Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflections on 2010

A Purple Cow's Paradise by collage artist Megan Coyle

This year has been quite a busy one. There were a lot of firsts for me which is pretty exciting. And to celebrate the upcoming year of 2011, here are 11 things that occurred this past year:

Orange Plains by collage artist Megan Coyle

1) First solo exhibit that was then followed by several other solo shows throughout the year.

2) First newspaper feature

3) First magazine feature

4) Organized my first exhibit reception where I was responsible for everything from PR to the food. It was quite a learning experience!

5) Gave first artist talk and then gave a couple more talks. I’m usually terrified of public speaking, but after giving a few talks this year, I’m more comfortable with it. I actually kinda like it.

6) Scheduled my first solo show in another state (“Paper Collage” at Krempp Gallery in Jasper, Indiana)

7) Related to #5 – scheduled the first workshop I’ll run next year. It coincides with my Krempp Gallery solo show.

Blue Dachshund by collage artist Megan Coyle

8) Started working on my first children's book - I'm still in the process of working on it. Hope to finish it sometime next year.

Downtown Cafe by collage artist Megan Coyle

9) Quit my job last year to work on artwork for a few months this year. Then found a new job doing design/web work – which has been a lot of fun.

10) Learned a lot about business and marketing for my artwork. As a result, I finally documented all my art and started designing marketing materials for myself.

11) Realized that art is something I really want to pursue.

All in all, it’s been quite a good year. I’m so grateful that I have so many supportive people in my life. And I’m incredibly excited about what the New Year may bring.

Poodle by collage artist Megan Coyle

What did you accomplish this year?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Progress Picture #2: Shelby

Shelby by collage artist Megan Coyle

Here you can see the basic color blocking for the composition. You can get a sense of how I like to work back and forth with the background and foreground.

I'm also excited that I've had time to work on my children's book again. After finishing all my holiday commissions, I'm back to work on personal projects.

Hope everyone is enjoying the end of December - and that you're staying warm. I've heard about all the snow going on elsewhere - looks like DC missed out on the snowpocolypse for now.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Progress Picture #1: Shelby

Shelby by collage artist Megan Coyle

Here's the sketch I did for one of my recent commission pieces - the completed collage was given away by my client as a Christmas present yesterday. I'm pleased to hear that the recipient was excited to see Shelby in collage form. Anyway, at this point in the progress image that's pictured above, Shelby is looking a lot like a cartoon.

Photo by collage artist Megan Coyle

I hope everyone had a great holiday. I'm pretty exhausted from all the festivities, and can't believe it will be 2011 so soon! 2010 went by too fast!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Holidays

Christmas Tree by collage artist Megan Coyle

"Christmas Tree"
Collage on mat board

Happy holidays, everyone! I'll be out and about during the next few days and won't have a chance to post until next week. Hope you've had a chance to finish your holiday shopping - and that you're keeping warm! It's been quite chilly here in DC.

Anyway, I'm off to start a marathon of eating all week long. Hopefully I can get a little exercise in between bites.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bosty goes to Hawaii to escape the cold

Bosty goes to Hawaii by Megan Coyle

It was getting too cold in DC, so Bosty boarded a plane and flew away to Hawaii for the week. He decided to send me plenty of pictures of all the fun he was having - I'm quite jealous. Here he is enjoying the bright blue skies while posing next to a palm tree.

Bosty goes to Hawaii by Megan Coyle

He's loving how green the trees and plants are in wintertime.

Bosty goes to Hawaii by Megan Coyle

Bosty keeps posing next to Hawaiian sunsets every night.

Bosty goes to Hawaii by Megan Coyle

And he highly enjoys spending the day in a hammock, catching some rays (and z's).

Bosty goes to Hawaii by Megan Coyle

He's been frequenting the beach to do some snorkeling and boating.

Bosty goes to Hawaii by Megan Coyle

Staying by the water until the sunsets and it gets too dark to enjoy the scenery.

Bosty goes to Hawaii by Megan Coyle

How about a drink with a mini umbrella in it? Don't mind if I do!

