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

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What I like about these.

Some of you may know that once-upon-a-time I was a printmaker.
I would pull small editions of linocut prints.  I used the reductive process, carving a block, printing from it, and carving the same block further.  I was always searching for the perfect print, and constantly rejecting a print that had a blemish, a dot of dust, a dry "sparkly" area.

But now?  Oh yes, printmaking is obviously in my blood, because I am back at it.  Linocuts have become a very strong part of my dress paintings, and now, my new body of abstract work.
But now I get to ignore the rules.  I can apply ink thickly and painterly, or dry and almost translucent.  I can shift colors with no worries of an "edition".  And blemishes?  Bring it!  Crinkles and folds, sparkle and all.

Yeah, I'm kinda having fun with this.  And the abstracts have their very own shows coming up!
See you in Miami at Coconut Grove - Feb. 15, 16, 17
And in Atlanta at the Dogwood Festival April 11, 12, 13

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

'Tis the season

Yes, I know, I've been very quiet.
Truth be told, I have been working like a field hand.  Well, not really, but you get the idea.  I finished my last show for the year, took a couple of weeks to regroup after a lot of travel, and opened my commission drawer. 
My commission drawer is a new thing this year, every so often someone would send something, I'd take notes, put all the precious bits with the notes, and put it in the commission drawer.  When I finally opened it, it was a bit of an archeological dig.  The deeper I went, the further back in time I was for promised delivery dates.  Fortunately, you are all very patient.
But, after a starting process that was like pulling the cord on an ancient lawnmower, I am moving forward.  The table above shows the five pieces that will be done before Christmas, and there are still a couple in the drawer for the first of the year.  Hopefully I shot this photo with enough discretion that no one will spot their gift!
Have you ever considered a commission?  Feel free to contact me, and be patient!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

New Work!

It feels like forever since I've been able to shout "New Work!" and really have much to show for it.  But I've been busy, and sometimes the new pieces sell before I've had a chance to put them up, and, and, and...

Ok, enough excuses.  Here is what I've been up to in the past few weeks, in addition to the (elle)ements.  Don't know what an (elle)ement is?  Check that out here

Here we go, the new girls.  Dresses on canvas, linoleum block prints, and acrylic paint.

Approx. 24" square.  Framed  $895

Captain Invisible
Approx. 24" square. Framed $895

Captain Invisible started out as an "Attagirl"  A tree climbing tomboy.  But the more I worked on her, the more I thought she was actually a bit of a superhero too.  She may be invisible, but only when she wants to be.

Approx. 24" square, framed.   $895

Watergirl is one of my nicknames.  One I gave to myself.  So I guess that puts this in the self portrait category.  Made with three canvases, a dress, a bunch of linoblock prints, and paint.

Goody Two Shoes
Approx. 24"x32" (I think) framed $1100

Beach Baby
Approx. 20" x 24" framed $750

And a few new abstracts, these are all 8" square.  On canvas.
$135 each

All of these new pieces are currently bumping up I-75 in a motorhome, headed to Sausalito, California.  By way of Dayton, Ohio, and Chicago, and a few other places.  Here is a link to that whole story... www.mybrotherinlawsidea.blogspot.com

And here is a link to the Sausalito Arts Festival

Now if any one of these new pieces needs to be in your private collection, just let me know, I can make sure that happens.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Black Sheep

I never know just what to say when people ask me how long it takes to do a piece.  Sometimes the execution goes fairly quickly, sometimes not.  Or if it's like this piece, the idea lodges in my brain and stays there for months, slowly inching to the surface.
But I like her, I've always had a soft spot for black sheep.  Especially the ones that leave legendary stories that families talk about for years.  Linoleum block prints on tissue, acrylic paint, a vintage dress, and a lot of little silver beads stitched through the canvas are all that make this piece.

Three separate canvases framed together as a triptych, about 28" x56" framed.

Friday, June 7, 2013

New work, abstracts.

One of the things I like about working in this series is, how intuitive the process is.  My dress pieces are largely planned, the plans may change as the situation requires, but there is a general feeling that I'm going for.  I work toward that.
But with these, I just start.  What I just did on the canvas, influences what I'll do next.
So, I pulled out these 6 identical 8" square canvases, and painted the first one with a brilliant deep cadmium red.  I liked how it looked, and decided to do another, until I decided that all 6 needed to be different variations of the red.
Then, I started making decisions about what to collage on top.  I managed to pull in the palette to just a handful of neutral colors, plus the red that was already there.
These are the 6 that I ended up with.  Black was the final addition to a few.






