Hey Shenee! Hot Brand Action Scholarship entry with infographic!

Shenee at HeyShenee.com is holding a scholarship contest that I couldn’t ignore.

I have SO MANY THINGS on my plate right now: tutorials to complete, videos to edit, paintings to paint, branding to work on.  Completing an entry for a scholarship contest that is DUE TODAY is crazypants right now.

Lets make magic!

I’m crazypants and NOW is the right time to do this.

Why do I need Hot Brand Action RIGHT now?

I’m Kat and I can paint. {I’m a domain name genius, I know} I’m reframing KatCanPaint.com from being all about my paintings to engage readers more with art courses and workshops.  I’ve got BIG PLANS for content that I’m excited to share. {EXCITED!!!!!!!!1!!1!! but that doesn’t look profesh, does it?}

I’m flailing with the branding and engagement portion of my big vision. Let’s be really real right now, I’ve got a whole $1.49 in my bank account so I can’t afford to invest in myself & business; I’m squeaking by and keeping forward momentum through free info and trades. {Sounds familiar, yes?}

I’m clear on my purpose but I need real guidance on packaging my gifts into unforgettable and engaging  content: I know what I want to do  but I’m not there yet with the killer copy, branding, or style.

This scholarship gave me the perfect opportunity to get it together in the style department and make a fancy schmancy infographic. {I absorbed all the totally awesome infographic tutorials over at HeyShenee.com last night to create this one.}

Hey Shenee! I made this fancy Infographic

What do I want to be KNOWN for?

  • Amazing Art
  • Friendly, accessible personality
  • Fresh, Fun, Easy-to-Follow, and High Quality art courses / workshops.

If you’re not creating the art you want because you, “can’t even draw a straight line,” then I’m going to rock your socks with easy, step-by-step drawing and painting tutorials. Also: Get a ruler and get over it. I’m Kat, I can paint, and you can too!

Don’t have a muse that calls you? Beautify your home and life with amazing art from me.

Change the World? Yes please:

I share free art education via free tutorials on my site because I want people to get their hands on this info and use it to better their lives by creating more beauty via art. Art and beauty can heal by building self esteem through positive self expression and I’m here to share quality content and spread this message.

Thank you for this opportunity Shenee and good luck with all the entries you’ve got to judge!

I’m going to be an infographic machine after all this.

<3 Kat

What are you Certain of today? Brain Supernova via Meg Boone

I have a summer cold, which is bleh, I’m trying to pull myself out of it with lots of rest and vitamins and water.  Trying to rest, but there is this giant pile of paintings  that keep calling me back to my desk to paint.   I have so many ideas right now that its surreal in brain fog sick mode.

Oh, hello crazy messy desk!

But Meg Boone’s questation via blog and facebook burned through the fog called me to attention so fast.

She asks:

How have you come Unhinged?

What innovation has come from this unraveling?

OH HELLO! Get out of my brain.  I’m still going through it, and I have to tell you, its hard to see the lesson when you are in the middle of learning it.

Oh, but oh! I can answer this one:


What are you Certain of today?

I am certain that I am my strongest when I am in person: bodacious, tenacious, and loquacious.

I am confident in my abilities as an artist.

The fear and the giant looming question in my brain is:
How do I translate effervescent Super Kat into online stuff?

I am so tied into the fear of doing it wrong, that I am certain I miss the parts where I am doing it right.
I need someone to smack me in the brain sometimes and say KAT YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT THIS TOO MUCH!

I know I have all the pieces I just need to tweak and cull, I need to edit and I need to put the puzzle together.
I know its so close and that fear, the fear that I wreck everything, the one that is all in my head, is freight-train-screaming-loud the closer I get.

I am certain that everyone goes through this and that I am not going to get a road map because its my journey and I need to figure it out for myself. 

I just need to keep making work because for me it is the same as putting one foot in front of the other:

Art is how I figure it all out.



Figuring it out too? Hop over to megboone.com and join in the discussion.

