Friday, April 26, 2013

Final Day - 259

Cow Timer, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

This is it! My year is done - 259 weekdays total, with Christmas off. You can see I've come full circle. I started with a chicken timer, and ended with a cow. Comparing day 259 with day 1, I see a boldness in the strokes, color, and value that wasn't there before. A very definite improvement in style, in my eyes.

Chicken Timer (Day 1) 

I feel proud that I stuck it out, and of the growth of my work. I also feel relieved that it's over.

What did I like best about the project?

So many things: it instilled in me the discipline to paint every day - something that up until this project I had been struggling with.
The amount of growth in my work would have taken much longer to attain at the rate I was going before.
It's built up my body of work greatly.

What did I like least?

Having to post a new painting 5 days a week for a year can be very stressful when many of your paintings take longer than 4 hours (on top of other work that you're doing.)

I've always had a rebellious streak, and found that I would rebel against myself on occasion because of the "have to" factor - there were days when I would find anything to do other than paint, and when I would come around it would be late in the day, and I would be more stressed than if I would have just bucked up and painted in the first place.

What tips do I have for anyone embarking on something similar?

Find quick, easy dinners that you don't get bored of. If you can have someone help with dinner, you're ahead of the game.

After a month or so, painting daily becomes a habit. It starts to feel strange if you don't. Stick it out for at least a month.

If you can set up some kind of display where you can see your work accumulate and your style progress, it helps motivate you tremendously.

Find some way to record each day's painting (blog, website, or just a file on your computer if you don't want it public.) You think you'll remember all the paintings and their titles and dates, but you probably won't.

What am I going to do now?

I'll probably be painting most every day, only without the requirement of having to finish one each day. That sounds wonderful to me right now. Sometimes a painting needs more than one day to look it's best. I also want to draw and sketch more. Spend more time with my husband and friends. Paint some larger works. Spring clean my house and yard. Catch up on my commissions. Re-work some older paintings. Most of all, I just want to relax for a little while.

Do I have a favorite painting from the last year?

I can narrow it down to these three:

Day 101. Shadow Walk 6

Day 150. Steppin' Out

Day 251. Pointer

Would I do something like this again?  

A challenge involving a certain number of paintings for a certain number of days? Right now I'd say no. Not for this long, certainly. A year is a very long time, and the pressure was actually pretty stressful. Like I said, there were days where it just wasn't fun, only because of "having to." I'll be forever grateful for the tremendous growth I made during the last year, both in my work and my discipline, but the "have to" part (even though I was the only one holding myself accountable) made it too stressful to want to do that to myself again. Getting into daily painting was very good for me, and this challenge was the push I needed - but now I need to have some freedom back.

What are my plans for this blog now that the challenge is finished?

I'm going to go back to posting at my much neglected studio blog Life, Earth, Sky.  I want to leave this blog as a legacy to the project. Please join me at where I'll be blogging regularly from now on.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Day 258

Mugshot: Wanda, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

And the final mugshot of the Hilton Head Gang is the fabulous Wanda. Kudos go out to Wanda for all her hard work of putting together her weekly emails (and their hilarious descriptions) so us "felons" of the Hilton Head Gang could paint each other. (2012 Hilton Head Gang = participants of Karin Jurick's workshop at Hilton Head Island last fall.) Wanda also put together a blog for the Hilton Head mugs project, you can check it out here. I can't tell you how much fun I had with these HHG mugs, and how much I learned from each one, and how wonderful it was to spend a week with these ladies last fall.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Day 257

Shadow Walk 7, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

It's been quite a while since I've painted Cloud and his shadow, so I thought I'd do another one before the challenge is up. I was looking though my photos, and thought the shadow of this one looked so cute. My favorite part of this painting is the two feet on the ground, how solidly they seem to be touching the road. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Day 256

Mugshot: Jordan, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

This is my son's beautiful girlfriend, and I think I need to paint her more often. The reference photo was taken outdoors in soft, late afternoon light with some snow on the ground - really lovely lighting conditions. The icing on the cake of this portrait - the little skulls on her earrings. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed painting this one. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Day 255

Walking the Dog, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

More fun with Fisher Price characters. I love the dreamy feel of this one, and the complimentary red and green. 
In other news, this is the last week of my year-long challenge. It's been amazing, but it's time to wrap things up. I'll be writing a detailed blogpost of my thoughts about the project on friday. I'll still be painting and blogging a LOT, but without the self-imposed requirement to finish one a day. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Day 254

Mugshot: Trevor, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

My handsome son in his beloved Lions hat. I really love the texture in this painting, and that stocking cap was great fun to paint. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Day 253

Jump. 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

My favorite little orange Fisher Price boy, jumping around.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Day 252

