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The Making of an Artist Phish Fan

My husband, Tony, is a HUGE Phish fan.  He’s been to over 100 shows and counting.  Luckily, when I met him Phish was on a break.  (I think he was bored, since his favorite band wasn’t touring.)  I soon found out that this music is very important to him.  Don’t get me wrong, I love music, but didn’t understand the deep connection he had with this band and their concerts.

When Phish got back together, we went to some shows together and I was hooked.  The energy of the crowd was incredible…  the lights…  the moments when the music takes your heart and aligns it with the beat of the universe…  I wish we could afford to tour or go to more shows together as it was such a bonding experience (ahem: buy my art please),  especially, since I’m starting to learn when to throw the glow sticks!

Happy Baby Fishman Owl, Digitally Altered Paper Collage, 2016

(The piece above is a digitally altered version of the first Fishman donut wearing owl I did in 2014.  I wanted this owl print to look happier, with more harmonious colors.)

(The middle image below is a version of one of my ram collage prints that I digitally altered with Fishman doughnuts.  A couple of Phish fans in New Jersey decorated their baby girl’s nursery with one of the Phish owl prints and wanted something else to match it.)

(Below is the first Fishman owl I did in 2014.)

phish nursery art for boy owl room
Phish Owl, Paper Collage, 2014

So, it’s a good thing I am now a Phish fan.  I’m not sure we would be married right now if I’d decided that I didn’t like this band, right Tony?  Lol.  We are even raising a cute, little Phish fan together now.

If you want me to add Fishman donuts to one of my existing designs or want to purchase a print please visit my shop.  If you are interested in licensing one of my images (The happy baby owl would look so cute on a kids’ shirt, wouldn’t it?) please contact me.



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Custom Fire Truck Artwork and Wall Art Prints

Vintage firetruck with dalmation squirrel cardinal and sun

At the Alley Art Festival in Aurora, Illinois in August of 2016, I met the new Executive Director of the Aurora Regional Fire Museum, Brian Failing.  He asked me to do a project for the museum – a series of prints to sell in the museum shop.

I started doing research at the Aurora Historical Society, digging up old photos of Aurora.  It was really amazing to see what Aurora looked like in the 1800’s and early 1900’s.  Seeing the photos of the beautiful buildings and crowded streets made me appreciate the city where I live more.  I’m so thankful for that.

Vintage firetruck with dalmation squirrel cardinal and sun Vintage Fire Truck with Dalmation, Digitally Altered Paper Collage Print, 2017[/caption]

Next, I went to the museum to do more research on the fire history and vintage fire trucks.  Their library was so nicely organized.  I collected a lot of material, including photographs of their fully restored fire trucks.  Then I went to work creating three original collages.

This museum is a unique gem in Aurora.  The architecture is beautiful.  If you have kids they have a very nice play area within the museum, including books, a fire house, fire gear to wear, and lots of toy firetrucks.

Aurora Regional Fire Museum Illustration Aurora Regional Fire Museum Illustration, Paper Collage, 2017[/caption]

Vintage Fire Truck, Paper Collage Art, 2017

I am so grateful to have been able to help a non-profit in my community. 

Thank you to all of the firefighters in Aurora and everywhere!!

Do you love fire trucks?  Are you planning a firefighter or fire truck nursery or kids room?  You can order a fire truck print with your city’s name on it and a reproduction of the Aurora Regional Fire Museum in my shop.


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Commissioned Art Process

dragonfly paper cut collage process

If you’ve asked me to commission a piece of art, you can bet I am super excited!  (If you are interested in commissioning art for your nursery or any other room, please contact me to see if I can meet your deadline this year.)  Here is some information about the process of a commissioned artwork.

black and white dragonfly illustration with lily pads and lotus
Black and White Dragonfly Over Pond

Step One: Research (1 week)

-We’ll converse about your likes and dislikes, ideas for the piece.

-Please send any reference photo/s

-Please answer the following questions:

-Have you commissioned art before? If so, please let me know how many pieces and what you liked or didn’t like about the process.

-What size do you want the piece?

-What do you want to see in your art?

-What is the main emotion or attitude you would like to feel from the art?

-Is there anything you don’t like about my art or don’t want to see in your piece?

-Will you be the only one approving the art? If not, please let me know the email address or phone number of the others involved.

