Monday, December 31, 2012

Day 176

Self-Portrait in Winter, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

This is the first self-portrait I've painted. I've thought of doing one several times over the years, but now in light of all of the "mugshots" I've been painting, I decided it was high time to give it a shot. I used brushwork for the face, and palette knife for the hair, background and the coat. I really like the combination of smooth brushstrokes with the textured knife work.

It was a rather strange experience - like looking into a mirror for 6 hours. It makes me realize I should be open to painting more self-portraits, because we know our own face better than anyone else's, and we always see ourselves differently than other people see us, and wouldn't that be interesting to explore..? Hmmm...

I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year, and thanks for following along - it's been a helluva year to say the least! I started my painting-a-day project in April, and to date have painted 176 daily paintings, plus 21 additional paintings (mainly commissions and larger works) this year. As my style developed, I felt confident enough to enter, and go on to win, the small works show at the Edward Hopper house in New York - a huge honor! I studied for a week with the incredible Karin Jurick at Hilton Head Island, and had a painting accepted into the Randy Higbee Gallery small works show in Costa Mesa, California this december, where my entry was purchased by one of their collectors. To top it all off, 66 of my paintings have sold in 2012. I feel incredibly blessed.

To my friends, family, and supporters, your encouragement and kind words have meant the world, and help keep me going on days when the workload feels overwhelming. Your understanding of how focused I’ve had to be this year is much appreciated. It’s been a very stressful year in some ways, but it’s also been the best year of my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support, and I wish for a year of beauty, creativity, inspiration and joy for us all in 2013.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Day 175

Mugshot: Cindy, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

Next up in the lineup of the Hilton Head Gang mugshots is Cindy. I really enjoyed the little touches in this painting - the texture of the background and her hair, her pink sweater, the purples and pinks in her skin, and of course, her gold necklace. I like the strong brushwork on her face. I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying painting these little "mugshots!"

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Day 174

Mugshot: Keleigh, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

This may be my favorite "mugshot" so far. I've enjoyed painting the Hilton Head Gang mugshots so much that I've asked a few of my friends if I could paint them so I can keep practicing painting faces. I'm not kidding when I say I learn SO much with each and every one of these little paintings. Keleigh is a sweetheart, and I intentionally picked a photo that was not her normal smiling face, because that's what make these "mugshots" so much fun. I love how the crazy skin colors blend together as your eye travels around the painting...

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Day 173

Sally, 5 x 7 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

I grew up with dairy goats and painted this as a gift for my sister, because it looked just like her goat named Sally. (Mine was named Susie, in case you were wondering...) I found this "Sally" goat when I visited Doe's and Diva's dairy last summer. Goats are fun to paint, I really need to do more of them. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Day 172

Winter Solstice Shadows, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

I was pressed for time on friday, so I grabbed a panel, my palette knife, a few colors and set a timer for 15 minutes and stood at the window looking out into my yard and tried to quickly capture the colors of the tree shadows on snow in the bright sunlight. 

I'll be taking tomorrow off for the holiday. Have a wonderful Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Day 171

Mugshot: Lulu, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

Next up in the Hilton Head Gang mugshots is Lulu. In real life Lulu is one of the sweetest people you'll ever meet, so it was fun to paint such a grouchy looking picture of her. Lulu lives in Switzerland, and is a fantastic artist. You can check out her blog here: 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Day 170

Palette Knife Color Notan 4, 
4 x 4 inch oil on canvas
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

This little palette knife study suggested a still life to me, so I added a tomato-looking thing and a few other circular objects. I'm actually pretty excited that I've got the hang of making round objects with the knife now. This one took a little longer than the last three - maybe twenty five minutes or so total. I also really like the way I can get such clean colors with the knife. Lots of possibilities with this tool.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Day 169

Palette Knife Color Notan 3, 4 x 4 inch oil on canvas
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

Today's painting is another little notan, where I'm just playing around with light and dark patterns and color with no real objective other than to make something pleasing, and to practice painting with the knife. In case you missed it, I'm doing a few of these little studies this week for my daily paintings because of time constraints, as so far they only take about fifteen minutes each. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Day 168

Palette Knife Color Notan 2, 4 x 4 inch oil on canvas
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

I think I'm going to do a few more of these little color notan studies this week, because I have some commissions I need to work on right now and the fact that these little abstracts don't take much time is a big help. I like this one better than yesterdays. Actually I like it quite a bit, but don't worry - I have no plans to become an abstract painter. These are just experiments, and another way to practice my knife handling. 

