Thursday, April 29, 2010

Progress Picture #1: Windy City Walks

Windy City Walks by collage artist Megan Coyle

Here's another collage from the series for my upcoming show. This image can give you an idea of what the piece looked like while I was first getting started with it - you can see a bit of the sketch underneath. Once I post the finished version, I'll have three more remaining pieces from this series to post.

I'm looking forward to getting started on some new projects after I finish the work for my other shows this summer. Later in the year, I want to start experimenting with animating collages and begin some preliminary work with getting things together to write/illustrate a children's book. Art is pretty exciting - there are so many possibilities.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stroll in the Park

Stroll in the Park by collage artist Megan Coyle

"Stroll in the Park"
Collage on paper

I'm excited to say that I've finished my series of collages for my show in May. I have yet to post all of them, thus I'll go ahead and do that within the next couple of weeks. The past few days I've spent a lot of time editing this series as well as touching up frames. Now I just need to do a couple more figurative pieces for my show in July, and then I can take a breather on all these people collages. As much as I like collaging people, I'm getting a bit burnt out from the subject matter. Thus I'm moving on to animals next.

Anyway, I'm off to do some late night sketching. I had an interesting day - spent a good chunk of time trying to get my internet working again (it was down practically the entire day). I always forget how much I rely on the internet until it's not working like it should. But isn't that the truth with so many things?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bosty's Cook Out

Bosty the Boston Terrier's cook out by collage artist Megan Coyle

We've had such nice weather these days that Bosty decided to hold his very own cook out. While grilling the meat, he had a tendency of nibbling the food every time it was flipped.

Bosty the Boston Terrier Making Salad by collage artist Megan Coyle

To be a little healthy, he made a salad.

Bosty the Boston Terrier Making Potato Salad by Megan Coyle

And how about some potato salad? Don't mind if I do!

Bosty the Boston Terrier and Deviled Eggs by collage artist Megan Coyle

And deviled eggs...wait a minute, wasn't there a full plate of deviled eggs just a second ago? Bosty seems to enjoy feeding himself before he feeds his guests.

Bosty the Boston Terrier and Lemon Meringue Pie by collage artist  Megan Coyle

The meal was finished off with a lemon meringue pie - care for another slice?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Collage in the Classroom

A few weeks ago I received an email from a high school teacher, Monica, from New York City. She told me that her class had just finished a landscape collage unit and that they had focused on Romare Bearden and my work for their artist focus. Her class analyzed my landscape collages to figure out how I created the work so they could learn from it. They also worked on their own collages inspired from their studies.

Below I've included images that Monica so kindly sent to me. I always enjoy hearing from teachers who've shared my work with their students. It's great knowing that your work can inspire others.

Collages from Monica's Class
Each collage is about 3"x3"

Collages from Monica's Class
Collages from Monica's Class
Collages from Monica's Class
Collages from Monica's Class
Collages from Monica's Class

Friday, April 23, 2010

Progress Picture #1: Stroll in the Park

Stroll in the Park by collage artist Megan Coyle

This piece is about one third of the way done - there's a bit of reshaping that necessary to do before it will all fall together. Whew, going back over a couple of my older collages, I'm noticing that sometimes the work flows for me and everything comes out just so. But then there are the troublesome pieces where you really have to fight in order to get things looking right. I've got a couple of troublesome pieces, but I'm hopeful that I can get everything looking alright soon.

I've also done a bit of editing on a previous piece, "The Bikers" - the updated image has been used to replace the one that was previously on my blog.

And now I'm in a mad rush against time to get things organized for the first show. It will open the second week in May at the Fisher Gallery, which is in the Schlesinger Arts Center on Northern Virginia Community College's Alexandria campus.

Anyway, that's everything for now. I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bar and Bakery

Bar and Bakery by collage artist Megan Coyle

"Bar and Bakery"
Collage on paper

I think I'll revisit this collage in a few days to sharpen up a few details. For the most part it's complete. I'm actually just about finished with this series for the show in May, and I'm beginning to go back through my work to clean things up.

Then it looks like I'll just have to work on a couple more figurative pieces for my show in July, and then I can finally change gears by working on animal collages. I'd also like to get started on making a weekly mini collage to add to my Etsy shop again, and possibly introduce another art project to my blog.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Q & A: What do you listen to while you work on artwork?