I kinda like them.
They will all be available at the Des Moines Art Festival, or beforehand, if you send me an email. They are 8"square, on deep canvas with the edges painted black. $145 ea.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

New abstracts

It's interesting how things morph and change from one thing to another.  I started doing a series of tiny pieces that I called (elle)ements.  These were essentially elements of the "big girl" dress pieces I was doing.  (Elle) is French for the feminine, just in case you were wondering.  These little 4" square canvases have been holding their own quite nicely, and they have their own blog www.elleements.blogspot.com
But they have started moving things in another direction.  Simple abstract pieces that focus on the process of layering, the juxtaposition of patterns ancient and modern, opaque over transparent.  I think they are coming along nicely.  Above are my three latest pieces, all 36" square.  You can see these, and the rest of my new abstract body of work this weekend at the Decatur on the Square Festival.  In Decatur, GA.  Hope to see you!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Lucky Girl

Lucky Girl is going to Ft.Worth or Nashville for her first show. I haven't decided which, so if you have any interest, and plan on going to one show or the other, let me know, I can be swayed. 
Lucky Girl's dress is a gorgeous corduroy, and is a royal blue. The name of the piece is embroidered in the top left and right canvases.  The white circles are surrounded by a ring of glass pearls, pearl necklaces of sorts. The teacup in the middle is a tinted photo transfer. 
Approx 24"x 32"

Monday, April 8, 2013

Focus free

About a week ago I asked folks on Facebook what they would rather read me blog about, my art fair influences, my terrific middle school art teacher, or a sort of photo essay on one of the processes I use in my paintings. Process sort of won, but I will eventually get to the other topics. 

So I start taking photos of what I'm working on.
  Transferring a new damask pattern that Scott designed onto linoleum. 

Starting to carve

And then it all goes a little off track, the lino is in the background of this shot, still being carved as I move on to some stitching.
And then these happen, as I am working on a new version of "Goody Two Shoes"

Oh, and I am still printing other bits...

And sticking down other things, and waiting for them to dry.

As other pieces are finished.

So there you have it, Lucky Girl, Black Sheep, Goody Two Shoes, and another yet unnamed piece are all crashing around out there, ranging from barely started to almost complete.  I bounce from painting to printing to stitching to photographing, and somehow it is all getting done.  All linear thought processes out the window, I visualize something closer to pushing an entire wave to shore.
Now to get back out there...

Sunday, March 31, 2013

New work, abstracts.

Introducing linoblock prints into my work has become a bit of a game changer for me.  I keep finding new ways to incorporate them into the big dress pieces, but more and more I am working with them alone.  I love the layers and the shifts in color.  Here are a couple "fresh" ones.


They aren't very big, just 12" x 16" but I hope to be doing some larger, and much larger pieces soon.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Do Good

Ok, here I am just laying it out here.  This is the story.  After umpteen dozen years of applying to the Winter Park Sidewalk Arts Festival, this year I was (finally) accepted.  I am still pretty sure someone miscounted something somewhere, but I am going anyway.

A few weeks ago I received an email from the show that said in addition to the wads of prize money they already have at this show, there will be one late addition.  The Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation is sponsoring an "Art of Philanthropy" purchase award in celebration of their 40th anniversary.  The award is $5000 and the chosen piece will be on permanent display at the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation in Winter Park.

Now, to put this into perspective, I don't think I have ever made a piece in hopes of going for a singular award, ever.  It is just too big of a long shot, and usually the prospectus just isn't a good fit.  But this one struck a chord right away.  Before I knew it I had images of some variation of Girl Scouts, or Campfire Girls, going through my head.  Collecting badges for acts of generosity, in spirit and otherwise.

So I started carving "badges" out of linoleum, "helping hands" and "good eggs" and such, and watching the piece come together.  What started out as a "Girl Scout" somehow developed the look of a heavily sponsored race car driver.  But I am good with that, sometimes philanthropy needs a little horsepower behind it.

So here she is, Scott will frame her this afternoon, and she will be heading South tomorrow.  What is likely to happen?  Well, nothing.  Here I am setting the bar sky high, telling the world that I am actually tossing my hat into the ring.  But truthfully, this is a show filled with bad-assed super talented folks.  I may well get a pat on the shoulder, and an "attagirl."  And I will have to suck it up, and tell y'all that I didn't win.  But I'm going to do it anyway.  If you follow me on Facebook, you will be the first to know, and I'll try to post a picture of the winning piece, mine or not. 

In the meantime, this weeks collection of (elle)ements are versions of her badges.  You can see them as I post them at www.elleements.blogspot.com

Fingers crossed.

Friday, March 8, 2013


Just so you know, I haven't forgotten about you all. This is probably my busiest time of year, the spring shows are just cranking up, my summer schedule is falling into place, and things are percolating in the studio.   The red dress below has been just dragging its feet to completion. It's been through the whole gamut, from a great new idea, to turned face against the wall for a while. It is back on track, hopefully I'll be able to post it as complete soon. 

Then over on my desk is a little piece promised by Monday, and the bottom part of another biggie that I want to have ready for my next show in Winter Park. Oh crap, I just realized that is less than a week away now. Seriously, I should be painting, not talking about it. 

And the bottom picture is the rest of the piece that goes with the blue diamond pattern above. And a couple of little groups of (elle)ements that I am putting the finishing touches on before I pack and ship them. Yes, I get one up every day, but it doesn't always have the final coat of shiny, or it's edges painted black, sorry to burst your bubble.