-Do you have any other questions or requests?

-If you have a preference on any of the following, please let me know:



-Actions of the animals



Contract and Payment:

-Once I know the scope of the project, we can arrange a contract

-We’ll agree on a timeline, deadline and budget.

-A portion (usually one third) of the total cost of the piece is due at the start for supplies, research and sketching. The vast majority of the creative work happens in the first few weeks of planning even though the art hasn’t even started yet. This is non-refundable.

Dragonfly Process - Rough Sketch
For example, the design chosen for the dragonfly collage was the one on the bottom right.

Step Two: Rough Sketches and Palette (3 days – 2 weeks)

-I’ll create 3-6 very rough sketches to figure out the placement of the design and objects (composition). This is very basic and doesn’t show color or detail.

-We’ll talk about any changes, if necessary.

-Please feel free to send me back to the drawing board if it’s not quite right yet, but remember this is just a very, very rough drawing.

-The color palette will be chosen

Step Three: Final Sketch

-We’ll pick the final sketch design

Step Four: The Finished Art

-After I start on the art, I will send you updates via text, or email frequently.

-Please give me input along the way.

My client, Alison, gave me a lot of autonomy for this piece.  I originally was going to make the background green, but then decided that the dark blue made the lily pads pop better.  Alison agreed.
Step Four Example: My client, Alison, gave me a lot of autonomy for this piece. I originally was going to make the background green, but then decided that the dark blue made the lily pads pop better. Alison agreed! A major change like this at the start of the process is easier than at the end.

-This is the time where I work out color and design on the paper.

Dragonfly Process - Research and Collage
You can see (very faintly on the sketchbook) that I did a more detailed study of the dragonfly when it was time to start paper cutting.
Wing details are added.
Wing details are added.
A lot of extra detail was added here - darker paper under the lily pads, for example.  At this point I was undecided about whether I should do the solid gold, the lilac, the sparkly gold, or a combination, under the wings.
A lot of extra detail was added here – darker paper under the lily pads, for example. At this point I was undecided about whether I should do the solid gold, the lilac, the sparkly gold, or a combination, under the wings.
Many more hours of work and it is almost done.  I decided to do a combination of lilac and sparkly gold under the wings, blue paper in parts of the body.  Details have been added to all the lily pads.  Note when using tissue paper (the blue/green in the water) it looks much different before it's glued.
Many more hours of work and it is almost done. I decided to do a combination of lilac and sparkly gold under the wings, blue paper in parts of the body. Details have been added to all the lily pads. Note: when using tissue paper (the blue/green in the water) it looks much different before it’s glued.

Step Five: Final Collage

-Before gluing, I’ll send a picture of the final artwork.

-This is the last call for any changes.

Step Six: Applying Acrylic Medium and Varnish

-All of the small pieces of the artwork are sealed with acrylic gloss medium and then coated with layers of acrylic medium and varnish. 

I dropped water on the tissue paper to create an effect.
I dropped water on the tissue paper to create an effect. The background is finished here.

-Please note the final artwork may have some bumps and/or bubbles in the paper.

Step Seven: Caring for Your Art

-All new artworks are created on wood panel and coated with varnish so that they can be hung on the wall as is.  You may also frame the art as well.  Dust with a dry cloth, if necessary. 

*Copyright of the finished piece belongs to Laura Lynne of Laura Lynne Art.

Thank you so much for working with me.

Enjoy your art!



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Musky Fishing Story and Illustration

A child loves their parent, a teen pushes them away, and an adult… well, I can look back on it all.  Sometimes I wonder what my Dad was thinking and sometimes I look back, smile and think, “Wow! He taught me that.”  Story telling and jokes are some of the areas where my dad excelled.  He has a way of bringing his stories to life, especially the ones about animals.

One of the stories my dad told us growing up was about a man who got his toe bitten off by a musky while fishing in Wisconsin.  It’s partially a true story, although his toe didn’t get bitten off completely.  It was good enough to scare my sister and I.  We swam in a musky fishing lake daily in the summer, living only a block away from Pewaukee Lake in Wisconsin.  Sometimes when I would swim, I would wonder about the big fish with teeth swimming around in the lake next to, or below me.  In reality, they were scared of me, but the story was always in the back of my mind.  This print is based on that story and the beautiful sunsets we would see that seemed to turn the lake and the sky completely orange.

hunter orange musky fishing nursery art illustration
Orange Musky Illustration

The muskellunge is very large compared to the small fishing boat.  It reminds me of going fishing and wondering if I’d catch that huge fish this time.

