Bloomington Open Studios Tour

Lynne Gilliatt

It began with loneliness in a deserted mining camp in Nicaragua, where Lynne lived with her then-husband, a tropical botanist. While he was away doing field research, Lynne passed many hours alone in their lodgings in a vast, empty clubhouse. The area was full of thieves; an armed guard sat sentry in the kitchen at night.

Lynne turned to her watercolors, painting images of deserted mine pits, wild skies, frequent storms all rendered in dark reds and purples. At night, sleepless, she stared into a mirror and painted countless self-portraits.

Lynne says, "Smells, sights, and sounds all play a part in my compositions. The smells of the tropics: mangoes rotting on the ground, tiled floors being washed with Pine-Sol, fish grilling with garlic, fried bananas, and in the British West Indies, rum drinks with fresh fruit and melted brown sugar. Inside a cheap restaurant a beautiful tile floor. A brilliant neon light outside a shop in Spain. Sounds like the wind blowing over sand dunes or lakes or oceans. Sunlight bright on adobe walls or illuminating the side of a church in Siena, Italy. Changing shadows, making patterns of light and dark, shifting with the time of day. Patterns. A friend's pillows with wool tassels, seen against the design in a marbled rug. The intricate patterns on Majolica pottery - the greens of its glazes. The light and dark of tree trunks in Indiana, in Mexico, when night falls, textures. The fluff from seed pods, carried on the wind. Sugar Maple leaves, glossy, falling alongside a picnic table of pitted Indiana limestone. A frozen moment at a party under an Indiana tree; again, outside an adobe dwelling in New Mexico. These small moments, glimpses of time, inspire a drawing. And the drawing leads me to the soft blended color of a pastel painting. These small flashes of color or light seep into my memory and later ask to be let out."

Over the decades, Lynne has shown her work in many places, including Taos, New Mexico: Atlanta, Georgia: New Harmony, Indiana: and in countless venues across Bloomington.