Thursday, May 31, 2012

Day 32

Tall Drink of Water, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

Ever since I heard this term many years ago, I've wanted to be called a 'tall drink of water,' even though I think it's a saying usually reserved for the fellas, no? Also, I'm not exactly tall, either. I just think it's one of the most unusual, cool compliments out there. It hasn't happened yet. Maybe someday it will, and if not, oh well. At least I can paint one...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Day 31

Out for a Walk, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy
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My favorite toys when I was a kid were the Fisher Price Little People.  I found some of the vintage wood people, and a few animals and cars at a flea market over the weekend, including this little wooden orange boy. Even when I was a kid, I liked the wooden people better than the plastic ones.

It's always fun for me to try to give a sense of movement and life to paintings of inanimate objects. The little orange boy says rather indignantly, "Who you calling inanimate??" (I love my imaginary world...)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Day 30

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

This one should not have been a daily painting. It was far too ambitious. This should have been painted slowly over several days, but I was sure I could do it because I had completed Day 26 in about 4 or 5 hours. This one ended up taking me an entire day and part of the next one. I got frustrated and a little panicky as I realized I wasn't going to finish in one day, which of course made things end up taking even longer, but it is what it is - a great lesson for me not to bite off more than I can chew with these daily paintings.

It's also a study for a new series of studio paintings I'm getting ready to start of dogs at the farmers market. This little guy's name was Gatsby, and he was absolutely adorable. A rescued Italian Greyhound/Terrier mix. My husband and I both fell madly in love with him.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Day 29

Shannon with Scarf, 7 x 5 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy
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This one is another 40 minute pose painted at my figure drawing group. There were a few times I had to tell myself to stop for a moment and just breathe, to keep from rushing too much. The 40 minutes goes by so fast.

It feels like I'm getting better at skin tones and capturing form with these figure paintings. The scarf was fun to just suggest with a few strokes of color. I'm pretty happy with how this one turned out.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Day 28

Leaning Away, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

This painting is more to me about color and brush strokes than about pears. The pears just happen to be the reason for it.

I ADORE this color combo! Not one of these colors is straight from the tube. In fact, I very rarely use any color straight from the tube, they always get mixed with another color. Straight color is too loud, in most cases.

Did I mention that I'm using a very limited palette for these paintings? A warm and cool yellow, a warm and cool red, and a warm and cool blue. Transparant red oxide mixed with ultramarine blue when I need black. All the browns and grays are mixed with red, yellow, and blue. 

Lovely, yummy colors harmonizing and playing together so nicely... 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Day 27

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

My beloved Fisher Price cow, marching ever onwards...

There is so much I like about this painting - the heavy nostalgia factor, the gorgeous complimentary colors, the wonderful 'plastic' feeling of the cow.

The shadow 'grounds' the cow. The left hind foot looses itself in the shadow and gives the sense of the cow being a part of it's environment (in this case, the shadow box,) rather than looking like it was 'pasted' onto the background. A few soft edges around the head and back accomplish this as well.

It's all about hard and soft edges, people. Don't overdo them, but don't forget them, either.

I really like this one.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Day 26

Blue Duck Retriever, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

I love this painting. This is my rat terrier Cloud with his favorite toy, in happier days when Blue Duck's head was still attached to his body. Poor Blue Duck. 

I'm back in my comfort zone (painting dogs), but there are some new things: I've never painted a stuffed toy before, and most of my dog paintings have very simple backgrounds. It's funny how when you get back into your comfort zone after being out of it for a while, you notice some improvements in the way you do things. This is what I notice:

• The looser brushstrokes.
• The brushstrokes suggest form better than they used to.
• You can feel the texture of the stuffed toy, even though I made no attempt at all to make it look fuzzy.               
• There is a nice feeling of movement here. 
• The leaves are only suggested, but they look more convincing than if I had tried to make them highly detailed.

It was so much fun for me to paint that stuffed toy, I really feel like I nailed the colors and the textures with just a few brushstrokes. 
I'm learning so much about the nuances of brushwork with this daily painting project, I can only see it improving all aspects of my future paintings.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day 25

Sherry Painting, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

This is one of the gals in my plein air group, and the way she was sitting with the strong sunlight hitting her, was far more interesting to me than the barns most of the group were painting. (And the barns were really, really neat!)

This was painted about half on location, but she was getting sunburned, so I finished the background in the studio from photos. I like the looseness of this piece. The shoes, hat, and tee shirt are my favorite parts. I like the green reflecting on her leg from the grass. 

The chair legs look a little short to me. Still learning about skin tones in oils. Totally out of my comfort zone. And you know what? I'm having a lot of fun. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Day 24

Lone Hay Bale, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

This was painted on location at my friend Leela's place. There was a group of hay bales playing nicely together in the field, but I was drawn to this one sitting alone by the tree line. The one that didn't get picked for the team. Hay bales can be so cruel...

It can be hard to judge values on your canvas in bright sunlight. Ideally, I find a shady spot when I paint outdoors, but that wasn't in the cards this day.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Day 23

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

This painting was done from life at my figure drawing group. It's my first head study in oils, let alone a head study done from life in 40 minutes. I only used two colors (plus white) this time, to simplify the skin tones: ultramarine blue deep and transparent oxide red. 

I can paint any color of fur, but there is much I need to learn about painting human skin tones. And I'm still figuring out which brushes work best for these small, quick studies. Considering all that, I kind of like this piece. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day 22

When life hands you lemons, put them in a really pretty bowl.
6 x 6 inch, oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy
Click for purchase information.

