You’re Sweet as Pie

You're Sweet as Pie is a collage by collage artist Megan Coyle
“You’re Sweet as Pie” Collage on paper. 5″x7″
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Some desserts are a little more intimidating to collage than others. I decided to tackle a pie, and was afraid that it might end up looking like a nondescript blob. I’m happy that this one turned out better than I expected.

This is part of my dessert still life series, where I’m tacking subjects that I used to avoid as an artist. I used to think that still life art was boring to make, and this exercise of completing a series, has made me really enjoy the art of still life – specifically, the art of food art.

Have a Bite? Donut Mind if I do!

“Have a Bite? Donut Mind if I do!” Collage on paper. 5″x7″
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There’s just something sweet about making artwork that has sprinkles. I had fun coming up with the title for this piece, as well as cutting out all those tiny pieces for the sprinkles. You can see that the pieces of paper for the donut, as well as the plate, involved a lot of tiny pieces that were layered in such a way that the fragments of paper were almost blended together.

The background consists of one texture I found in the background of a magazine ad. I also layered a little bit of solid color on top of the background, to help with shadowing. Overall, I had some fun depicting a donut that had a bite taken out of it.

Rural Fields

Rural Fields by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Rural Fields” Collage on paper. 5″x7″
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Landscapes are one of the subjects I seldom tackle. I suppose I’m more drawn to animals than I am to different environments. However, tonight I decided to sit down and complete a landscape piece from start to finish.

My landscapes have a tendency of looking more abstract, since I’m focusing more on abstract shapes of color and texture. I also wanted to limit my time on this collage so I wouldn’t overwork different areas of the surface.

I filmed a time lapse of this piece that you can view below:

The Serious Cheetah

The Serious Cheetah is a collage by collage artist Megan Coyle
“The Serious Cheetah” Collage on paper. 5″x7″
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I’ve taken a short break from my dessert-inspired collages to return to one of my favorite subjects, animals. This time I thought I’d tackle something I’ve never collaged before, a cheetah. I enjoyed working on the patterned background, as well as cutting out all the intricate shapes for the cheetah’s spots and whiskers.

After completing this piece, I realized that there’s a pattern with the color palettes I use. A lot of my animal pieces use oranges and greens. I suppose I’m drawn to the color green when it comes to the background for my compositions. And I’m looking forward to experimenting with something a little new for my next pieces.

Collages Inspired by my Family

Bill by collage artist Megan Coyle

Back when I was a senior in college, I created my first cohesive body of collage work where I made collages entirely from magazine strips. My senior thesis exhibition included a series of portraits, with several inspired by my family. At that time, I wasn’t interested in making portraits of famous or well-known figures, but figures that were well-known to me.

The image above is a collage, “Bill,” that was inspired by my father. I had taken a series of photographs of him and ended up working from a few reference images in order to complete his portrait. I wanted to make a portrait of my father because I’ve really appreciated how he’s influenced my interest in art. When I was a kid, I remember that he used to paint landscapes and still life scenes when we went on vacation. And over the years, he’s been an avid photographer.

Jean by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Jean.” Collage on paper. 18″x24″
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“Jean” is a portrait of my mother that was also part of my senior thesis exhibit. I remember that my mother’s portrait was a bit of a challenge because of all the details involved with the background – the windows, the bookshelf, the faint hint of color variation for the blinds, and of course, the detail of her shirt. Over the years, she’s worn many hats, one of which I’d like to think of as her counselor hat, being helpful in giving me advice in life. She seems a bit serious in this portrait, almost as though she’s about to impart some advice.

Bren by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Bren.” Collage on paper. 18″x24″
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“Bren” is a portrait of my brother. I’m realizing that he’s appeared in several of my figurative collages over the years. What can I say? My brother has always had a tendency of being great at making expressive faces. He is also pretty artistic, and growing up, I was inspired by the artwork he made. He studied animation back in college, and currently works as an animator/3d artist.

Ali by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Ali.” Collage on paper. 18″x24″
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“Ali” is a portrait of my cousin, who I like to say seems more like a sister to me than a cousin, simply because we spent so much time together when we were growing up. Like my brother, I feel like she can be pretty expressive, and she’s appeared in a couple of my portraits.

Scott by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Scott.” Collage on paper. 18″x24″
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“Scott” is a portrait of my cousin who passed away back when I was in high school. When I was in college, I really wanted to create a work of art in memory of him. I remember that I struggled with this portrait, since I really wanted to make sure I could capture his likeness. This portrait was also part of my senior thesis exhibition.

Boy with Dog by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Boy with Dog.” Collage on paper. 24″x18″
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After college, I started exploring different ways of tackling portraiture. “Boy with Dog” was one of my first pieces that looked at portraiture involving a person and a pet. This piece was also inspired by one of my younger cousins, Drew.