Thor Pez, 5 x 5 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

My husband saw this Thor Pez dispenser months ago and brought it home for me to paint. Better late than never. It was fun trying to make the God of Thunder look plastic-y. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Day 251

Pointer, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

Remember this guy? That value study really helped me today with the color version of this painting. This handsome fellow was enjoying the farmer's market last year. One more month and our markets open again. Looking forward to more fresh produce and fresh photo ops.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Day 250

Mugshot: Maria, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

Next up in the Hilton Head Gang mugs, we have the fabulous Maria Bennett Hock. It was so much fun to spend the week of Karin Jurick's workshop with Maria. In fact, we were "table buddies," so this painting was extra fun for me. I love the little spots of red, and the areas of thick paint in this portrait. There's only one mug left in the Hilton Head Gang series, and I'll be sad to see it end. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Day 249

Mugshot: Sandhya, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

We're at the tail end of the Hilton Head Gang mugshots. There's only one more to go. This is the lovely and talented Sandhya, and I think this is my very favorite mugshot that I've done so far. Of course, I say that about all the mugshots, and it's always true - my favorite painting is the one I'm working on at the time... Anyway, it was a pleasure to spend the week with her, that's for sure.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Day 248

Cloud Study 3, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

I gave myself one hour to paint this, and I'm extremely happy with the outcome. No preliminary drawing underneath, just straight to the paint. I often sketch out a very detailed drawing on the canvas first, and while I enjoy that, I think it can inhibit me from being as loose as I'd like, so this was a really good exercise for me. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Day 247

The Continuation of Childhood, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

I realized something today. I cannot for the life of me ever remember doing a finger painting as a child. Ever. Certainly never at home. We were more of a crayon family. Less messy that way. I remember being envious of the kids who got to do finger paintings. And those scented markers? What I wouldn't have given for a set of those babies! But seriously, I can't recall ever sticking my fingers in paint and smearing it around on paper. So I decided to give myself permission to experience that today. Granted, I did wear latex gloves (probably a good idea when working with cadmium colors), but it was still tactile and delicious. And very freeing. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Day 246

Sanguine, 5 x 5 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

san·guine    [sang-gwin] adjective
1.  cheerfully optimistic, hopeful, or confident: a sanguine disposition; sanguine expectations.
2.  reddish; ruddy: a sanguine complexion.
3.  (in old physiology) having blood as the predominating humor and consequently being ruddy-faced, cheerful, etc.
4.  bloody: sanguinary.
5.  blood-red; red.

This may be my very favorite Little People painting to date (although it's hard to beat When Dogs Drive Cars.) When I was a kid, the little orange wooden boy was my very favorite - something about the combination of his expression and the orange color. Yes, I know most of them had the same expression (except that one mean boy. What WAS his problem, anyway?) but I swear the orange boy's was sweeter than the others. I was thrilled to find him at a flea market last year. To me he represents the fleeting, purity of childhood - the little spark in all of us that gets buried under responsibilities and obligations, expectations real and imagined, heartache and heartbreak. That little spark keeps on smiling, just like the orange boy. Don't ever lose it.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Day 245

Co-pilot, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

The only thing better than a dog on a leash is two dogs on a leash. With floofy tails, to boot.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Day 244

Color Notan 5, 4 x 4 inch oil on canvas
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

I like painting these little abstract color notans as a way to play around with design patterns. To me, this one is suggesting large tree masses and a building, or even two large buildings. Or maybe even two figures. Well, whatever it may become, I do like the values and design of this little study.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Day 243

Ms. Sassybritches, 5 x 5 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

One can never paint too many chickens. I think this gal is a new favorite. I took a bunch of new chicken, goat, and sheep photos this week on a farm outing with my friend. One can never have too many farm outings, either...

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Day 242

Red Landscape, 4 x 4 inch oil on canvas board
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

The day sort of got away from me today, and as dinnertime approached I started thinking about what I could paint quickly, which made me think of using only one color, which made me wonder what an all red landscape would look like. Apparently, it looks like this. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Day 241

Dog Eye Study, 5 x 5 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

I think eyes are my favorite thing to paint, and it's even better when they belong to my best buddy Cloud.  

