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


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.

Five Superhero Friends sketch by KatCanPaint

Superhero Best Friends Portrait Painting Comission

I’ve been working on a custom superhero portrait commission for 5 friends and I’m sharing the process.

A lot goes into a commission before I begin painting: sketching, sending the image to the customer, making changes, getting customer approval on those changes.  (Past finished Custom SuperHero portraits here and here.)  The image has to be perfect before I start painting.  Even with the costumes and masks the customer has to be able to recognize the people in the painting.

Five Superhero Friends sketch by KatCanPaint

This was the first sketch done for a 12×18 painting.  Using the photograph for reference, I sketch each person and add the mask and costumes.  From here I e-mail the image back to the customer so that she can approve the colors and design before I can get started on the painting.

I’ll post the progress each step of the way, stay tuned!

And if you’d like your own SuperHero Best Friends Portrait you can check out my Etsy:


<3 Kat

Flower Girl original acrylic painting by KatCanPaint

Flower Girl : Lessons on Newborns and Giving

Flower Girl is an old painting from 2009: I’m going through my blog and photo archives trying to choose what to edit. I’m ready to reorganize, rethink, repurpose and prioritize.

Flower Girl original acrylic painting by KatCanPaint

This flower girl was painted right after I gave birth to my son.  I was feeling so crazy in those moments, life with a newborn is a crazy wild sleepless blessing.

I breast fed my son, and slept only in stolen moments, ate in the same span of minutes, and cooked / read/ bathed with my baby.  I lived, breathed, relished newborn. When my son was old enough that he slept a little longer in between feedings I made this painting.

My brain and body were still wired to the baby: but instead of the imagery being nests and protection it turned into gardens and harvest, imagery creation and of giving. See, she has so many roses.  She prunes and picks and decorates.  She wears them, she makes rose tea, she gives them away.  The more roses she gives, the more roses grow, the more roses she gives… This painting, my Flower Girl, helped me process this newborn baby and all the changes he brought into my life.

<3 Kat

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

How to create a custom silhouette portrait : 5 easy tutorials from 5 beautiful blogs

The traditional method of making a silhouette ...


There are a lot of ways to create your own custom silhouette portrait.  If you are computer saavy you can edit a profile photo and print out your design.  If you’re more crafty you can trace and carefully cut out a silhouette portrait of yourself, your child, or your pet.  These five bloggers made excellent tutorials on how to create custom silhouettes and I wanted to share.

Jones Design Company has a beautifully designed blog *and* a tutorial for how to make your own custom silhouette art using computer software. JDC uses, which is free and supports layers, to create a silhouette from an uploaded photograph.

See the tutorial ~ visit the blog

E tells tales shares a lovely felt and fabric silhouette tutorial framed in an embroidery hoop. Check out the rest of her blog as well for beautiful photography.

See the tutorial ~ visit the blog

The Fab Miss B uses a printed photo, tracing paper, an xacto blade, and card stock to create pretty framed silhouette portraits.

See the tutorial ~ visit the blog

The Poor Sophisticate is an amazing interior design blog with awesome design tips and nicely styled photos.  One of many tutorials available is an easy classic silhouette tutorial that you print yourself, cut out of black paper, and mount with Aleene’s Tacky Spray.

See the tutorial ~ visit the blog

And Nesting Place has the greatest philosophy for home design, “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” If you want to create a personalized gift, or something sweet for yourself, just follow her tutorial to make a silhouette necklace.

See the tutorial ~ visit the blog


If you don’t want to break out the scissors and glue Etsy has a lot of great options as well.

AtomicHotdish  will create a detailed profile silhouette and email it to you in .pdf form for $20.00

BklynSilhouettes offers clean, classic, custom illustrated silhouettes for $35.00.

PrettyFaces sells 8 x 10 framed prints with a lot of custom options for $50.00

ThisWayUpGraphics makes a modern lineart silhouette illustration on a colored matte background. $18.50


I like to trace my photo onto canvas and carefully paint the silhouette in black.  It looks really nice on the wood plaques you can buy at Michaels, and is a very inexpensive way to create gifts or art for your walls.

Have fun creating!

<3 Kat


Are your best friends secretly super heroes?


Do you text faster than a speeding bullet? I can turn you into a superhero! All of my custom portraits are painted from your photos, all you do is email me the photo or photos you’d like to see Superhero-ified. (I can also paint couples, babies, children, or individual portraits.) You just tell me the color scheme and costume you have in mind and I design it for you! It takes less than a week to have an awesome hand painted superhero version of you!

Want one? Check out my etsy shop:


<3 Kat