Blue Beagle by collage artist Megan Coyle

It's usually nice to have something playing in the background when you're in the studio. I like to I listen to radio shows and music. Podcasts are an amazing thing – they really do help the time pass. The following are my top podcasts to listen to while I work:

  1. This American Life – I really enjoy the way this show focuses on a theme and tells stories related to that theme. The old English major within me really gets a kick out of this.
  2. The Classic Tales Podcast – again, I like to read but lately all my artwork and marketing work has really made it difficult to pick up a book. With this podcast, I can enjoy familiar stories or hear classic tales that I've never heard before.
  3. Fresh Air – I’m a sucker for Terry Gross’s interviews with directors, musicians, and actors. It’s also a good way to hear interesting stories about current events.
  4. 60 Minutes – just good journalism.
  5. Escape from Illustration Island – when I first discovered this podcast, I downloaded all of the episodes and gradually worked my way through them. Needless to say, listening to Thomas James interview illustrators and talk about illustration is part of the reason I decided to look into going back to school for illustration. You can find some really helpful and inspiring tips here if you’re a fellow artist.
  6. Art Marketing Action Podcast – these are typically really short podcasts, only a couple of minutes, and from time to time I get a few good ideas of directions to move in with my art marketing.

Other times I listen to music. Recently I’ve had a tendency of falling back on the following albums/musicians:

  1. 500 Days of Summer Soundtrack – this is my latest obsession. For some reason I absolutely love this album and just about every song on it. “You Make my Dreams” by Hall & Oates is of course a favorite.
  2. M. Ward
  3. The Beatles
  4. Ray LaMontagne
  5. Bob Dylan

When I get tired of listening to interviews and music, I’ll usually change things up by watching a movie. I’ve started taking advantage of Netflix’s Watch Instantly feature. I’ll listen to/watch movies on my computer as I sprawl out on the floor with all of my magazines. Lately I’ve watched a lot of comedies and flicks from the 80’s.

What do you like listening to while you work?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bosty Tours Washington, D.C.

Bosty and the Washington Monument by collage artist Megan Coyle

Bosty felt like being a tourist for the day so he stopped by the Washington Monument for a touristy snapshot.

Bosty and Popcorn by collage artist Megan Coyle

Then he wanted to hang out by a popcorn vendor. He was hoping someone would spill their food so he could gobble up a quick snack.

Bosty and the Lincoln Memorial by collage artist Megan Coyle

Then he moseyed on over to the Lincoln Memorial.

Bosty and the Lincoln Memorial by collage artist Megan Coyle

After begging in front of the statue of Lincoln, Bosty realized Lincoln wasn't a live person and he wasn't hiding any snacks in his hands.

Bosty and the Jefferson Memorial by collage artist Megan Coyle

So he popped on over to the Jefferson Memorial.

Bosty and the Washington Capitol by collage artist Megan Coyle

And decided to get in the way when I tried to take a picture of the Capitol.

So all in all, it was a productive doggy day.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Progress Picture #2: Bar and Bakery

Bar and Bakery by collage artist Megan Coyle

And piece by piece it's coming together. Here you can see I've been jumping back and forth between the figure and the background - although I do end up spending more time with the background so that those bits and pieces of magazines are actually underneath the ones in the foreground.

I hope everyone's having a great weekend. I've had quite a relaxing one, although I'm going to spend a few hours today editing some of my previous pieces. Or I might end up procrastinating - I've found a great new outlet that helps me with just that - twitter.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Progress Picture #1: Bar and Bakery

Bar and Bakery by collage artist Megan Coyle

Here's the first progress picture of a piece I did a few days ago. I'm noticing a pattern with my recent work, where the figure is less of an up-close portrait and the environment seems to play a major role.

Pretty soon I'm going to go back into a few pieces to do a little editing and cleaning up so everything will be ready for the show in May. I'm getting pretty excited about my two solo shows - it will be a lot of work but it will be wonderful to see everything come together.

Anyway, that's all for now, I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Orange Stand

Orange Stand by collage artist Megan Coyle

"Orange Stand"
Collage on paper

I had a lot of fun working on the wall in the background - I got to get a little carried away with texture. Perhaps I should experiment more with a lot of texture for an entire collage as opposed to just a section of it.