This is the first time I've ever painted lemons. Hard to believe, since lemons are one of the first things most people learn to paint. Not me. When I started painting, I jumped right into painting what I WANTED to paint - namely, things with a face. :-)

I think it's good for me to revisit the fundamentals, now that I'm more interested in the whys and the hows, rather than jumping right to the fun stuff. In the end, it's only going to strengthen ALL of my artwork.

I like how the brushstrokes suggest the form of the lemons, and I really feel like I got the color of the wood-fired bowl, even though the shape looks a little off to me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day 21

Muenster On Top, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

Well, here we see Muenster climbing it's way to the top to become the Head Cheese. That's the thing about Muenster, it has high ambitions and doesn't care who (or what) it steps on in the process.

This is the first time I've ever painted cheese. I had to stop after about an hour because it was drying out and changing color, and I didn't want to ruin hubby's cheese that he picked out especially for him at Whole Foods. (Sorry, Sweetie!)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Day 20

A Quiet Moment Alone
6 x 6 inch, oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy
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His and hers vitamins having an intimate moment. When I noticed the way the labels lined up, even though they were different sized bottles, I saw a painting right away.

This is one of my favorites of the daily paintings so far. It was fun from start to finish. I love suggesting detail, rather than getting too exact. To me, the suggested detail ends up looking more "real."

Here's a photo of my incredibly high-tech still life setup - A box I made out of mat board with a window cut out for the light. You can see the different colored card stock I use for backgrounds. It works pretty slick.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Day 19

Jar of Memories, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

I like to save sand, rocks, shells, and dirt from places I visit. This is dirt and a sandstone from Sedona, Arizona. I look at them, and they take me back more than any photo...

Friday, May 11, 2012

Day 18

Helmet, 7 x 5 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy
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Well, here's something you don't see everyday - a naked man wearing a helmet and shoes. (At least, I don't see it everyday.) Where would I see this, you ask? I meet with a local figure drawing group once a week. For two and a half hours, we draw 2 minute, 10 minute, and 25 minute poses from a live model, and finish up with a 45 minute pose. I generally work in charcoal there, but I decided to bring my oils for the long pose.

This is the first time I've ever painted the figure, let alone painted the figure from life! 45 minutes may sound like a long time, but it went by like that **snaps fingers.** I had just enough time to get this down, but it was fun and challenging, and I'm really happy with the result! I plan to bring my oils to figure drawing more often.

I was going to title this: Male Nude with Helmet, but is a person really nude if they're wearing shoes..?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Day 17

Beware What Lies Beneath
7 x 5 inch, oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy
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I couldn't resist painting this when a facebook friend showed me her photo and asked if I wanted a lurking kitty in my daily challenge.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Day 16

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

I think this is a Granny Smith apple. It's one of those horribly sour kinds, anyway. My goal with this piece was to convey how sour the apple is - that just by looking at this painting, you make an involuntary "lemon face."

What's really exciting to me about this painting is the difference between this apple and the apples I painted on day 2 and 3. I already see growth in this short time. This year-long project is a lot of work, but very rewarding already.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Day 15

Free Sample of Kumquat Jelly
6 x 6 inch, oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

It really was a free sample of kumquat jelly. See:

I never worry about running out of things to paint - I see paintings around me all day, every day, everywhere I look. I love it!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Day 14

Biding It's Time, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

Sure, this onion looks harmless enough, but don't be fooled. It's just sitting there quietly, biding it's time. Waiting to make you cry...

I really like the soft colors of this painting, and how transparent the skin looks.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Day 13

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

During the warmer months, I paint on location with a local plein air group several times a month. Painting en plein air means painting "in the open air," and all the cool kids are doing it these days.

I was really drawn to this old truck that was at our afternoon location, and decided it would make a good daily painting.

This study took about an hour and a half. I could have fiddled around with it for another hour or two, but I had the gist of it, and besides, it was hot and the back of my neck was getting sunburned. (I can be a total plein air Diva sometimes. Oh, the drama!)

This is only the second time I've put a vehicle in a painting, but they are fun. The license plate is my favorite part.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Day 12

Mixed Bag, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy
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My farmer must have gotten some new chickens recently. His last delivery included two of the most beautiful little pale green eggs. I'm not sure what breed of hen that would be, I'll have to ask him when I see him in a few weeks.

I thought I could knock this painting out in a couple hours, but it took me 4 or 5 before I was happy with the egg carton. NOT what I had planned, especially when I have other paintings in my studio that need attention!

That being said, I am happy with how this turned out. I love the individuality of the eggs, sitting in the uniformity of the carton.

This is a subject I'm pretty passionate about. Visit to find family farmers who don't "factory farm" their animals. Healthier for us, for the animals, and for the environment.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Day 11

"Yes, it's organic."
6 x 6 inch, oil on panel,
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

Same orange as yesterday, but I rotated it and painted the back side. (Wait. Does a round object have a back side?) I decided to introduce more color this time, thus the green bag. The orange doesn't 'pop' quite as much as in the previous days painting.

I like the addition of the label on the orange. It adds interest, and draws attention away from the green bag, back to the orange. The orange is an attention hog and likes to be in the spotlight.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Day 10

Orange you glad to see me?
6 x 6 inch, oil on panel
© 2012 Kathleen Coy

It's no secret that I have a love of neutral, earthy colors in my work - they dominate most of my paintings. They speak a soft and beautiful language all their own to me. 

But these daily paintings are about freedom to experiment and play, so expect some color.  

The neutrals do play a strong supporting role here, letting the orange "pop." The orange says to the neutrals, "Thanks, guys."