Protecting a painting from the Enchanted Forest by KatCanPaint

From the Archives! Protecting: a painting from the Enchanted Forest

From the Archives! Protecting * A painting from the enchanted forest

This post and painting were originally shared in June of 2009; it seems like forever ago!


Protecting a painting from the Enchanted Forest by KatCanPaint

Acrylic on canvas

I’m going to do an entire series: a lot of characters live in the Enchanted Forest world I that I created with this painting.  I think a lot of the storybook / fairy tale art I have all is a part of this magical forest.  The style of my paintings here is really more illustrative, more children’s art: sweet, whimsical, feminine.

This piece is much larger than my scanner so the image area you see here is from the middle of the painting. I really enjoyed painting the mushrooms and her dress. Lace!   This painting was originally from the Nest journal page, I made it while I was pregnant with my son Keian, the idea of nesting and protecting made somewhat literal.  I liked the original snowy forest from the journal but I wanted a bright and happy painting. The concept has followed me and it grew into an entire world of its own…this polka dotted blue mushroom Enchanted Forest is too sweet.


<3 Kat

Want to see more of what I do? You can find me on Twitter ::  Etsy :: and Pinterest.



butterfly summer painting by KatCanPaint

Butterfly Summer * original painting

Butterfly Summer is an original acrylic painting on  a bite sized 6″ x 6″ square canvas.  Inspired summertime picnics, bbqs, bubbles, playgrounds, garden parties, and beach: the pastel powdered sand, soft blue ocean, bronze sun.  She’s a little vacation in brushstrokes and acrylic. The edges are thick enough that the painting can stand by itself or hang on a wall.

butterfly summer painting by KatCanPaint

Growing up in Florida the summers were long, interrupting spring well before Easter and extending almost until Halloween. My teen memories of summer are in scents and sensations…in odd hazy dreamlike gists of memory.  My memory is sharp except for those summers: the heat, or the length fuzz everything together.  Pastel pinks of cookie cutter houses and strawberry lipsmackers lipgloss.  We grew up in the town that Edward Scissorhands was filmed in- surreal pastel houses lining the street. Loves babysoft perfume, the powdery smell of my teenage summers. Butterfly neon sun dresses and polkadot bikinis. Disney was our summertime mecca and July 4th was as big as Christmas. Sparklers and walking barefoot everywhere. The taste of sweet tea and the smell of chlorine. Lightning cracking the sky open and rain like clockwork; everyday at 3pm.

You can buy prints of this painting on my RedBubble. Click HERE.

Butterfly Summer square prints via Redbubble


<3 Kat


5X7 girl with a flower crown and white hair by katcanpaint

Mermaid Hair and Flower Crown original acrylic painting 5 x 7

Mermaid Hair and Flower Crown original acrylic painting 5 x 7 : A sneak peek at my messy desk and new painting!


5X7 girl with a flower crown and white hair by katcanpaint


Just a quick peek of what I’ve been working on this week.  LOOK AT THE MESS THAT IS MY DESK! Holy moly – didn’t I just clean that thing?


<3 Kat

Keep in touch! Twitter ::  Etsy :: and Pinterest.

Carousel girl collage by KatCanPaint

Waiting – Carousel Girl Acrylic Painting

Waiting – Carousel Girl Acrylic Painting
I painted this girl and her empty carousel a year ago, in June 2011.  Everything I painted was rooted in childhood nostalgia; I loved horses and carousels when I was young. Especially the old quarter-a-ride carousels that were outside of stores.  What the heck happened to them? They were always so brightly colored and the horses were either horribly ugly or little mini works of art.
carousel girl painting

©2012 Kathleen McBride, Waiting, acrylic on canvas, 11″ x 14″


And I’m still having fun with it.