In other news, an article I wrote about my collage work was recently published on Bourgeon Online, "Megan Coyle on her Collage Portraiture." Bourgeon Online is an online publication that focuses on the arts in the Washington, D.C. area. Another local publication, Local Kicks, also published an article regarding my upcoming solo exhibition in May, "Going Green with Art: Meg Coyle Makes Art from Recycled Magazines."

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend - I'm looking forward to enjoying the cool spring weather.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bosty at the Park

Bosty the Boston Terrier at the Park by collage artist Megan Coyle

The weather around D.C. has been so nice that Bosty decided to go for a doggy jog around the city. He had his eye on a couple of people walking by the park - he sure does like running up to strangers.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Q & A: What do you use to photograph your artwork?

One, Two, Three Giraffes by collage artist Megan Coyle

I’ve gotten this question a few times over the past few months, so I thought I’d go ahead and share it with you.

I prefer taking pictures of my artwork myself. That way, if I notice something’s amiss when I zoom in to study a high resolution image of my work, I can easily retake the pictures in the comfort of my apartment. I have to admit though—I slack a little bit when it comes to taking my progress pictures (sometimes I just don’t set up the lighting).

So what do I use?

I used to use a Canon PowerShot SD600 and I’d go outside on an overcast day to take pictures of my work. You’re probably already predicting where things went wrong with this method. Since I was relying on the great outdoors, the lighting was inconsistent and unreliable. I had to wait for good weather before I could go outside for the photo shoot—that means waiting for the rain and snow to go away. And the PowerShot camera is just a simple point and shoot camera so the quality of the images isn’t that great. I noticed that a lot of my artwork often looked washed out and sometimes blurry—something that I only noticed once I lugged all my artwork back inside and uploaded the images to my computer.

Now I use a good old Nikon D3000 and I love it. The image resolution is much better and I have more control over the settings.

I also use a light kit that I got from B&H. It’s a Lowel Ego Digital Imaging Fluorescent light kit that came with stands and tilt brackets. With the light kit, I can control the lighting. And best of all, I don’t have to rely on the weather outside to take pictures of my work.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Progress Picture #1: Orange Stand

Orange Stand by collage artist Megan Coyle

Here's the first stage of "Orange Stand." Whew, things are busy but good these days. I've noticed that I'm such a list maker - I always seem to have a list somewhere on my desk. When a number of items get crossed off the list, I end up rewriting it. Why won't I type it up and manage it digitally? Well, physically writing down what I need to do helps me remember and keeps things organized in my head.

Here are the big-picture items on my list:
  1. Finish figurative collage series for my upcoming solo show
  2. Finish figurative collages for my second upcoming show
  3. Get started on making at least a dozen animal collages for the show in August
Yes indeed, I'll be one busy bee.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hide and Seek on the Subway

Hide and Seek on the Subway by collage artist Megan Coyle

"Hide and Seek on the Subway"
Collage on paper

Another piece inspired by one of my trips to NYC. Whenever I'm on the subway and there are several platforms, it seems like strangers are off playing hide and seek when you can only see part of them from behind those large beams.

Things have been pretty busy over here - I'm still working away on artwork for my show next month. Gallery meetings, press releases, etc. It'll be nice when everything has been taken care of and I've met all my deadlines. Aside from my exhibition work, I've also gotten started with researching MFA programs and trying to figure out which schools to apply to.

This weekend we had gorgeous weather in the area. I had a chance to walk around D.C. and take pictures of the sights. I have a feeling Bosty will have some future pictures to star in. Anyway, I'm off to do a little more artwork for the day.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bosty and the Cherry Blossoms

Bosty the Boston Terrier and Cherry Blossoms by collage artist Megan Coyle

Bosty likes living in D.C. during spring. He wanted his picture taken by the cherry blossoms so he could look like a tourist at the Cherry Blossom Festival. Luckily there weren't any actual tourists around when I took the picture - he has a bad habit of chasing after them.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bosty Goes Jelly Bean Diving

Bosty Jelly Bean Diving by collage artist Megan Coyle

Bosty decided to go jelly-bean diving in some of our old left-over Easter candy. Bad dog! He needs to stop jumping onto counter tops and eating our sweets.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Bikers

The Bikers by collage artist Megan Coyle

"The Bikers"
Collage on paper

I finished this piece a few weeks ago but just got around to taking pictures and uploading them to my computer. I'm done with it at the moment - but I'd like to go back in and rework a few areas so it will be ready for the show next month. It was inspired by a trip to New York, when I spent the day at Coney Island.

