Sleeps with Butterflies : original acrylic painting on canvas by Kat McBride

Sleeps with Butterflies by KatcanPaint

“Sleeps with Butterflies”
acrylic on canvas 8 x 10 inches 2012

She’s finished, and available in my Etsy shop!

Sleeps with Butterflies is an original acrylic painting on 8″ x 10″ canvas with 1/2″ sides.

She has a secret hidden behind that Mona Lisa smile. Her face has a beautiful mysterious quality, a playful thoughtfulness. Is she wistful?

This painting is romantic with soft glazing, butterfly wings, and roses balanced with saturated colors and captivating stares. I am really inspired by fashion editorials, beautifully photographed portraits, and subtleties in expression. The colors are soft and vibrant but may look different in person than on your monitor.

Sleeps with Butterflies is a part of a collection of paintings inspired by hazy summer memories and a surreal Florida childhood.

Painting grouping by KatcanPaint

Several paintings are a part of this summer collection:

Butterfly Summer

Girl with the Watercolor Rose tattoo

and an entire series of Overlapping Butterfly Wing paintings.

I’ll update with more this week, as soon as I can get everything scanned and photographed.  My prints should be here tomorrow, and I am more excited than a kid at Christmas.  This will be the first time my Etsy shop is full!   It’s incredible to see it all coming together: I’ll have original paintings, prints, and custom art listed…and I’m working on more art everyday.

Whoo hoo!

<3 Kat

And, in case you didn’t know, you can follow 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.

Want to see a painting that was purchased before it was dry?

Want to see a painting that was purchased before it was dry?

Rooting is an original acrylic painting on canvas that I finished last year.  I share painting progress often, here on the blog, via twitter, and on instagram. Last year I was completing a ten piece series for a gallery show, it was intense!  I was working day and night and only the middle of a large series of paintings, facebook was the only way I could stay connected and not go completely crazy while painting.  I posted a quick picture of the ‘ugly stage’ of this painting and a collector fell in love with the piece.   She was claimed before the paint had a chance to dry!
Its always exciting when someone loves a painting as much as you do.


Rooting original acrylic painting by KatCanPaint

©2012 Kathleen McBride, Rooting, Acrylic on Canvas, 11″ x 14″

Rooting is a part of the painting series Holding On / Letting Go that I created for my gallery show in Indianapolis.  The series started as an exploration on loss.  I painted women in different stages of receiving and releasing amorphous masses of energy that represented the emotions not expressed on their faces.

Collage of the Holding aOn Letting Go painting series

As I painted, my visual vocabulary expanded and more natural elements, flowers, roots, leaves as systems in the body. Veins, arteries, lungs, heart, are represented by root systems and flowers.  The energy masses expanded into clouds and curtains of smoke, they became distractions to veil the body and subjects emotions from the viewer.  From there the blocked energy began escaping from the figures, the girls that couldn’t embrace or let go began erupting with smoke and flowers.

I found this picture of the finished painting in my archives and I have a couple more pieces to dust off and share!

<3 Kat

You can also find me on Etsy and Pinterest. (I waste a lot of time on Pinterest!)

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From the archives: Two Paintings from 2008

I’m cleaning up my blog archives and I found paintings and posts that have never been seen, like these two paintings from 2008:

face study with peonies by KatCanPaint

Face Study with Peonies
Acrylic beeswax mica on canvas

I’ve been working on a painting for quite some time now, I dutifully scan every bit of the progress of it. This painting has lived with me for at least a year now without ever being finished. I constantly paint and paint on it, constantly changing my mind, constantly changing styles. This painting has seen the worst of it. I had completed most of the details after doing this Face Study, and decided that I had a direction and a final vision for the piece. (yay!) While varnishing the finished canvas, something happened with the napthol crimson in the underpainting, it bled through all the layers of paint; every little struggle, every little change, every mark I made and every decision with a brush stroke is now ruined. I almost had a giant hissy fit. With a heavy sigh, I put the painting away, maybe for another year, maybe forever.
Then I picked up a brush and added random swirls to this Face Study I had on my table, soon they were roses, and then I added more peachypinkyred and highlighted with white, and then just a bit of yellow… pretty soon they were impressionistic peonies. In the process of painting I just got over the loss I felt with the ruined painting. Sometimes they aren’t meant to go on a wall, sometimes I am just meant to learn with the process of painting.

Sometimes I have to let go of my art.

But I will be more careful with that napthol crimson.

Lady Godiva
Acrylics and beeswax on illustration board

This was originally a painting of a mermaid. I default to mermaids when I paint if I’m blocked because even if you can’t think of something to draw or paint it is always good to just start with something. Anyhow, the waves and water I was painting turned into hair, and there is no tail in sight. I think it just sort of morphed into Lady Godiva. Can I even begin to say how happy I am with her face? The scanner didn’t pick up the colors (common complaint, I know) but I’m still okay with the way it looks. Her face! The subtle painterly shading and form, the almost-realistic quality… I’m pretty sure this is my favorite painting so far. All these face studies and paintings I’ve been doing have been successful, even if it was a bit difficult for me to get through it all, I think I’ve decided on this style for the future of my girls.
A little personal landmark in the painting process right here. It is difficult to see the end when I am in the thick of it, when there are ten or so unfinished girls scattered about and paint on the carpet (oops) and no cohesive look to any of the ten, but I think I’m starting to ‘get’ it. (Beware, patting yourself on the back too much. Next post will be whining about how you are specifically Not Getting It.)

<3 Kat

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

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

Crown of Wings

Crown of Wings * mixed media acrylic painting

Crown of Wings

Crown of Wings

11 x 14

mixed media on canvas

I’m finally finished with this painting: a mix of metallic paints, marker, decorative / scrapbook paper, tissue, beeswax paint, acrylic, watercolor,  colored pencil AND … I’m sure I forgot something in there. She has taken months of painting, layering, planning, deliberating, having no clue what to do next.  Yeah, that’s how I work.  But she’s done! Yay!

<3 Kat