I have an entire series of girls with carousels and horses in my sketchbook. Colorful hair with coordinating sweaters, they are a low brow mix influenced by Blythe dolls and anime. Stylistically this is where I want to be with my girls, I just need to tweak a little more. This girl is almost perfect!  What I see in my head and what I see on canvas are almost the same thing now; the gap in my ambition and my taste is closing.  Even if I have to paint one million paintings and even if its a really slow process of perfecting my painting technique and style; I’m still having fun with it!


Carousel girl collage by KatCanPaint

That carousel was amazingly fun to paint: red and white stripes, hearts, blue and gold architecture, I tried to reference those details in her sweater.


This is the sketch for her face, I usually end up preferring the sketch to the painting. I think she looks older and a little more thoughtful in the finished piece.


<3 Kat

You can find me on Twitter ::  Etsy :: and Pinterest.

face study on book page collage by KatCanPaint

From the Archives: Can you paint on wood without looking like an Audrey Kawasaki copycat?

I’m revisiting my archives this week, dusting off old paintings and posts to share.

This post is from May of 2009:

Can you paint on wood without looking like an Audrey Kawasaki copycat?

I’ve been painting on canvas and in my art journal for over a year, and I thought I should mix it up. I like the look of wood and paper but both pose a problem for me: Book pages always look like folk art mixed media works, or the collage leaves and uneven messy surface to paint on, and if I draw or paint on wood pieces my girls look like Audrey Kawasaki clones.

Experimenting with art on book pages and wood pieces.

To create a background for this painted portrait, I made a collage of story book pages onto a piece of canvas paper.  (Next time I do this it will be on something sturdy, a hard board panel or wood. Canvas paper is fun to experiment on but its too flimsy for mixed media layers.)

face study on book page collage by KatCanPaint

Face study
Acrylic, dye, and beeswax paints over old book pages

The collage added a lot of bulk and overlapping bits to the background which made it a challenge to get the smooth “licked surface” painterly quality that I like my portraits to have.  Its obviously rough and an imperfect and I love it!

At first I was very judgmental about this background technique, I thought it would look instantly “shabby chic” or scrapbook-y.  Now I want to use book pages for everything:  just look at that lovely yellowing, instant age and depth. 

Her face came out so nice.  Every time I paint I get better: the base / underpainting is in acrylics and her features were detailed with my watercolor-esque beeswax paints. I like these beeswax paints, they are beautifully translucent while having a lot of chroma so they don’t look as flat as using just acrylics.

If you wanted to achieve this look in your paintings the color palette is: mars black, titanium white, cadmium yellow, alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, light cadmium red, burnt umber, and lots of raw sienna. My underpainting this time was purple instead of the usual raw sienna and it was an interesting and fun way to start.

Luna Moths drawing by KatCanPaint

Luna Moths

pencil on wood

Luna Moths is a sketch on a tiny spare piece of wood left over from a wood-burning kit.  The wood and pencil make me automatically think of Audrey Kawasaki’s work, and that is unfortunate because I think that a lot of people will have that association; still it was a lot of fun to do. If I want to work on wood I will have to be sure my style is clearly defined as my own.  I like the color and texture of wood panels, even more than the book pages, I just need to solve the style dilemma.

It boils down to figuring out the equation, really. What makes this piece, or any, look like another artist’s work? Pretty girl, captivating stare, manga inspired, focus on the face and facial features, focus on tight detailed line work, muted color palette, a lot of wood texture visible, and minimal background?  In this case, it’s a lot of things that could very well be solved just by painting my piece with acrylics.

<3 Kat

You can find me on Twitter ::  Etsy :: and Pinterest.

Cloud Cover beautiful girl painting by KatCanPaint

Cloud Cover a mixed media painting from 2008

I’ve spent the last week going through my old painting and blog archives and cleaning things up.  I found this old mixed media painting, Cloud Cover, hiding in a forgotten folder.

I painted this girl in 2008; she’s acrylics, mica, and beeswax, on an oval wood plaque.


