a quick peek at what is going on inside the studio this weekend. I have three separate pieces on the go right now. "Smarty Pants" just has a little bit of stitching left to do, "Little Bee" is drying, and this one is coming along nicely. This will be a new "Good Egg." But I am just so darned pleased with the chickens that I had to show it off. The chickens are linoleum block prints on rice paper, the paper is so transparent that I was able to flop the image to have them pair up beak to beak. There is still plenty more to do, but I hope to have this in the van with me heading to the Des Moines Art Festival next weekend. If you want to do a little artist surfing you can find their web site at www.desmoinesartsfestival.org If I have a moment, I'll post the finished piece before it goes in the van!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chicken and Prettybird

Chickens! I have to tell you I am really having fun with this. I have been bringing linoleum block prints into the dress paintings for a few months now. Printing them directly onto the canvas. But the more of this I do, the more I want to do. Now, I'm printing them onto rice paper, and collaging the paper onto the paintings. All these chickens will be in the background of my newest piece, "Good Egg." I've just started it, so I have a way to go, but I'll post when it's done...provided I don't completely mess it up on the way!
But in the meantime, here is a piece that I finished last week, "Prettybird." I love how this turned out, and already have plans for more. The background is a collage of lino block prints, the little yellow bird, ( a pine warbler I think) is painted. And the little halo of seed beads is stitched through the canvas.
A good start to the week!

Monday, May 30, 2011


Buttercup is the latest piece to come out of the studio. The dress was found at a great vintage clothing/costume shop in Austin, TX. The dress itself was so perfect it needed very little work, the velvet ribbon and thick lace are fabulous. The background is collaged linoblock prints on rice paper. The image of buttercups are repeated in varying tints and shades of yellow. The tricky part was the embroidery. It may be a little hard to see in the first picture, but it is front and center on the dress, so scroll down...

One of the best parts of being a "street artist" is getting to meet the folks who love and buy my work. And I have to tell you, I am really looking forward to meeting whoever buys "Buttercup." Talk about a conversation starter. Enjoy!

"Buttercup" is 30" x 40"

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Our web site is back!

I finally have The Spring Gallery web site back up and running. You can find it at www.thespringgallery.com You be able to find Scott's few available cupcakes, most of my dress paintings, and other stuff all in one spot. Take a look. And thanks!

Monday, May 2, 2011

A new "Wallflower"

If you've known my work for very long you'll know that I often revisit my titles. I've done a few different versions of "Wallflower." This is the latest. Washes of pink covered in lino cut flowers.

And a little closer. Sometimes I just like to make them pretty.

"Wallflower is 40" square.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


It's been a while since I've done an "attagirl." An "attagirl" from my Dad was the best thing ever. They were few and far between, you knew you deserved it when one came. While working on this piece I was thinking about two possibilities; a little girl brave enough to climb a tree, or the encouragement needed to learn to fly.

The tree branches are full of life, washes of color from mauve to yellows. Cut into with a semi opaque sky. "Attagirl is stitched through the canvas, right next to the yellow Pine Warbler.

24" square.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

what did I do all day?

I often chastise myself at the end of the day for not seeming to get anything accomplished. I started it today. Mostly because it's getting dark, and I don't seem to have a painting finished, I hardly even have one started. So I made myself stop and think...

Well I did put together a rough idea of a commission for approval. I like it, haven't heard if the client does though. Decided on the path for a new painting, complicated, but beautiful. That wasn't intended to be the title, but it may fit? This is the commission idea by the way...

Simple, pretty, but not too girlie.

Oh, and I attached a handful of photo transfers to a canvas, a new "4 eyes" is on the way.

Some arts council stuff came next, we have a small art festival going on in Jackson on May 7th. Scott and I are helping put that together, if you are in the area it is really going to be worth coming to. So that took a little time. Then errands in town...what a boring list, have you quit reading yet? But then I was distracted and wound up in the garden center. I was going to buy one tomato plant. $50+ later I was driving home.