<3 Kat

now imagine... painting by Lara Harwood

Art to Inspiration August : Lara Harwood

Art to Inspiration is a collaborative project organized to bring exposure to the art community around the world. We feature any medium of art from young artists and design posts to share how we have been inspired by the piece.  (taken from the website)


now imagine... painting by Lara Harwood

Title : …now imagine all the thick birdsong thick as a forest
Name of Artist : Lara Harwood
URL : http://www.laraharwood.co.uk/works/sketch-books/watercolours-from-india-2009/18-Sketch-Book-imagine-


I am in need of some thoughtful inspiration and as an artist I thought I would create a painting based on this work.  Instead, a poem surfaced,  so I went with that instead.


now imagine all the thick birdsong thick as a forest

dew drops dripping

weighing down the ferns and leaves

thicket of feathers thick with the burden of birdsong

rich ultramarine phtalo green and yellow ochre

carmine red peeking through the

shadows and the dappling of light

so colorful it pools melodious on the page


Join us on the First Wednesday of every month by clicking here: http://eepurl.com/iuuNA


<3 Kat




Through the Looking Glass by KatCanPaint

Mad Tea Party 2012!

I’ve always loved the idea of Wonderland. I draw and paint Alice and the characters from Wonderland a lot.

She shows up in my sketchbooks all the time! This painting is Alice’s Favorite necklace I really want to make a cute pattern out of that wallpaper and turn it into fabric. Wouldn’t that make the cutest dress?

Through the Looking Glass by KatCanPaint

I love the entire idea of Wonderland and Mad Tea Parties! I’m beyond excited that I get to participate this year. I love this idea so much I made a pinboard on Pinterest dedicated to party ideas. 

My Mad Tea Party this year is brought to you by Vanessa at A Fanciful Twist and Pinterest! Such lovely sources of wonder, whimsy, and inspiration!

Don’t worry, everyone’s invited!

..and if you are running late and can’t figure out what to wear, the lovely blogger DisneyBound has a million amazing Alice themed outfits

If if only it weren’t hurricane season here in Florida, I would love to have a real, live, gorgeous tea party in my backyard.  This image is so magical to me.

Couldn’t you just live outside in this Wonderland, having tea parties everyday?

Source: goo.gl via Colby on Pinterest

Grab yourself a cup of tea!  They make Alice in Wonderland themed tea, who knew? (Also authorized for real birthdays.)

Source: google.com via Kyle on Pinterest

Or a cuppa cake. I’m a sucker for a creative cupcake!

I’d love to be a guest at this Mad Tea Party themed wedding

This year I painted a very different Alice. I couldn’t decide if I wanted a blond Alice, like in the Disney movie, a brunette Alice… or something a little different.

blue hair alice painting by KatcanPaint

Something a little different won! I want a blue purple wig of my very own, and her Peter Pan collar. This Alice is far from traditional, I feel like I captured a school photo portrait…Freshman in highschool Alice. I know I had crazy colored hair in highschool ^_^

Happy Mad Tea Partying everyone and a big giant ThAnK YoU!!! Ms. Vanessa for hosting such an amazing party every year, I’m so glad I could make it this year!

<3 Kat

Instagram photogrid KatCanPaint

Follow me on Instagram! I’m @KatCanPaint

Follow me on Instagram! I’m @KatCanPaint

I’m so happy they made Instragram for Android, I snap photos all the time: works in progress and moments with my son.

If you want to see in progress paintings, studio shots, and sketches I don’t post on the blog you can follow me, its @KatCanPaint

Instagram photogrid KatCanPaint

 Here are a few snippets of my day, via instagram.

Its so addictive!

Follow me?  @katcanpaint

<3 Kat

Will you be attending A Fanciful Twist’s 2012 Mad Tea Party ? I will!

I missed joining in the fun for the past two years of Vanessa Valencia’s Mad Tea Party, but not this year!

I’m sprucing up my striped tights and top hat, I’m gathering all my tea making supplies.  I want this year to be the best Mad Tea Party ever!


I attended the 2008 and 2009 Mad Tea Parties, and they were a blast!

Hop on over to A Fanciful Twist to join the list of bloggers attending the madness this year.

<3 Kat

A collage of paintings from June 2012 by KatCanPaint

There is no secret to being an artist, so stop looking & start working.