Thank you, Dad, for your story telling, exaggerating, and teaching me about the great outdoors!

To buy a print of this hunter orange musky fishing art illustration, please visit my shop.

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The Importance of Artist Critiques

oil painting portrait of artist's mother

I can be pretty stubborn minded sometimes, and my mother knows this well.  Which is why she says she doesn’t give me much advice.

When I first started my Etsy shop I had wanted to create nursery art for boys because the art I found wasn’t what I wanted.  I wanted something more bold and bright in his room.  So, I made my own art – an owl family portrait.

About a year later, I read an article about what book publishers are looking for in an illustrator.  I asked my mom to read it and critique my work based on the article.  (I should mention my mom is a lot of amazing things.  She’s a salesperson, an artist, and an excellent guitar player, singer and teacher.  She goes for walks or does another form of exercise daily and makes most of her meals from scratch, a rarity these days.  My mom is also very well read.)  After she read the article she said that my work seemed too dark.

I, of course, was thinking stubborn and incredulous thoughts.  Really?  I thought it was cute.  This was supposed to be nursery art.  My son likes it.  I thanked her for the advice and then spent a while looking at it with her eyes.  Hmmm… it was pretty dark, and I could see how the owls’ expressions might not seem very warm.  So, when I did my new owl portraits, I made sure they were colorful, yet not too dark, and the expressions and gestures were peaceful and soft.  See the owl family portrait illustrations from 2013 and 2015.

gender neutral owl family of three with deep blue background
Owl Family, 2013
illustration of sleeping owl family on a branch with stars.jpg
Owl Family of Four, 2015

The lesson I learned is that even as a professional artist, it is still important to have someone else look at your work and give a critique.  Since then I have been consulting friends, and my husband, who has given me very helpful suggestions.  I am very grateful for all the help and advice I have received.  Thank you, Mom!  Happy Mother’s Day to the smartest, prettiest, musical mom I know.  I am very lucky to have you as a mom and grandmother for my son.  Love you!

Linda, Oil on Board, 2001
Linda, Oil on Board, 2001

Here is an oil painting I did of my mom in 2001 when I thought I had to be a serious and ultra weird artist.  Please excuse the dust.  She actually has it framed and hanging in her house.  See?  I told you she is an awesome mom!

*If you would like a custom owl family portrait, please contact me.  If you would like to buy an owl family print for your baby’s owl themed nursery, please click here to visit my Etsy shop.

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Ruined! How to Protect Your Art

photo showing sun damage of paper collage art

Mother Reading Sun Damage

This piece was in the window of a gallery for only one month.  It was displayed without a frame and UV protected glass due to contest requirements.  Imagine my surprise after picking it up and not even recognizing it at first.  The green tissue on the tree and the lime green leaves were mostly faded.  A whole third of the piece where there once was a pretty deep blue, now turned completely to grey.

If you purchased one of my original collages before April 2015, please make sure to replace any regular glass with UV glass and either send it back to me for UV spraying or spray it with several coats of UV protected spray, such as Krylon’s UV-Resistant Clear Gloss.  Keep the art in a darker spot away from direct sunlight or lamplight.  If your art has already been faded beyond recognition, please contact me regarding possible repairs.

Here are some tips to make sure your collage keeps its brilliant colors:

  • Hang art out of direct sunlight.
  • Avoid moisture and extreme temperatures.
  • Hang the artwork in cool, dry places (68 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Use a UV protected glass in the frame.
  • Use a mat to separate the art from the glass.  This will keep the collage from sticking to the glass and assist with moisture control.

Edited 2018:  I have since spoken to the Golden paint helpline and realized that some of the papers I’ve been using are not acid and lignan free, which means they all will fade,  change color, or patina in the case of the metallic papers, over time.  Acids turn papers brittle and brown.  Please contact me if you’ve purchased a collage and are not happy with the changes.  I am happy to talk to you about possible options for repairs, exchanges or refunds.  Keeping the collage in prime conditions as listed above may help prolong the changes, however, for my new collages I am using Golden brand painted cotton papers, and acid free plus lignan free papers to make sure my art will be archival and heirloom quality.