On another note, I've listed the mini-landscapes from days 157 - 160 in my Etsy store, for only 60.00 each, including the little display easel. They would make a nice gift (or maybe a gift to yourself.)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Day 167

Palette Knife Color Notan 1, 4 x 4 inch oil on canvas

I only had a few minutes today to do my daily painting, and decided to just work out an abstract design with the palette knife, simply playing around with no expectations. It was a somewhat meditative and nice and quick little exercise. To really save time, I could have taken the easy way out and simply painted the canvas black and said I was "exploring the blackness," but I couldn't bring myself to do it. (Haha!)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Day 166

Chumley, 10 x 8 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

This is my artist friend Clair Hartmann's dog Chumley. We decided it would be fun to paint each others dogs, and it was! I can't wait to see her painting of Cloud in person. In the meantime, you can check out some of her work here.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Day 165

Boomer knife study, 6 x 6 inch oil on canvas
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

Day 3 of teaching myself how to paint with a palette knife, and I wanted to try something a little more ambitious than an apple or cup. This is my 19 year old cat Boomer, the original grumpy cat. As in the previous knife studies, I learned a great deal with this painting, and I'm really enjoying working with the knife. My goal is to get as comfortable with a knife as I am with the brushes, and while I'm not there yet, I'm closer than I was yesterday. My favorite part of this painting are the stripes on top of her head.

Here are a few in progress shots. This, as with the other two knife paintings, were started without a preliminary drawing on the canvas (a step I rarely skip. I'm not sure why I didn't start with a drawing, but I'll admit, I like the freshness of the results.) This was painted on a piece of canvas taped to a board.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Day 164

Sake Cup knife study, 4 x 4 inch oil on canvas
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

Another session of teaching myself to paint with a palette knife, I decided to paint a sake cup my husband made recently. I'm pretty happy with the edges on this one, and the way the lovely thick paint on the light side of the cup gives it a 3D effect. I'm finding that knife painting means giving up a degree of control over what happens to the paint, but when you embrace it and let it do it's thing, really good things can result. (And not to go back into those areas once you have the paint down!) I'm getting more comfortable with the knife, and excited about the possibilities of combining knife and brushwork in future paintings. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Day 163

Apple - knife study, 4 x 4 inch oil on canvas
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

After yesterdays palette knife painting and seeing the possibilities, I wanted to experiment with the knife again today. I do use the knife in many of my paintings, but only here and there to add an area of texture or a razor sharp edge. Up until this week I had never tried to actually paint with it. After yesterday, I realized there is a lot to learn about paint handling with a knife, and since I learn best by experimenting, I plan to just jump in with both feet and see what I can figure out. I learned a little more about blending and creating edges with the knife in this study today, and I love the textural quality.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Day 162

Marshland, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

This painting is a first for me - it was painted entirely with a palette knife. I love the look of palette knife paintings and have wanted to try it, but until today had always reached for the brushes instead. (Thanks to my buddy Oscar Arroyo for giving me the push. It was a challenge I couldn't resist.) Overall, I'm quite pleased with this painting and plan to use the knife more to learn to get the most out of it. Before today I'd only used it to add accents here and there. I'd like to try an animal painting using only the knife. That could be interesting!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Day 161

Mugshot: Brenda, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

Brenda is my favorite of my Hilton Head Gang Mugshots that I've painted so far, with her signature glasses and fabulous orange lipstick. I'm very happy with how it turned out, and I can't tell you how much I enjoy these little paintings - I learn so much with each one! This should give you a visual of just how small these little mugshots are. I never knew I could fit so much onto such a small space:

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Study of Fish Corrals at Rota, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

This little beach scene was painted from a photo I took in Rota, Spain in 2005. The fish corrals were built in ancient times, and are still standing today. At low tide, fish would become trapped, and the fishermen could gather them up relatively easily. Today they are a national monument. It's hard to imagine just how big these corrals are without seeing them in person. I found this photo on flikr, to give you an idea. 