He sure is having a grand old time - maybe he'll bring me along next time?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Megan Coyle's FlickR

Lately I've been working away on commissions. I'd love to share some of the progress pictures, but I've decided that for my clients' sake I'll hold on that until after the holidays. The custom art I'm working on will be gifts for my clients' friends/family members.

Aside from custom art, I've been working on photographing older collages and doing a little documenting. I also decided to delete all the photos I had on Flickr - all the collage images had big, ugly watermarks on them. I've decided to add better images without the watermarks. So if you'd like to see some images of my work that are bigger than the ones that appear in my blog, you can check out my Flickr page. At the moment I've only added a few of my older pieces completed in 2008 or earlier (a couple of newer ones are mixed into the bunch). I'm planning to gradually upload more of my images bit by bit.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Q & A: Collage Art

Brown Bear by collage artist Megan Coyle

Tell me about your collage technique.

Each collage starts out as a sketch. This helps me get an idea of the proportions of the subject and get the likeness down properly. I’ve noticed that if I don’t do a good job with the sketch; chances are I’ll have a hard time getting the collage to look right.

Next I work on cutting and pasting paper onto the sketched composition. I’ll page through a number of magazines, tearing out pages that have solid colors or textures that I may want to use. Then I start cutting out strips of paper based on the shapes of shadows and highlights that make up different areas of the background or subject. I’m able to recreate the look and feel of a painting by working with fragments and shapes of magazine strips – these pieces of paper act like the distinct brushstrokes in a painting. As I work, I think of areas where I could weave in fragments of photographs in order to create moments of interest and texture.

A Piece of the Ocean by collage artist Megan Coyle

How do you know when a collage is complete?
Often times I don’t feel a collage is entirely complete. You just reach a point where you feel it’s time to stop. Other times I know a collage is complete when I’ve set it aside for a couple of days, returned to it and think that there’s nothing more I can do to improve it – it’s resolved, finished.

Kitty in the City by collage artist Megan Coyle

What challenges have you found in your work?
Since I work with colors and textures that are found in magazines, there’s always the challenge of finding the right colors that will work well with a given collage. Sometimes it will take a while of hunting through magazines – just feverishly turning pages until I find the right color or pattern that I can use in a piece.

How has the Internet helped you promote your work?
It has helped me a lot. If it wasn’t for the Internet, it would be more difficult for potential clients to contact me. Although having solo exhibitions and giving lectures helps a great deal with getting exposure, if it wasn’t for the Internet, people who have seen my work in exhibits wouldn’t have a way to find out more about me. The Internet has also made it a lot easier to sell artwork and prints, and allows others to contact me directly.

Birdy by collage artist Megan Coyle

What’s your greatest ambition?
My greatest ambition is to take my technique to new heights. For instance, I’d really like to incorporate video and animation with my work – I just need to give myself enough time so I’ll have a chance to dive in and work on it.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently working on a dog portrait that I was commissioned to do – my client is going to give the portrait to his wife as a Christmas present. I recently completed another portrait that is also going to be given as a holiday gift.

Aside from commission work, I’ve been working on editing the plot of my children’s book and sketching out illustrations that I will collage in the future.

Morning Coffee by collage artist Megan Coyle

What are you trying to do with your art?
I’m trying to make my viewers question traditional ideas of what makes a painting a painting and a collage a collage by merging these two different mediums together. My collages are meant to be like an illusion - making viewers think they're made from paint when they're actually made from magazine strips. I like having my viewers question the materials of my work. I like it when they mistake them as paintings, because once I tell them they're made from magazines, they look at the work in a new light. There’s also an urge to get closer to the collages to really study the handy work that went into creating them. I like this interaction of the viewer getting closer to take a better look.

Tabby Cat by collage artist Megan Coyle

What is your favorite subject to collage?
Portraits of people are by far my favorite subject to collage. I love all the details that make each person entirely unique and different than the next one. I also like how expressive the human face is as well as how people can tell us a story with their body movement and interaction with the environment around them. I’m really drawn to narrative scenes, and the human form works well with telling us a story.