 There is no secret to being an artist.

You can go to school, read every self-help book, follow every blog. (I know, I’ve tried.)  No short-cuts exist. You show up, you do the work, and you keep striving to make really great art.

I’ve had this painting “in progress” since January. Time to finish it!

I think I own more Seth Godin novels than Harry Potter ones, and I’ve followed Harry through all seven years of Hogwarts.  I read his blog, subscribe even, and I trust what he says because it makes sense.   Because I need to be reminded, every day, to make art.

I own The War of Art, The FireStarter Sessions, and The $100 Startup.  I watch Marie Forleo’s Q&A Tuesday *every* Tuesday. I’m entertained, enlightened, and inspired by the quality and straight forward advice these authors give.  This is my secret cheerleader & mentor squad. I keep them in my inbox and e-reader and I don’t just read what they have to say; I follow their advice.

I’ve watched Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk on genius countless times.  If I need to be reminded about the beauty of showing up, I watch it again.

If you are searching for the secret to being an artist, you know all of this information.  The links have been facebooked and tweeted by people more articulate, popular, spiritual, intelligent, and successful than I.  The information is out there, it is entertaining and inspirational: but it doesn’t help if you don’t go out and make something.

A collage of paintings from June 2012 by KatCanPaint



If you are searching for a magic fix, or 5 step program… it doesn’t exist.  It looks more like:

  1. Work hard. Work hard. Work harder. Go to bed. Wake up.  Do it all again.
  2. The flow, the genius, your muse… will not show up if you don’t.  So, show up, everyday, prepared to work.
  3. Make a lot of work, even if you don’t feel like it.
  4. Work, even if it takes years for you to create the art you see in your mind.

This isn’t necessarily bad news, it just means you have to do the work. Thinking about your work, researching for your work, and doing the work are not the same.  In order to be an artist, you have to make art.  It sounds easy, it’s not.

Ira Glass says it better, and there is a lovely video to illustrate:

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

I need to watch this every day.  I need to be reminded of this every time I go to repaint the face on a painting that I have been working on since January.   There isn’t a magic trick, self help book, or bullet-ed list to get you there.  You show up, you do the work. Tedious, boring, lonely slog?  Keep working.  You’ll find the magic, the flow, the genius too.  Make your art and grab yourself a couple of cheerleaders, if you need ’em.

<3 Kat

That’s @Kat_McBride on twitter, if you’re saavy.

art nouveau inspired girl by KatCanPaint

Doing the work : a meditation on fear, stagnation, and mediocrity.

Doing the work : a meditation on fear, stagnation, and mediocrity.

I had a very ambitious plan to finish an entire desk full of art this week. Six paintings and two drawings, to be exact. Many of these paintings have sat around in their ‘ugly’ phase for too long.  I’m ready to stop obsessing over these paintings.  To paint as much as I can until tonight, then call it a day.  Done! Clean off my desk and for better or worse never paint on these canvases again.

I make a lot of excuses for not finishing a painting.  My favorite is the, “I’m not ready to finish this piece, yet.”  I think that means I’m not good enough.

Truth is, I think I might be scared to finish a painting.

art nouveau inspired girl by KatCanPaint

This painting has been on my desk since January.

I’m not sure if it is an Aries thing, an artist thing, or a Kat thing – but I have the worst time focusing on one painting. (Alternatively: Lizard brain, the critic, resistance thing.) “It’s not perfect,”  I tell myself, “this isn’t how I envisioned this painting.” Frustrated, I put it aside and I start a new one.

…get 4/5ths of the way finished (or less) and move on to the next shiny new idea.

I always need to be working on two or more at the same time… to hold my interest and to keep the same feel and connection in a series.  And this idea works, until it doesn’t.

When it doesn’t I am left with an entire desk full of paintings that are about 80% finished. Am I avoiding the hard work? The last 20% of a painting can take longer than the entire first 80% of the same painting.  I doubt it: if anything working like this is harder and creates more work for me.