Whoops, I actually got back to work, framed three large oil paintings. Then next thing I know I'm in the garden drinking a glass of wine with my neighbor. My neighbor has spray paint, and she let me rob her spray paint collection. Now my tomato cages are deep electric blue. And I've planted about half of what I bought, a bunch of different peppers, two tomatoes, cucumbers.

Hmm, and I'm blogging now, and when I actually walk away from this computer I'll walk out to the studio, and poke around a little longer. I guess that is a pretty good day.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Smart Cookie

Smart Cookie is a piece I finished last week during a major painting flurry. If you've been watching my work for any time now you'll recognise the numbers in the background as pi. I've used them before, and I'll use them again! The peanut butter cookies have no shadow, because they aren't really supposed to sit on the dress so much as rotate around it, which explains the little vapor trail of vintage mother of pearl buttons.

Smart Cookie is up in Illinois somewhere having her picture taken this week. So I don't have it in front of me to get all my facts straight. But I think it is 30" square.

There is another "Smart Cookie." It's a smaller one on a pink baby dress in my new gallery in Austin, TX. If you're in that neck of the woods, check out Haven Gallery, they are on 6th street. And they have a great collection of work available.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New challenge

Not that I really need a new one, I have plenty on my plate at the moment. But the painfully slow pace that I post on this blog is boring even me. So I'm going to blog about something every day for a week, starting tomorrow. Unless I chicken out, and I don't think I will.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My Husband's Work

It just dawned on me that some of you may not know that my husband is an artist. Introducing R. Scott Coleman, and his latest series of watercolor landscapes. He is painting a landscape a day and I post them on his blog. You can see the blog at www.thedailylandscape.blogspot.com

This is his second painting a day series, his first was www.scottscupcakes.blogspot.com Scott painted 365 cupcakes, very few are still available, but they are worth a look!

Later Gators!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

An Oldie

As I'm sitting in my booth at an art festival I am often asked two simple questions. "Where are you from?" and "How long have you been doing these?" They seem like simple questions, but I'm never sure how to answer. I'm from Victoria, and Duncan, and Cowichan Bay, B.C. Canada, or at least I was. Now I'm from a little town in the middle of Georgia, halfway between Atlanta and Macon. Occasionally someone has heard of Jackson, because of the prison, the lake, or the famous Fresh Air Barbecue.

But the next question, "How long have you been doing these?" is slightly more complicated. I began these dress paintings sometime in the mid 1990's. I found the photo above in a catalogue from a show in 1994, I think this was the first time I exhibited a dress painting. The model is my sister, Cindy. I had her wear the dress that I later used in the painting. This piece sold, but I have lost track of where it is, Toronto I think, but I'm really not sure.

This piece, which I still have, is from 1995. Its title is "Don't Look Back"

This time I was the model, an awkward moment. My long hair is half wadded up on one side of my head and looking very odd. I wore the dress that is on the canvas just long enough to snap a few photos. (Just a side note, another comment I often hear is "Oh, so THIS is what you do with all your old clothes!" No, these paintings are not an alternative to the Salvation Army donation box, thank you very much.)

I think this is the first time that I used text in a piece. Although barely visible, those little black lines are letraset, six point type, rubbed down one letter at a time. It was the some of the small print from a separation agreement I signed a few years earlier. Before tongues get wagging, no I wasn't married, but I was living "common law" with a fellow in this house. I wanted out bad enough that I signed away. He still has the house, and I'm not looking back.

I think it was a year or so later that I had my first (and so far, only) museum show, The Sooke Regional Museum is a tiny space just outside of Victoria. This was a few months before I moved "down South."

It was when I moved to Georgia that I tucked the dress paintings away, onto the back burner so to speak. I wanted to take a real run at being a full time artist. That is, one without a real job, or a net for that matter. Lino block prints became my media of choice, and I later moved on to acrylic still life paintings. Both of these skills are now incorporated into my dress paintings.

So how long have I been doing these? Does the time they were hidden from view as I was working on new skills count? They still include photography, but I've added reasonably realistic painting, tons of text in many different forms, stitching, lino block prints, charcoal, graphite, pretty much whatever it takes to get the piece to sing.

Perhaps the answer should be "all my life?"