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LGBTQA Owl Family Portrait Illustrations

Gay owl family of three with adopted baby

Two years ago when I made an owl family portrait collage for my son’s nursery,  I’d wanted to make more owl families, but got busy with other projects.  When Ben from the About Face Theater in Chicago contacted me about donating to their annual auction at the Wonka Ball, I knew it was time to make new Owl Family Portraits.

You can bid on these two original owl family collages at the 2015 Wonka Ball on April 10th.

By the way, the About Face Theatre is giving 30% of the bid amount back to the artists, which is really nice.  I would have donated anyway, but it feels good to be appreciated.

Love makes a family and love wins!

More owls:

Illustration of a mother, father, and two baby owls sleeping on branch
Sleeping Owl Family Illustration
lesbian owl couple illustration
Owl Couple


Here is the first owl portrait I did of our family:

gender neutral owl family of three with deep blue background
Owl Family of Three

*If you would like a custom Owl Family Portrait, please contact me.  Also, please see my Etsy shop for more Owl Family Portraits and Love Birds here.

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Art of Technology

Mother reading kindle to child with satellite, 4G tower, stars and cat in the window illustration
Mother Reading Kindle with Satellite and Stars, Paper Collage, 2014

I entered this piece in a competition for the Aurora Public Library in Aurora, IL.  The theme was the Art of Technology.

As a nature lover, I like to think that I don’t need much technology in my life (though I do love the internet).  I had no idea what I was going to do for this contest in so little time.  It was announced a few days before Thanksgiving and due not even two weeks after the New Year.  The technology theme did not appeal to me and I couldn’t think of any way of making a pretty art piece with such a cold starting point.  I tried to think of some part of technology that I love, when I thought of my Kindle – a perfect idea for an art contest for the library!  My bookshelves have become much lighter ever since I received the Kindle.  It is something I truly love about technology.

I got to work drawing sketches, and drawing out many ideas before I settled on the one above.  Then I collected and picked out the papers I would use.  I wanted peaceful and quiet colors, yet bright and fun at the same time, so I chose blues and greens with pops of yellows for contrast.  Part of the challenge of working with paper is finding the perfect balance of textures, colors, patterns and tones.  After picking out the colors, I gathered my reference material and started cutting out the shapes.  Sometimes I draw on the paper before cutting, other times I free hand; sometimes I use a scissors and sometimes an X-Acto knife.  I arrange everything, rearrange and take pictures along the way to make sure when the time comes to glue it is placed right.  Multiple composition changes or color adjustments are made during this time after consistently analyzing my work.  Finally, when I start the hours long gluing process, I frequently reference the final photograph to make sure the pieces are placed correctly.  The total process, from conception to finish, took roughly 40 hours for this large of a piece.

Unfortunately my piece was not chosen, which was extremely disappointing as I would have loved to have seen it in the children’s section of the new library.  It was clear that the twenty-four community member judges had different parameters in mind than I had when creating the piece.  This art must be meant for a different, but equally lovely, home.

Click here to purchase a print.


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Astronomy Paper Cut Art

Turtle looking through a vintage telescope with stars
Astronomer Turtle, Hand Cut Paper Collage Illustration, 2014

The idea for the astronomy series was inspired by my astronomer cousin, Dr. Rachel Osten.  These pieces were done as a gift for her youngest son’s room.

Be humble for you are made of Earth Be noble for you are made of stars.
“Be Noble for You are Made of Stars, Be Humble for You are Made of Earth,” Serbian Proverb, Paper Collage Illustration, 2014

This is how the quote should read:  “Be humble for you are made of earth. Be noble for you are made of stars.” It’s a Serbian proverb.  My astronomy quote paper cut art displays the words backwards because I wanted the words and pictures to correspond.  The Earth part is written in the earth and the stars part of the quote is written in the sky.

Here, I imagined a deer and turtle visiting an observatory late at night when all of the other astronomers have gone to sleep.  They will gaze at the stars until the morning hours.

A butterfly flies by the mountain observatory while the starry sky lights dance above.

These blue, astronomy animal art prints are for sale in my shop.