I’m afraid to let go.  If I share works in progress everyone sees the roughness and mistakes, everyone understands that it is all part of the progress.  It is supposed to look imperfect.  I’m afraid of not being good enough.  I’m more afraid of producing mediocre work. I am aware of the irony, that stagnation and fear create mediocre work.  If I am afraid of finishing a painting I am stuck painting the same piece, over and over, because I can’t let myself let it go.  I am doomed to fail and repeat the same mediocrity because I am afraid of creating mediocrity.  In this loop I obsess over the work / I am unable to finish. I obsess & can’t finish, I obsess because I can’t finish, I can’t finish because I am afraid. The painting stagnates, I fret, and obsess some more; I worry about getting nothing done because I’m afraid of finishing… Lather, rinse, repeat.

Doing the work, for me, means letting go. Accepting failure, and moving on.  Success for me would be not looking back.

I’m finishing these paintings and moving on to the next Shiny! New IDEA!  Fear and mediocrity be damned.

See you Monday, clean beautiful desk & new ideas.

<3 Kat

Talk to me:  do you have a thought loop that trips your work? How do you overcome it?

You don’t have to stick to one art medium : Lessons from 12 years of Gourd Pottery

There was a time when I hated gourds.

I think I was 16 when my mom forced me out to the Georgia Gourd Show.  I didn’t want to go, it was summertime, I wanted to be poolside with some iced tea and a book. Instead I was trudging through the Chehaw Nature Park glaring at birdhouses and vendors alike. “Who cares about gourds? Why don’t you plant something useful instead, like tomatoes!”  (I’m glad I have a son.  Teenaged girls are the worst.) My mother, mortified by my attitude, threatened to bring me back the next day, and sign me up for a gourd crafting class. The horror! My attitude did not improve, gourd punishment followed.

A vendor at the craft fair brought a tomato the second day of the show to give to me. I made a birdhouse. My mother was hooked on gourds.

So for years we cleaned, cut, scrubbed, painted, sealed, and sold gourd bird houses. From patterns. Boring.

So I started designing my own gourd folk art: mermaids, Santa, snowmen. Gourds that light up.

1000 Christmas decorations later I was a pro at painting and wood burning Santa’s face.  I didn’t use a pattern, I didn’t even sketch anything out, I free hand painted 100s more gourd decorations.

So we started making gourd vessels: Gourds with lids, gourd vases, gourd teapots, gourd masks, gourd bowls.

Butterfly gourd pitcher

Mom bought a mini jigsaw and a dremel so we had carved gourds and woven gourds and intricate cut gourds.  I felt kind of like Bubba Gump, but with squash.


Somewhere along the way I started thinking about gourds all the time.  I would see decorations and think about how I could make them out of gourd.  I started experimenting with techniques and treatments to make gourd art no one had seen before.  I made a gourd bowl with mixed media fibers and glass embellishments and I one the Judge’s Choice award for most creative piece in the ENTIRE Art Show.  Maybe there was something to this gourd obsession after all.

I started to paint on gourds like they were a 2-d canvas, creating elaborate stories and scenes .

I experiment with colors and glazing, treating the dried plant like it was high end pottery.  It’s been over 12 years now and I still manage to keep my vessels fresh and interesting.

Mostly, I learned that I didn’t have to be typecast as the Gourd Girl.  I was free to paint whatever I wanted, on whatever I wanted.  Being the Gourd Girl didn’t stop me from being the Whimsical Painting Lady or that Portrait Artist. If anything, I developed selling skills, production skills, and customer service skills: real life business knowledge from those dumb gourds I hated.  A lot of my painting techniques and skills carried over to my 2-d work too; glazing techniques, bold bright fun colors, story telling…I learned to use powertools and solve painting challenges in 3 dimensions. Working with gourds made me a stronger artist.

 I always think about creating a gourd craft pattern book partially to share, but mostly to be able to have something to recreate some of the hundreds of Christmas decorations I’ve created over the years. I’m multipassionate and love experimenting with mediums and styles, choosing just one style or substrate would cut off an entire outlet for my creativity. I’m the Gourd Diva now (I named myself that, of course!) but I’m also just Kat, the artist, painting, decorating, and creating everything and anything that I can imagine.

<3 Kat