I also like making portraits of animals. Animals can be such characters as well – I love how colorful different species are. Animals also work well with creating narrative scenes, which are my absolute favorite type of scene to construct.

How would you like to improve as an artist?
I would like to improve by finding more ways of presenting my work – by incorporating my technique and style with different mediums. I’m especially interested in getting better at working with animation. I have a feeling that animation would be a wonderful tool to use to create more dynamic artwork – artwork in motion.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bosty goes to NYC

Bosty the Boston Terrier by collage artist Megan Coyle

After arriving in NYC, Bosty hit the subway to get around town.

Bosty the Boston Terrier by collage artist Megan Coyle

He wandered around Chinatown, looking at all the knick-knacks and souvenirs

Bosty the Boston Terrier by collage artist Megan Coyle

and doing a bit of window shopping for the holiday season.

Bosty the Boston Terrier by collage artist Megan Coyle

On his way to Central Park, he ran into part of a movie set on the street. He especially liked the enormous rocking horses on the set.

Bosty the Boston Terrier by collage artist Megan Coyle

Brrrr it was cold outside, but the trees in the park sure were toughing it out.

Bosty the Boston Terrier by collage artist Megan Coyle

Before he knew it, it was time to leave. Bosty hailed a cab to head over to the bus station so he could get back to DC.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Claire by collage artist Megan Coyle

Collage on paper

"Claire" is a commissioned portrait that I recently completed and shipped over to a woman in Texas. I have a couple of other commissions at the moment that are going to be given as Christmas gifts by my clients. Thus I'll refrain from posting images of these projects until the holiday season has passed.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend. Mine was filled with family get-togethers and lots and lots of food. I didn't bother with shopping on Black Friday - I think I'll finish my shopping online so I can avoid the crowds. Anyway, I'm off to try and finish another commission - I've decided I won't work too much on my personal projects until these commission are complete, however I'm anxious to get back to my children's book illustrations.

Have a great end of November!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful for Art

Owl by collage artist Megan Coyle

Art has had a role in my life for as long as I can remember, and I can't imagine a life without creating or marveling at the creations of others. Other artists have inspired me. The art world in general has motivated me to keep moving forward with my work.

Even when I'd doubt myself and swear that I'd give up - I was never able to quit art cold turkey. And that's a good thing too. I'm incredibly thankful for how my artistic career is shaping up. I'm content that I have time to do what I love and that I've had a chance to meet so many great people as a result of visiting galleries and exhibitions. I'm glad that by pursuing my art so fiercely, I have willingly put myself in situations that made me feel uncomfortable - just so I could adapt and adjust to new things.

Mr. Turtle by collage artist Megan Coyle

Art has made life richer, and I'm excited about all the possibilities that are out there as I continue to work and pursue my artistic dreams.

I'm thankful for the creative life.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Closing of "Blue: An Interpretation"

Megan Coyle exhibit

Megan Coyle exhibit

Megan Coyle exhibit

Blue has always been one of my favorite colors. I've found that whenever I make a collage portrait and I'm not sure what color shirt to give the sitter, I default to the color blue. Thus when I heard about the "Blue: An Interpretation" exhibit I was excited to submit a couple of the blue collages I've completed over the years.

The "Blue" exhibit came down on Sunday. Several days ago I did some gallery-sitting and above are some photographs from my visit.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Karim's Father

Karim's Father by collage artist Megan Coyle

"Karim's Father"
Collage on paper

And here's the finished piece. You'll notice that it looks much different than the last progress picture. My client supplied me with a low res photograph taken with a cell phone camera. After a bit of dialogue back and forth between us, the portrait began to change bit by bit as I merged elements from other photographs that the client sent. Eventually, this was the result.

