Lynn Lynch Hughes
Making Memories to Keep
by Barney Quick
photo by Chris Gustin
“My husband calls me a bricklayer,” says Lynn Lynch Hughes, referring to the fact that she brings the same meticulousness to her pen-and-ink renderings of the bricks in buildings that craftsmen bring to the actual subjects. Indeed, her fine lines are intricate studies in texture and surface of startling precision.
The nearly microscopic treatment of an image’s particulars has a lot to do with how she chose her media—pen and ink, colored pencil, graphite, and needlepoint canvases. Some artists invite the viewer to freely interpret a loosely rendered reality. Hughes takes the opposite approach, inviting us to look at what’s before us with as much depth and clarity as we can muster.
She will be showing her collection of work on the Studio and Garden Tour, which runs from June 22 to June 24. That’s her main way of showing her pieces, and it garners enough interest from the art-consuming public to suit her. It fosters the word-of-mouth recognition of her work that brings her commissions throughout the year. During the tour, she will be demonstrating technique for visitors and inviting them to try various pencils.
Hughes has always loved drawing, but didn’t consider pursuing it professionally until she studied commercial art at Ivy Tech in Columbus. “I took a class in pen and ink architecture and just really fell for it,” she says.
Her husband’s work with Cummins, Inc. took the family to North Carolina, where she was a layout artist at various newspapers. She also worked as a mechanical artist for a screen print company, and her distinctively detailed images began showing up on tee shirts and tote bags in area gift shops. She joined the Coastal Plains Arts and Crafts Guild, which held an annual Christmas show, leading to commissioned work. By the end of her years in North Carolina, she was making professional forays into her native Madison, Indiana, participating in a juried show there.
The couple moved back to Indiana and into their Brown County home in 2002. “Chris Gustin was the first person I met here,” Hughes recalls. “She had a weaving spindle I was looking for. That led to the bartering of some pieces. I did drawings of her home and her studio.”
Further networking led to commissioned work for promoters of area tourism. For the Columbus Visitors Center she did a poster of that city’s architectural attractions. Michael Kelley, the proprietor of The House at Stone Head, enlisted her to render that landmark in pen and ink. The original hangs in the house’s bathroom and it has been duplicated on postcards.
A recent area of emphasis for Hughes is portraits of pets. “We’ve always been big animal people in this family,” she says, “so it was natural to offer that to people whose pets mean a lot to them.”
Her pen brand of choice is Rapidograph, because of the availability of different nib sizes. “They use India ink, which is waterproof and light-fast,” she notes. She holds up a particularly tiny nib, saying, “I like that I can go this small. I like detail.”
Breaks are necessary every couple of hours. “Your eyes get tired looking that closely at what you’re doing,” she says.
There is a spiritual component to her passion for intricacy as well as her prominent use of shadow. “I’m a Christian, and I feel that we’re compelled to look at what is really in front of us,” she observes. “In art and life, we need to see beyond the perceptions in our heads. As shadow yields to light, truth is revealed.”
Hughes says the most rewarding aspect of her work is delivering a drawing of a house to someone and “giving them their memories back. A client might give me a photograph of an old house and say, ‘Now, it used to have a porch here that looked like so, and spindles here. Can you draw that?’ When I present the finished piece, it’s a real heartwarming feeling.”
Her studio, Memories to Keep, Ink, is located at 1190 Salt Creek Road. She can be contacted at
(812) 988-6965, or <LHughes211@aol.com>.