I was trying to play with color and mood, as well as create some interesting texture with the palette knife.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Day 159

Iowa Hills, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

Here's the third in my series of little 4 x 4 inch landscapes. I got the opportunity to see some Grant Wood paintings last weekend while in Davenport, and was inspired to do my take on the Iowa hills and trees, keeping the shapes as simple as my detail oriented brain would allow. This was painted from one of my photos of Preparation Canyon state park, in the Loess Hills of western Iowa.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Day 158

Red Rocks study, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

I had so much fun with yesterdays painting that I decided to do another little 4 x 4" landscape. What I like about this small size is that it forces me to be looser with my brushstrokes. (I don't use tiny brushes). This is my first southwest landscape, painted from a photo I took in Sedona several years ago. I really like the thick paint of the clouds.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Day 157

Lowcountry Marsh, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

I decided to try a landscape on one of my little 4 x 4 inch panels because I couldn't spend much time on todays painting. I'm extremely happy with the result. This is my second painting of the Carolina marshland, and I think I could paint it a hundred times and not get tired of it. I love the light, and the peacefulness, and the reflections on the water. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Day 156

Everyday I'm Shuffling, (study), 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

This is a study for a larger painting. One thing I'm enjoying about these little daily paintings is using them to test out ideas for larger paintings and work the bugs out. This guy is my first Bulldog, and he was both challenging (that face!) and fun to paint.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day 155

Sue, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

This is my friend Sue, and she's coming home in a few days - she's been away for almost a year on an epic 11 countries in 11 months missions trip. Sue is one of the kindest, happiest people I've ever met, and the world is a much better place because of her.

I invite you to check out Sue's adventures, and especially scroll down through the photos. The smiles say it all.

This may be one of my favorite paintings to date, and it's funny that it's so small, but I really enjoy painting faces on these little 4x4"s.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 154

Reclining Nude 2, 5 x 7 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

Another 40 minute pose from life at the figure drawing group. Pretty happy with the reflected light on this one. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Day 153

Mugshot: Kim, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

This is the third in the series of the 2012 Hilton Head Gang mugshots. Once again, so much complexity in the skin tones, and these mugshots have been a great learning experience to just play with color. For instance, it wasn't until I put the greens and lavenders in her skin that the whole thing came together.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Day 152

Hitchcock Trail Study, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

The Loess Hills of western Iowa turn the most beautiful shades of gold in the Fall. I wanted to do a quick study, trying to capture the colors and textures of the hills against the blue sky. 

I'm also having a one day sale for Cyber-Monday in my Etsy shop - 20 - 50% everything, today only! Click here.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Day 151

Mugshot: Laurie, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

The 2nd in the 2012 Hilton Head Gang mugshots is Laurie. Karin Jurick told us at her workshop that we could really push bright colors in these little 4 x 4 inch paintings, (where they would be obnoxious in a larger format), so I dove right in with some bright orange to compliment Laurie's blue eyes. I like it!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 150

Goat Itch, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

Remember when I did the value study for this painting a few weeks ago? It made it a lot easier when it came time to paint this guy in color. I had quite a bit of fun with this one, pushing the reflected colors on his fur and adding thick areas of paint with the palette knife in the sunlit straw.

I'm going to take tomorrow off for the holiday. I'll be back Friday. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 149

Steppin' Out, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

I'm very pleased to announce that today's painting was accepted into the Randy Higbee Gallery's very popular annual 6 x 6 inch show and sale next month, in Costa Mesa, CA. I am truly honored, as some of the best artists in the country will be represented. 