Cloud Cover beautiful girl painting by KatCanPaint

Cloud Cover 2008

This piece just sort of happened:  I painted the girl with acrylics and built up the background using layers of heavy gloss gel.  The gel medium dries thick and you can mix paint and mica into it, you can spread it like frosting and glue things into it.  I added layers of translucent color and texture in the background with a palette knife and they looks like clouds to me. I painted washes of acrylic and beeswax over top of the clouds saw rainbows and rain in the shapes, so I painted those in.

I really like her face and eyes.  Her eyes are my favorite blue, pthalo blue, bright and ethereal.  I’m glad I found this scan, because I gave this painting away a long time ago.  She’s over 4 years old! I really want to create another version of it and compare the two.


<3 Kat

You can find me on Twitter ::  Etsy :: and Pinterest.

Do you have a gorgeous photograph with an ugly background? No worries, you can still own a custom portrait painting..

Do you have a gorgeous photograph with an ugly background? It happens, I can help.

Sometimes photos don’t capture a memory quite the way I want; the pose is perfect! …but the lighting is off.

My son looked so cute in this photo, but it was early Spring and our yard was dead. (Seriously dead, the only time I have a green thumb is if I smear paint on it.) 2/3 of this sweet moment was ugly brown patches of grass and I was pretty bummed.

Summer came, the grass was green, and I kept trying to figure out how to get a 2 year old to stop destroying the dandelions.  

Waiting to take another picture seemed silly, anyway.  How was I supposed to set up a cute picture of a toddler and get perfect results?  How was I supposed to stop him from destroying the nice green grass and dandelions with his toy truck?  Mission: Impossible.

Thankfully I am an artist, and I love painting portraits!

Acrylic Portrait Painting of my son

Have you had the same problem? Have a great picture you would like painted but the background is you at the grocery store? No worries- I can work with you to create a great work of art you’ll love.

Plus! I can paint from any photo; couple’s photos, best friend portraits, prom, family photos, senior pictures, graduation, vacation pictures, even candid shots.

custom painted portraits by Kat Can Paint

I’ve been painting portraits professionally (say that 3 times fast!) since 2007. 5 years and almost 100 portraits later and I have the process perfected.

After checking out through Etsy you e-mail or message me a great, high resolution photo of the people for your painting, or a couple if you’d like me to combine portraits from separate photographs. I can add a beautiful painterly, classic, background to your painting or a solid color of your choice. I use professional quality acrylic on 140lb, cold pressed, Fabriano brand archival watercolor paper.

If you don’t speak artist this means it is a high quality, thick paper with a great texture.  It looks gorgeous and is easy to display: pop your portrait into any frame with an 8 x 10 opening and you are set!

It takes only takes about a week to sketch,  paint, seal, and mail your original painting.

I stay connected with you through out the process.  I email you photos of the sketch, the work in progress, and the finished piece so you can be sure your custom painting is perfect.

Not to brag, but I have awesome customers who leave glowing feedback!

Kat is amazingly talented. She did an unbelievable portrait for me, was so quick to communicate, and sent it out in a fast timeline with no extra fees. I will DEFINITELY be ordering portraits from her in the future!!! Best deal on etsy!

– M. Shuty

Owning a custom portrait couldn’t be easier or more affordable, if you’d like one you can order online through my store:

<3 Kat

gourd art gourd bowl gold blue black

Gourd Art! Welburn Gourd Farm GourdMasterTransparent Acrylics review

I used an amazing thick gourd from Welburn Gourd Farm and their GourdMaster transparent acrylics and liquid gold leaf to create this gourd art bowl.


gourd art gourd bowl gold blue black

©2012 Kathleen McBride, Golden Swirls, carved cut and painted gourd, 7″ diameter at widest point.


Normally I travel to the local gourd farm or the Florida Gourd Show to hand pick the gourds I want to use. Every gourd artist I know loves trekking through dirty gourds to find the perfect size and shape.  Loading them up and traveling home to clean and cut and clean again? Not so much.  I take a lot of pride and  joy in finding the perfect gourd to work with.  Plus, I like making connections: speaking to the farmers, the suppliers, and other artists.