Maybe I can catch up on blog posts in between shows next week, we are going from Winter Park FL straight over to Houston TX.  We might even stop in New Orleans along the way?  Oh, and if you haven't heard about the (elle)ement blog before now, head on over to www.elleements.blogspot.com  I put up a shiny new (ready or not) piece every day, Monday-Friday.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Some days

Some days you just have to stop and regroup.  My work space has become a sea of floaty little bits of paper, wine glasses, and general crud.  I wanted to jump in the van, drive to Atlanta and buy another gallon of goo so I could keep up the momentum.  But I decided to take my own advice, save some mileage on the van, and some room on the credit card, and make do. 

So I am tidying, filing, and cleaning.  I try to keep all the lino block prints I make somewhat organised.  Although you probably wouldn't expect to find a filing cabinet in a studio, I have one.  Stuffed full with photos and text, and wads of prints somewhat organised by color, it is an unexpected, but handy tool.

Now it is time to get back out there and make more.  I am loving working on this body of work, but a larger dress piece now uses dozens upon dozens of prints.  Pulled one at a time, allowed to dry, trimmed and sorted.  The pile above, shows a bare minimum needed to have plenty of possibilities available when putting together a piece.  So rather than hopping in the van I am going to start inking and printing, and hanging prints to dry.  Just getting ready for the next big push.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Make do.

I was puttering away in the studio last night, thinking.  I often work late at night, until midnight or later.  I find there are fewer distractions, no phone calls, it's too dark to see what needs weeding.  And one thing struck me, what I would have told myself as a 20 year old who wanted to be an artist.  Aside from the obvious, "just paint, you need to paint at least 100 bad paintings before they start getting good" was the other thought...make do.

Early in my "career" I worked in an art supply store.  It was the perfect place for me to be.  It opened doors to other artists, classes, supplies, information on framing.  A thousand good things came from that job.  But one thing that it also did was surround me with bright shiny arty things.  Bundles of pencil crayons in pretty boxes, beautiful hand rolled pastels from France, x-acto knives in stylish containers.  I had an employee discount and I used it.  But now, 25 years later, I have learned to make do. 

If I were starting again, I would still buy a few good things, that expensive aluminum ruler they made me buy in college?  Still have it.  Paint?  Even to the chagrin to some artist friends I still buy top of the line paints, papers, and canvas.  But the other stuff?  Meh.

Now I buy packs of cheap brushes that cost about the same as one gleaming russet colored beauty.  I have dropped the x-acto knife for a hardware store knife, and when I've lost that, a single edged razor blade works perfectly well, and you can buy them by the hundreds.  Rather than buying expensive pre-printed papers to collage with, I make my own with tissue from old dress patterns, for free.  The pencil you found in the back of the drawer works about as well as the sparkly new one at the art supply store.  A palette? A chunk of tempered glass from a yard sale and old yogurt cups.

Make do, make it part of the process.  It's a sure fire way to avoid the "sameness" so common in the art world.  Let the creative part start from the beginning.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year, new thoughts, new work

There is something about this time of year that pushes me to change.  To try again, reinvent, give it another go.  It is probably a simple question of timing, and schedule.  Generally from the first of Feburary through mid November, shows come and go at a pretty even clip.  A show every other weekend, sometimes every weekend, doesn't leave much time in between to just think.  But winter time does, and this winter is no different. 
Linoleum block prints are something that I learned how to do sometime in the 9th or 10th grade, I would have been around 15.  I have come back around to them more times than I can count.  An image is carved into a sheet of what's called battleship linoleum.  It is grey, sort of a hard rubbery surface about the thickness of cardboard.  A reductive printmaking method, everything carved away with a razor sharp gouge stays white and clean, and what is left behind picks up the ink and transfers to paper.  The image needs to be carved in a mirror image of what you want. 
For a few years, this was my main squeeze, printing small multiple color editions.  Following the rules, (and there are many) of a good print.  Throwing away all the mistakes, the missteps in color, the misses in proper registration, and the "doinks."  Doink is a word I invented for the the little blemishes, the bits of dust, the parts that didn't take ink evenly.  This is the perfect medium for a perfectionist to revel in, to find fault in, to discard mistakes.
But this past year, I have found a way to enjoy the carving, enjoy the printing, and find a lot of joy in the imperfections.  The carving is still tight, and slow, but I love that part, and the printing is a joy.  Rather than expensive cotton rag paper from France, I print on wadded up wrinkled dress patterns.  I change colors mid stream, I look for lap marks and wrinkles, and doinks.  This is what I get...

And they look rather pretty drying in the window...

I have been using them to create repeating patterns in my dress pieces for the past year or so.  But this winter I have started working without the dress.  Just enjoying the combination of paint and print.  Collaging, and painting over with layers of transparent washes, and opaque paint.  This is the most recent piece to come off the easel...
Now it is time to pull the pieces together, to work on a dress, to find the story.  All I can say for sure at this point is there is a piece in the studio incorporating all these things.  It is still in the beginning, and as with all of my pieces, I'm sot exactly sure what it will be when it is finished, I'm not even sure I will be able to make it work.  But I am trying, I am giving it another go...
And you'll all be the first to know if I pull it off.  Until then, if you are enjoying the process, take a look at my newest blog, www.elleements.blogspot.com  I am posting a new little piece every day.  Y'know just to kill a little time waiting for the next big piece.