The weather has been like summer here - I'm not sure what happened to spring. Is it just me, or does spring only last for a couple of days now? Anyway, I prefer the warm weather, but I'm awaiting our building to turn on the air conditioning with baited breath.

And I'm beginning to toy with a few ideas of things to do on my blog. Below you can see the result of one of my projects - Bosty the Boston Terrier. I'm going to post photographs from time to time with Bosty walking in on them.

Lastly, I was really excited because I found out today that I was selected to become a visiting artist at the Torpedo Factory in Old Town, Alexandria. The Torpedo Factory is an art center filled with open artist studios and galleries. As a visiting artist, I'll share a studio with one of the resident artists for a couple of months - June and July. I'm looking forward to it all - man oh man, will I be busy this summer.

That's all for now - I hope everyone has a happy Friday and a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Bosty in Milwaukee

Bosty the Boston Terrier in Milwaukee by collage artist Megan Coyle

I wanted to take a picture of one of the streets in Milwaukee and this Boston Terrier Bosty got in the way. He likes to star in other people's photographs.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Q & A: Introducing Megan Coyle

Below is a Q & A made up from FAQ’s I’ve received via email or in-person:

How long have you been an artist?
I’ve been making art all my life, but I started taking it more seriously about four years ago.

Green coffee cup by collage artist Megan Coyle

How did you get into art?
I took art classes as a kid at a nearby gallery—dabbling in pottery, sculpture, cartooning, painting—the works. During the summer, I’d create my own paper dolls and illustrate stories. And I always had an art class at school every year. I considered these classes a nice getaway, a way to relax and unwind.

Parrot Family childhood drawing by Megan Coyle
Drawing by Megan Coyle at age six.

How do you get inspiration for your artwork?
I find inspiration from common, everyday things—the bright colors of a farmer’s market, someone making a funny face, animals lounging at the zoo. The world around us is filled with so much color and excitement.

Commuters by collage artist Megan Coyle

How did you get started with collage?
For several years here and there, I’m sure I made collages the way most people did as a child—by collaging words and photographs to create a jumbled mix of recognizable objects. In high school, I explored a variety of media, including collage, and over the years, my technique evolved. During my senior year of high school, I started making collages the way I currently do—cutting out shapes of color and texture from magazine pages to construct figures. However, I focused more on playing with color and I'd draw over my collages with oil pastel.

Orange Girl by collage artist Megan Coyle

How many hours a day do you create?
I typically work on artwork a couple of hours a day every day. I aim for longer than this, but the time I set aside for art fluctuates depending on how much time I need to devote to my web and graphic design work.

Boston Terrier by collage artist Megan Coyle

How do you recharge your creativity?
When I need to recharge, I usually take a break from work in general. Getting away on a short vacation can help me recharge my batteries. Taking a simple trip to a museum or wandering around town to take pictures can do wonders to my creativity.

Street in Old Town by collage artist Megan Coyle

What was your first job?
For my first job out of college, I worked at a local art museum as a security guard (believe it or not). The museum only hired art majors or historians for the position, which is pretty odd because I don’t consider artists to be very intimidating people. And I think the general public agreed with this. The hours were long and grueling, and I ended up quitting after a few months because it wasn’t challenging enough. That and I’d rather make art than bark at people to get away from it.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Working away on collages while putting on a solo show about once a year. I also see myself working more with animating my collages. And I hope to crank out a couple of children’s books by then.

I’ll definitely live and breathe art no matter what I’m doing.

The New York Diner by collage artist Megan Coyle

What has been your most exciting moment as an artist?
Getting accepted for my first solo exhibition was incredibly exciting. I’m also ecstatic every time I hear from teachers who have used my artwork as examples in their lesson plans. It’s just really rewarding knowing that your art is being used to teach and inspire.

What do you wish you could do?
Help others realize how great art is. One of my life-long goals is to make people think of art the way they think of rock n’ roll.

Yellow Flowers by collage artist Megan Coyle

What other interests do you have outside of visual art?
I’m a junkie for every art form out there. There’s nothing I love more than seeing a great concert, reading a good book, or watching a movie that makes me think more about the world around me.

What gives you hope in the world?
Whenever I’m blessed with the kindness of a fellow artist or art enthusiast—nothing else makes me believe that art is bound for bigger and better things.