Honestly, though, the cleaning, cutting, cleaning part I could do with out. Its a lot of work. So I cheated!  Ordering pre-cut and cleaned gourds makes getting to the fun part of designing, painting, and decorating quick and easy.

Welburn Gourd Farm is well known for their organic, quality, thick, canteen gourds. They offer already cut and cleaned gourd bowls (Pre-Cut and Craft-Ready Bowl) and vases (NEW! Pre-cut Craft Ready Tall Body Gourds I can’t wait to order some!)  Plus they sell their brand of paints, dyes, and other gourd supplies on the website, so you can order what you need from home.

I ordered the Deluxe pack and painted with the GourdMaster transparent acrylics with normal brushes, like I use for my Golden acrylics, but I ordered two microbrush applicators to play with too.

  • Pros: Beautiful color, thinner than Golden Fluid acrylics but extremely pigmented so the color isn’t “watered down.”  Pigment based, not dye, so I don’t have to worry about my color fading.
  • Cons: Price and drying time.

The GourdMaster transparent acrylics are priced at $7.95 for a 1oz (yes, one ounce) tube.   They are an investment if you are used to painting with craftsmart or folk art hobby acrylics.  I am used to paying for artist and professional quality art supplies so the price is comparable to what I would normally pay.


A little goes a long way, and you can use the paints to get neat effects.


gourd art blue green drips GourdMaster transparent acrylics

©2012 Kathleen McBride, Blue and Green Drips, gourd and acrylic, 6″ diameter at widest point.


I used Leaf, Aquamarine, Midnight Blue, and Pure White to create the dripping color blending effect on this gourd.  I had to buy a heat gun to set these paints, because I didn’t want to wait around for them to dry.   I’m impatient, but with the heat gun these babies dried in seconds.



Mango gourd art vase GourdMaster acrylic

©2012 Kathleen McBride, Gilded Mango, gourd acrylics and gold leaf, 6″ diameter at the widest point.


I used Leaf, Mocha, and Canary on this gourd.  Plus some gold leaf to finish the rim.  Gold leaf destroys brushes! The GourdMaster transparent acrylics were glazed on in layers, blended, and blasted with the heat gun. I used them a lot like I would use leather dyes (but without the side effects of green hands and clothes and table and floor…) then I dripped the colors into one another and blasted with the heat gun again.


red and purple gourd art bowl

©2012 Kathleen McBride, Ruby Red, gourd and GourdMaster transparent acrylics, 7″ diameter at widest point.


Look at the saturated intense color! Painted with Grape, Royal Purple, and Red Wine. While I was experimenting, I used the acrylics like leather dyes and splashed rubbing alcohol on the paint.  It created the spotted resist effect you see in the purple.


I would definitely buy these again, but I don’t need to any time soon! After all of my experiments I’m going to run out of gourds before I run out of paints.  I’m going to order their Liquid Mask next because I want to play with batik effects on gourds.

Check out Welburn Gourd Farm’s website if you would like to order gourds, dyes, or paints.

And if you’d like to see more of my gourd art check out these posts:

Gourd Art Portfolio

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

Gourd and paper clay Mermaids


acrylic painting with roses butterfly wings

She Keeps Secrets : new work 8×10 acrylic painting on canvas

acrylic painting with roses butterfly wings

She Keeps Secrets

8 x 10

Acrylic on canvas


I keep working on new pieces and butterflies keep making their way into the art.  I really like the direction I am going, so many layers, so much color. I really enjoy pushing the boundaries between realism and fantasy in my portraits.  Her face has a rainbow of hues, acrylic paint slathered and blended then glazed over with more natural skin tones.

I am really inspired by fashion editorials and subtleties in expression.  Her face has a beautiful mysterious quality, a playful thoughtfulness. Is she wistful?  She has a secret, she is calm among a sea of swirling color and brush strokes.  I’m getting closer to capturing her on canvas; the elusive, magnetic, captivating girl I’m always trying to paint.


<3 Kat