Anyway, I'm off to continue working on another commission - when it rains, it does indeed pour. And sometimes I wish I could clone myself so I could work on all the projects that are on my "to do" list.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Künstler der Woche

Megan Coyle Artist of the Week

Today I found out about a German site called "Create or Die" (sounds like a design/art spin off of Will Ferrell's "Funny or Die") that's featuring me as "Künstler der Woche," or "The Artist of the Week." Above you'll see there's a black box that appears when you scroll over the image of my artwork that they posted. Here's a rough translation of what it says: "First the American-born Megan Coyle was primarily devoted to painting, but eventually she moved on to make collages. A good decision, for the artist's work is so colorful that it could almost have been wielded by the brush of an impressionist."

My work also showed up this week on the Artsy Shark - a site devoted to emerging artists.

It's always great fun to see your artwork showing up in different places. Anyway, I'm off to continue my work on more commission work - hope everyone is having a great week thus far!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Progress Picture #2: Karim's Father

Karim's Father by collage artist Megan Coyle

Here's the next stage of a commissioned piece that I was working on. You can see a little bit of my workspace here - I used to sprawl out on the ground when I worked on collages, but now I've graduated to working on several tables or desks pushed up to one another.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Closing of Collage Scapes Exhibition

Collage artist Megan Coyle exhibit

My "Collage Scapes" exhibit at NIH closed on Friday afternoon. I swung by to pick up my work on Saturday morning, and now the pieces are safely in storage. Here are some images of the artwork when it was on display there.

Collage artist Megan Coyle exhibit

I made this series specifically for this show - my goal was to focus on a subject matter that I don't really focus a lot of energy on these days - landscapes and cityscapes. I was pleased with the finished product and hope to explore more scapes scenes in the future.

Collage artist Megan Coyle exhibit

Collage artist Megan Coyle exhibit

Collage artist Megan Coyle exhibit

Collage artist Megan Coyle exhibit

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bosty the Spokesman

Bosty the Boston Terrier by collage artist Megan Coyle

I've become quite fond of Bosty - after all, we've traveled the world together. So I decided to give him a new job besides trusty travel companion - collage spokesman. I decided to put this together for my new profile image on my Facebook page, but I think there may be a new series in store here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Progress Picture #1: Karim's Father

Karim's Father by collage artist Megan Coyle

Here's my sketch from the recent commission work I completed. Although I was able to get the shape of the man's face down correctly, the shadowing and details are just so-so - there was no need to be exact since I would work out those issues once I got to cutting and pasting magazine strips.

In other news, I'm beginning to plan out my solo exhibition in May since I'm making a trek over to Indiana. Looks like I might be putting together my very first day-long workshop. Have you ever run a workshop before? Care to share any advice or tips? I'd really appreciate it!

Anyway, off to my paper, scissors, and glue!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Magnet Making

Magnets by collage artist Megan Coyle

Magnets by collage artist Megan Coyle

I’m going to spend the next couple of days working away on magnets. They’ve been pretty popular – and with the holidays coming up, I’m getting ready to crank out enough for my buyers. I’m putting aside some of my commission work for a little while as I wait to hear from clients, and I’m excited that I’ll have more time to devote to my children’s book illustrations. It’s exciting to watch as your projects grow – and I like being able to work with a storyline and artwork that goes along with it. Looks like I’ve found something new to continue to pursue.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Pumpkin by collage artist Megan Coyle

Hope you're having a Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Washington Monument

Washington Monument by collage artist Megan Coyle

"Washington Monument"
Collage on paper

This is the last piece I'm posting from the NIH "Collage Scapes" exhibition. It was inspired by another stroll around DC in the fall. I'm realizing that I've only ever done collages of three distinct buildings in DC. I hope to do some more sometime in the future. However, for now, it's time to keep focused and finish a few large projects on my plate. If you're trying to do too many things all at once, it's difficult to get anything done.

Anyway, I'm excited that Halloween is coming up. I'm not one who likes dressing up in costumes, however I still think it's a fun time of the year. Lots of fun food and sweets. And hopefully no new cavities. I'm also looking forward to going to the Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert rally this weekend. Yes, there's going to be a lot to do in the next couple of days. I might even sneak in a few more hours of art-making.

I hope everyone had a great week!