Monday, April 1, 2013

Day 240

Apple Study, 5 x 5 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

Lots going on, so I thought an apple would be a quick painting for today. It was a fun study, and it had been a while since I've painted an apple.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Day 239

Candle Study, 5 x 5 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

Lots to do today, so I set a timer for 20 minutes to paint this little study. I wanted to try to capture the waxy inner glow of the candle, and this is actually the first time I've painted a candle, so it was pretty interesting for me. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Day 238

Mugshot: Bettsie, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

Up next in the Hilton Head Gang mugs, we have Bettsie. Miss Bettsie was as much fun to paint as she was to hang out with for a week last fall. I like the light background, and the way her shirt fades into it. This ranks up there with my favorite mugshots. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Day 237

Winter Fog, 5 x 7 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

I felt like doing a simple, high key palette knife painting. This was painted from a photo reference I took out driving around the countryside on one of those magical, grey, foggy winter days we get here in Iowa on occasion.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Day 236

Mugshot: Kat, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

Well, next up in the Hilton Head Gang mugshots we have... me. Look at this hardened criminal - she was only sorry she got caught, haha! I really like the bright green background. I'll admit, since this is only my second self-portrait, it still feels a little strange to paint myself. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Day 235

Little People Study, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

I wanted to try painting some larger LP figures (relative to the canvas) than what I've done before, just to see how it looked. I prefer them smaller - there's a tension with the figures being this large that I find uncomfortable, so I'll probably paint this one again later with the figures taking up less space, because I do like the concept and want to play with it some more. There are things I like about this piece though - mainly the edges and the "plastic-y" look of the woman's hair. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Day 234

Free Range II, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

It was a busy day today and I didn't start painting until around 9 pm. This painting was finished shortly after midnight. Better late than never.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Day 233

When Dogs Drive Cars, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel.
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

Yesterday I was in Tulsa seeing a once in a lifetime show of one of my favorite dead painters, Edgar Payne. The show runs through the weekend, and if you're anywhere near, I highly recommend seeing these masterworks in person. Photos don't do them justice at all. 

I like to think that Edgar would approve of today's painting. At least, I hope so. I so very much approve of his...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Day 232

Mugshot: Don, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

This mug is my dear friend Don, and I think it's one of my best to date. There is something about painting men that I really like... maybe it's their thicker, more textured skin and well defined features, or maybe it's just trying to capture that masculine essence in a painting that I enjoy. I think it's both. 

PS. I'm giving myself tomorrow off. Details Thursday.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Day 231

Iowa Lavender Field, 12 x 6 inch oil on linen
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

I started this painting last summer on location at a local lavender farm, but as it was my second painting that morning and it was nearing 100 degrees, I decided to just block in the sky, hill and distant fields and finish the rest in the studio later. My plein air group's upcoming annual show in a few weeks finally gave me the motivation to finish it today. I was trying to capture the sense of distance that one experiences in the Iowa countryside, even more so than the lavender plants in the foreground. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Day 230

Buster Value Study, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

Here is a more refined value study of Buster. I decided to go with the lighter background. In the end, I felt it was a stronger design. I can go forward with this 16 x 16 inch commission now, knowing I have everything worked out ahead of time. Remember, value is more important than color. Getting the values right beforehand puts you a step ahead. Which is why I love these value studies.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Day 229

Buster Value Roughs, 4 x 4 inch squares on canvasboard.

I'm getting ready to start a large (16 x 16 inch) commission of this dog and thought I'd use today's painting to show a little bit of my process. These are some quick little value thumbnail "roughs" that help give me an idea of how I want to approach the background before I start the real painting. I like to look at them and squint, thinking if these were abstract paintings, would they look good? Are the shapes and design pleasing? Which one works best? I'm leaning towards the one on the left.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Day 228

Pointer Value Study, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel.
© 2013 Kathleen Coy
Click for purchase information.

I felt like doing a value study today, and once I started I remembered how much I enjoy these. Sometimes it's nice not to think about color, and just focus on form and value.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Day 227

Mugshot: Donna, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

Next up in the Hilton Head Gang mugs, we have Donna. I had a lot of fun with this one - the light reflecting off the jewelry, the red shirt and lipstick, her expression, and the colors I used for the background combined to make a very enjoyable day of painting. Donna told the best stories - she had everyone at the workshop cracking up at her tales of Tennessee. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Day 226

Sweet Dreams, 8 x 8 inch oil on linen
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

I fell in love with the reference photo for this painting on a facebook friend's page, and asked her if I could paint it. I loved the strong light and shadows in the morning sunlight, the combo of red and turquoise, the patterns on the blanket (especially the heart!) and of course, the sweet snoozing Greyhound (named Sea ray.) My friend fosters Greyhounds, getting them used to the good life, until they find their forever homes. I spent all day Sunday working on this, and am very pleased with the outcome.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Day 225

Fisher Price Dog, 5 x 5 inch oil on panel

Happy to be feeling well enough to do a more realized painting today, rather than the quick studies earlier this week. People who follow my work know my love of the old Fisher Price toys. I found this guy at a flea market last summer. His ear was all chewed up (ew?) but it was same old fisher price dog that I grew up with. Was inspired to paint him today. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Day 224

Strawberry Study, 4 x 4 inch oil on canvas
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

I painted this quickly last night, more out of a sense of obligation for something to post today than wanting to. Today as I write this post, I'm finally feeling back to normal (those bad migraines can take me days to recover from), and ready to get back into the swing of things. This is actually the first strawberry I've ever painted. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Day 223

Color Charts, Reds and Greens

I know this isn't much of a painting, but it's going to have to do. Day 2 of recovering from one of the worst migraines I've had in years, and while I'm up and around today, I feel tired and sore all over.  This chart was all I felt like painting - it was actually soothing because it gave me something to do, but I didn't have to think too hard. 