Goldfish Pond by collage artist Megan Coyle

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Couple by the Potomac

Couple by the Potomac by collage artist Megan Coyle

"Couple by the Potomac"
Collage on paper

I'm really getting into exploring different angles with my people collages - before I was pretty attached to the basic portrait composition where I focused in on the face of the sitter. Here the background has a pretty strong role and the figures are much smaller.

And now I'm off for a day filled with errands while escaping my warm apartment (they haven't turned the air-conditioning on yet).

Monday, April 5, 2010

"What's Your Bag?" Exhibition

I hope everyone had a happy weekend. I spent my Saturday gallery sitting at the Del Ray Artisans for their "What's Your Bag?" exhibition. The show features artwork that depicts bags in our culture as well as art made from recycled bags. A lot of handmade bags were also included in the show.

Photo by collage artist Megan Coyle

Here's the piece that I had hanging in the exhibition, "The Reader." There's a book bag resting on the ground next to the figure spread out on the park bench.

I thought I'd have a productive art-filled weekend, however I was feeling pretty sick and had to spend half my weekend either sleeping or laying in bed. I love keeping busy, so it was pretty difficult for me to force myself to rest up so I could recover. Now I'm feeling much better, and I'm glad I took it easy instead of working away.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Progress Picture #2: Couple by the Potomac

Couple by the Potomac by collage artist Megan Coyle

Here's the next step for my latest piece - so far I've blocked out the background. I've decided to try using more texture in the water, so some of the magazine strips have writing on them but they were cut in such a way that the writing looks more like a pattern than words. Next I'll tackle the figures and the bits and pieces in the background that have yet to be put down.

For now, I'm off to do a little volunteer gallery sitting.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Progress Picture #1: Couple by the Potomac

Here's the beginning of my next piece - the background is inspired by some scenery around town in Old Town of Alexandria, Virginia.

Couple by the Potomac by collage artist Megan Coyle

I'm excited about finishing up this series in the next few weeks - I've got a few ideas on some projects to work on in the future, although they'll have to be put on hold until I finish the remainder of the work for the upcoming exhibitions this summer.

I hope everyone has a happy Friday. And thank you to Julissa for giving me the Sunshine Award the other day - you should check out her blog to see her sweet and colorful illustrations.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Trip to Wisconsin: On the Go from City to City

After a week of traveling to meet some relatives for the first time and eat plenty of food, I'm back from my trip. It was fun to get away, but now I'm back to my hectic schedule for the next few months. Once all of my major exhibitions are over this summer, I'll have more time to breathe - unless I find myself wrapped up in another major project. Here are a few pictures from the trip:

Photo by Megan Coyle

I wonder what Don Quixote would have thought of these modern-day giants.

Photo by Megan Coyle

This little guy was hiding in a bed of rocks when we hiked around the marsh in Waupun.

Photo by Megan Coyle

The end of the trail is not only a statue, but a delicious chocolate shop.

Photo by Megan Coyle

The Paine Art Center in Osh Kosh - just a "little" summer house made for the Paine family.

Photo by Megan Coyle

Flyers on the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Photo by Megan Coyle

Sometimes the light played a few tricks on our eyes.

Photo by Megan Coyle

The days were cold, but at least the sun was out to dazzle us with reflections, shadows, and bright light.

Photo by Megan Coyle

Staring at glass buildings can sometimes be more exciting than looking at the sights directly in front of you. Reflections are like temporary paintings.

Photo by Megan Coyle

In Sheboygan, it seemed that the cold weather didn't scare away some folks trying to have some water fun.

Photo by Megan Coyle

Ended our visit with a couple days in Milwaukee, the other windy city.

Photo by Megan Coyle

Old buildings and new banners work together to make colorful angles.

Photo by Megan Coyle

A day couldn't get started without a nice cup of coffee or tea to warm us up and wake us up.

Photo by Megan Coyle

The butterfly room in the Milwaukee Public Museum was probably one of my favorite spots in the city. Butterflies flew all around us, landing on our clothes, or perching right before our eyes.

Photo by Megan Coyle

Before bidding farewell to Wisconsin and the Midwest, we paid the Milwaukee Museum of Art a visit. The building reminds me of a swan.

And that was just a little glimpse of some of the sights I saw. Now I'm off to get back to some art making.