Here we have a scene from my local farmers market this fall. This young Bernese Mountain Dog was so great. Can you believe he's not done growing yet? Luckily, I have lots of reference photos I've taken at the farmers market to keep me busy all winter, since our markets only run from may through october. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Day 148

Figure Oil Sketch, 5 x 7 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

Another 40 minute pose painted from life at the figure drawing group. I wonder what would happen if I stopped leaving the faces for last? I usually only have a minute or two to work on the face before the time is up. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Day 147

Mugshot: Karin, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

Well, here it is. The first of the 2012 Hilton Head Gang mugshots. None other than the ringleader, Karin Jurick herself. This was a lot of fun to paint, and I learn so much doing these little mugshots. Can't wait to paint the rest of the gang!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 146

Mugshot: Cloud, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

If you missed the post about painting mugshots, click here

I wanted to do a warmup mugshot before starting the real mugshot project (where everyone who attended Karin Jurick's workshop paints "mugshots" of each other,) so I decided to paint one of Cloud. This painting cracks me up! My little boy's been arrested. His crime? Stuffy homicide:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day 145

Marsh Study, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

One of the things I fell in love with in South Carolina were the marshes. The marsh grasses reminded me of vast prairies intersected with water, and were truly a feast for the eyes. Most of the land here in Iowa is vast mono-crops of corn and soybeans, and the prairies that used to be here are few and far between. 

With this study, I was trying to get the feel of the colors of the grasses, and the way the evening light was hitting the water. This is Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge, near Hilton Head Island.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day 144

Torso Study, 5 x 7 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

Another 40 minute pose, painted from life at the local figure drawing group. This was the first session since I got back from Karin Jurick's workshop, and I can see some really neat things going on with this painting in regards to looseness, brushwork, and skin tones. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Day 143

Beach Boy study, 5 x 7 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

I got a great series of photos of this guy on the beach at Hilton Head Island, and wanted to do a study before I tackled any of them, to get the feel of the colors of the dog against the water. This guy was so funny to watch, he was having a good old time playing in the water.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Day 142

To Dye For, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

This colorful pair were walking on the beach at Hilton Head Island. The reference photo for this painting was taken by my dear husband while I was busy at the workshop. (It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it.) He knew I was looking for bright colors, and boy did he find them! I had a ball painting their outfits - it was just too much fun. 

Karin's last day demo was amazing! She painted one of her museum pieces that I dearly love, and it was such a privilege to see this painting come to life before our eyes:

Karin Jurick's demo, 8 x 8 inch.

It was a wonderful week that I'll never forget. I made so many new friends, and of course, to study with Karin Jurick is something I'll always treasure. As a bonus, I came away with lots of great photos to use as reference for future paintings, and even more memories.

Our workshop group photo. Karin is in the orange scarf. 

Jason and I in the historic district of Savannah. I can't tell you how much I adored that city. I left part of my heart there, and need to go back and get it:

I'll leave you with this photo - I bought one of Karin's tabletop easels (it's amazing!!) and she signed it for me. Paint on, Kat. Yes indeed... 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day 141

Mug Shot, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

One of the things that Karin Jurick is known for is her incredible four inch square paintings of mugshots. We each got to paint a mugshot at her workshop from a photo she gave us. I learned SO MUCH from this one painting. It was actually very fun, and I definitely want to paint more - it's a great exercise in painting faces. Last year, the workshop participants painted mugshots of each other and even made a blog (and a book) of them all, and I'm happy to report that we're going to do it this year, too! I'm really looking forward to painting "mugshots" of everyone in the group, it will be such a great way to remember our week together. 

Before we began, Karin did a mugshot demo, and once again I was in awe watching her work. Here is her finished mugshot, painted in about 35 minutes:

Karin's mugshot demo. 4 x 4 inches.

One of my favorite things during the week was watching Karin paint a dog. Not just any dog, but her terrier mix, Joey. My life is now complete. 

Demo painting by Karin Jurick of her dog, Joey. 5 x 7 inches.

You can see all of Karin's mugshot paintings here. (Or all on one page here, if you don't feel like scrolling through a blog.) I highly recommend checking it out, they are incredible.