Color charts, my favorite exercise. I first learned of them three years ago from Richard Schmid's book, Alla Prima (I highly recommend this book, written by one of the greatest living artists), and painted my own at the time using the colors on his palette. Since then, I've been experimenting with different colors, and thought today would be a good time to make charts for some of them. 

These are the reds and greens I've been using a lot lately, but you can make charts with any colors you use on your palette. What you do is mix each color with every other color and lighten progressively with white. So, the first row is the chart for Cadmium Red Light. The first column is cad red light by itself, lightened with white. Second column is cad red light mixed with cad red medium (then lightened with white), third column is cad red light mixed with magenta (then lightened), fourth column is cad red light and burnt sienna (then lightened) etc, etc. 

The second row is the chart for Cad Red Medium. First column it's mixed with cad red light, second column is cad red medium on it's own, third column is cad red medium mixed with magenta, etc. etc. Then you keep going - the third row is the chart for magenta. First column is magenta mixed with cad red light, second column is magenta mixed with cad red medium, third column is magenta on it's own, fourth column is magenta mixed with burnt sienna, etc, etc. The fourth row is the chart for burnt sienna.  Hope that all made sense. That's as far as I got. I'm ready to go back to bed for a while...

When I started making color charts several years ago, something shifted in my work. It's really an amazing way to learn about what the colors on your palette can do, and to train the eye to detect subtle nuances between colors. When I first learned about it, I spent two weeks making charts. It was actually fun (and fascinating) for me, and even if you don't find it fun, it's absolutely worth the time, especially when you can keep your charts and refer back to them as needed. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Day 222

Lemon Study, 5 x 5 oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

Recovering from one of the worst migraines of my life last night, I spent most of the day in bed. My husband told me to call today a sick day, but towards evening I felt well enough to paint this little study.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Day 221

Mugshot: Chris, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

My first Hilton Head Gang mugshot in profile, how fun. Maybe it's the only one, I guess we'll find out when the project ends (each weeks photo is a surprise). I wanted to try a dark background, because all of my other HHG backgrounds have been in the mid to light range. I like this background. I may have to do more like it. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Day 220

Saddle Bronc Study, 6 x 6 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

I was just sort of playing around here, trying to create a sense of movement. Channeling my inner David Shevlino if you will, although nobody can do it like he can. (Fantastic artist, check him out if you aren't familiar with his work!) I took the reference photo for this painting two summers ago at the Carson Rodeo, in Carson, Iowa. 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Day 219

Mugshot: Cameron, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

Next up in the Hilton Head Gang lineup, we have Cameron and her beautiful eyes. I rarely use straight black for any areas that look black - they're made with mixtures of blues, purples, and burnt sienna, with a touch of ivory black if needed. I find these darks to be richer, deeper, and more interesting than straight black. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Day 218

Torso Study 2, 5 x 7 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

This was painted from life in 40 minutes at the figure drawing group. I'm quite happy with the colors in this, and the reflected light.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Day 217

Mugshot: Sue, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

This Hilton Head Gang mug is the very talented Sue ChurchGrant. I really love the green reflected light on her neck bouncing up from her shirt. I don't think the painting would be the same without it. The bright spots of color in the background were laid in with the knife. This may be my new favorite mug, at least, until I start another one - it seems my favorite is whatever I'm working on at the time...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Day 216

Buster, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

This gorgeous kitty was a commission. Buster looks like quite a character, and his people love him very much. I started with a light blue underpainting so that little bits of it would show through and compliment those beautiful blue eyes. Palette knife for the whiskers. Very happy with this piece.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Day 215

Vintage Mugshot #3, 4 x 4 inch oil on panel
© 2013 Kathleen Coy

Here is the side view of the girl I painted yesterday. If you haven't seen that post, check it out to see the front view. I had so much fun painting her hat and trying to capture the mesh veil. Her earring, lips, and that curl peaking out from under her hat were very enjoyable to paint, too. Once again, making up colors from a black and white photo was intensely freeing. Here again is the original mugshot from the 20s or 30s. I adore old photos, and hers is so haunting to me.