2012 Reflections

Calm Afternoons by collage artist Megan Coyle
Calm Afternoons by collage artist Megan Coyle
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It seems as though life just gets busier and busier with each passing year. I am so grateful that I had so many amazing art opportunities in 2012. So, to celebrate the upcoming New Year, here are the top 10 highlights from 2012:

Flamingo Dancers by collage artist Megan Coyle
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1) My artwork was accepted into a museum’s permanent collection for the first time. “Flamingo Dancers” and “Mallard Duck” are now owned by the Ward Museum.

2) Second-ever museum group exhibit. The first time my work was on display in a museum was in 2008 at the Smithsonian Ripley Center.

3) Artwork and article published in an arts anthology on DC artists. This was the first time I was part of project that was funded by a Kickstarter campaign.

All in a Row by collage artist Megan Coyle
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4) Several collages were accepted to be in an upcoming book on Wildlife Art.

5) First group exhibit in New England – “Strange Glue.”

6) First solo show at a convention center – and first time having my name show up on a sign.

7) Had a large body of work on display in a solo show in a beautiful gallery in Manassas, VA.

8) Had my work published in several newspapers and online publications. It’s always fun to have people discover your work through unexpected press.

9) Redesigned my entire portfolio website – something that dominated my time during the month of December. It took a lot of work, but overall, I’m glad I finally did it. The last redesign happened about three years ago.

10) Decided to take a break from exhibits next year so I can take it easy, get more rest, and experiment more with my artwork. The problem with having lots of exhibitions is that you find yourself making work for upcoming shows, and not spending much time on exploring and experimenting with different projects and techniques that can help your work grow.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a safe and Happy New Year! 🙂

Downtown Shopping

Downtown Shopping by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Downtown Shopping.” Collage on paper. 12″x16″
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It’s always interesting comparing my finished collages to the pictures of the sketches I did. The work of art really does change through the whole process. And it seems to change a little with every layer of paper added. Anyway, you can see that this piece is more colorful than the previous landscape/cityscape collages I’ve done in this series – which have more earth tones. I suppose I was getting a little tired of working with grays, browns, blues, and greens, and had fun changing things up.

Anyway, I’m off to do some late-night art-making. And happy almost-December!

National Gallery

National Gallery by collage artist Megan Coyle
“National Gallery.” Collage on paper. 12″x16″
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My new landscape/cityscape series has given me an opportunity to intensely study my gray color palette surroundings in DC. When I decided to collage the National Gallery, I realized I needed to change things up a bit. Thus I created a composition where you can see bits of the building behind several trees. This added a little more color, and made the layout more interesting to tackle.

The Woods

The Woods by collage artist Megan Coyle
“The Woods.” Collage on paper. 12″x16″
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There’s a lot of gray in DC, which has worked its way into several of my cityscape collages. So I decided to change things up in my series a bit by doing another natural landscape. There are clumps of natural landscape here and there around the city, and I based this piece off of a series of photographs I took. I had fun incorporating a lot of texture in the ground.

Paddle Boating

Paddle Boating by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Paddle Boating.” Collage on paper. 12″x16″
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Inspired by a warmer day in DC when the tourists were out paddle boating. I like collaging water – it’s fun using so much color and working with reflection. I also like how abstract water is. It gives me a bit of variety as far as my subject matter goes.

Anyway, I’m off to enjoy the weekend. I hope everyone is having a happy November thus far!

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Lincoln Memorial.” Collage on paper. 12″x16″
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And my DC cityscape/landscape series continues…I’m getting close to the end of this series, just a few more to go. I’m currently working away on a new collage as I hide away from Hurricane Sandy. I hope everyone on the East Coast is staying safe!

Arrested Development

Arrested Development the Bluth Bunch by Megan CoyleI like to think of the Bluth family as a dysfunctional version of the Brady Bunch.

Arrested Development was a TV show that aired from 2003 until 2006, and it follows the story of a dysfunctional family. The show is going to be back for another season, and the above collage is my submission for the Arrested Development and Netflix contest.

The Concept
I wanted to make a collage portrait of one of the Bluths but couldn’t decide which one. So I thought it would be better to make a collage that included all the main characters. I wanted to find a creative way to incorporate all the portraits, to tie them all together. I thought about how many main characters there are. Then I thought, “there’s a bunch of them, sort of like the Brady Bunch.” When I remembered Tobias’ character Mrs. Featherbottom, I realized Arrested Developement had their own bizarro Alice. So I had to go ahead with the idea…

The Bluth portraits would be reminiscent of the Brady Bunch opening credits that include blue squares with video portraits of each family member. My collage would mimic the Bradys so the Bluths would look like portraits of a Brady Bunch gone wrong – the complete opposite of the memorable wholesome family from the 70s.
Placement of Characters
Since the Bluths consist of four kids and two grandkids, with only three women, the arrangement would be slightly different than the Bradys. Mrs. Featherbottom would obviously go in Alice’s position in the center. Lucille would go above Mrs. Featherbottom while George Senior would go below. The first row would be arranged just like the Brady’s by including the mother and the oldest son and daughter. To the left of Lucille would be Lindsay and to her right would be Michael. Maeby would go below Lindsay to follow the Brady’s model of having all women in the first column, and also since she’s Lindsay and Tobias’ (aka Mrs. Featherbottom) daughter, she would be closer to their portraits. Plus her facial expression works well next to Tobias. George Michael would be below his father Michael, but above his uncle Gob. This is so George Michael would be near his father and in the all-male Brady column. He’s above Gob since he definitely the more mature of the two. Since there aren’t as many women as there are men, in Cindy’s space is Buster’s portrait. I thought this was very fitting since Cindy had a lisp and Buster has a very distinct voice.

The Process
I cut out nine 5″x5″ squares of watercolor paper. Each square was used as the support for each collage portrait, where I used my “painting with paper” technique. With separate squares the composition can now always be rearranged for fun:

Arrested Development the Bluth Bunch by Megan Coyle
Arrested Development the Bluth Bunch by Megan Coyle

The portraits can also come apart and be viewed as separate works of art or put together to form one large work of art.

This idea came to me a few days ago so I only had this past weekend to complete the piece. It usually takes me about a day to complete my smallest portrait size. I don’t know how I managed to finish this before the deadline…

Trees in the Distance

Trees in the Distance by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Trees in the Distance.” Collage on paper. 12″x16″
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This collage is inspired by some of the green scenery you can find around the DC area. I’ve been working on a couple more urban/building collages, but it’ll be nice to find a few more natural landscapes to fit into this new series.

All in a Row

All in a Row by collage artist Megan Coyle
“All in a Row.” Collage on paper. 12″x16″
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This was inspired by the many colorful townhouses in DC. I created another townhouse collage a couple years ago that was inspired by the buildings in Old Town Alexandria. Anyway, I think I’ll make another one of these somewhat soon. I have a lot of fun working on colorful buildings.

And now I’m off to continue my work with this cityscape/landscape series. I have a handful left to make…