Sightseers by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Sightseers.” Collage on paper. 24″x18″
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Later, I started creating images where figures were interacting more with their surroundings. “Sightseers” is a piece that was inspired by my mother and brother when we were on the rooftop of a building in New York City, admiring the view.

The Hikers by collage artist Megan Coyle
“The Hikers.” Collage on paper. 24″x18″
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For several years, my family went to West Virginia for Thanksgiving. We’d rent a cabin, and it usually snowed at some point during our stay. “The Hikers” is inspired by the walks I’d occasionally take with my family in the snow. For this piece, I explored using more abstract shapes, as well as fragments from photographs of nature.

Snorkeling by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Snorkeling.” Collage on paper. 24″x18″
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Growing up, my family spent a few summers in Maine. Sometimes my brother and I would go snorkeling in the ocean, and since the water was always so cold, we’d wear wetsuits. “Snorkeling” was inspired by those summers spent snorkeling and exploring tide pools.

I have my family to thank for inspiring a lot of my earlier portraiture work. I actually haven’t explored figurative collages in a while, and I suppose you could say I’m well overdue for that. Perhaps I should turn to my family and friends again, and see how they can help inspire future works of art.

Cupcake Time

Cupcake Time by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Cupcake Time” Collage on paper. 5″x7″
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I’m having a sweet time making all these dessert collages. With this piece, I enjoyed incorporating more texture for the background, cupcake base, and the cherry on top. However, this collage was more of a struggle for me – I felt like I was overworking the surface for the frosting.

If you take a look at the collage in-person, you’ll notice that some parts are built up more with quite a few layers of paper. Whenever there’s more paper layered in a particular area for me, it means that I was struggling with getting a certain section looking the way I wanted it to. Although, that’s making me think that it could be interesting to build up different areas on purpose to see what happens.

My Piece of the Pie (Lemon Meringue)

My Piece of the Pie - Lemon Meringue by collage artist Megan Coyle
“My Slice of the Pie (Lemon Meringue)” Collage on paper. 5″x7″
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Lemon meringue pie is my favorite type of pie, so I just had to make a collage of it. Getting the texture for the top of the pie was the most challenging part of this piece. I had a lot of fun using different yellows for the filling, and of course creating some abstract shadows on the plate.

I’m really enjoying tackling different desserts for my new still life series. I suppose previously when I tried to approach still life, I often got bored since I kept tackling floral arrangements. When you try to approach different subjects, it can really change things up, and make something that you typical found too ordinary, much more exciting. I’m planning to create a few more pieces for this series before I tackle another type of food for my still life work.

A Piece of Cake

A Piece of Cake by collage artist Megan Coyle
“A Piece of Cake” Collage on paper. 5″x7″
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I had a lot of fun working on this collage, and I’ve been getting a lot of joy from working on my latest series of minimalist desserts. I think I was previously focusing too much on animal portraits, and having more change in my routine helps get the creativity flowing. I’m planning to make a few more pieces for this series before changing gears again. It’s been fun trying to find new ways to sharpen my collage-making skills.

This piece of cake was pieced together rather smoothly. I think the most difficult part was trying to get the coloring for the background to work the way I wanted it to. Initially it was a more vibrant pink, although I wanted to find colors that were more subdued so that the cake itself would stand out more. You can also see that I focused more on finding solid colors from the magazine strips I layered, with only a few bits of texture.

You’re Pretty Sweet

You're Pretty Sweet ice cream cone by collage artist Megan Coyle
“You’re Pretty Sweet” Collage on paper. 7″x5″
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If you’ve followed my blog, you’ve probably noticed that the vast majority of my work focuses on wildlife. I’ve always had an affinity to animals, and I suppose that’s why time and time again, I’ve been drawn to making animal collages. However, lately I’ve wanted to change things up a bit. So right now I’m tackling a series of minimalist still life work, that explores various desserts.

At some point I’ll want to explore other aspects of still life compositions, but for now, I’m going to keep it sweet with my focus on sweets.

Donut Worry

Donut Worry by collage artist Megan Coyle
“Donut Worry” Collage on paper. 5″x7″
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Over the past few months, I’ve made animal collage after animal collage. Animals have always been a favorite subject of mine, but I’m realizing that I need to change things up a bit more, and focus on other subjects that I’m not as comfortable with.

Still life has always been a subject that I haven’t enjoyed tackling all that much, and I’ve had a tendency of avoiding it or not trying to see how I can make it more interesting. As an artist, if I truly want to grow and develop my skills in new ways, it’s best to get out of my comfort zone so I can see what happens.

This piece is the start of a series of food collages. First, I’m focusing on desserts where I plan to use more of a minimalist composition. And of course, I had to include a pun in the title for this piece. After all, donut worry, be happy 🙂