Dreams of Butterflies watercolor doodle by katcanpaint.com

Watercolor Stains and butterfly doodles.

Experimenting with a doodle technique in my art journal that I might demo here on the blog:

watercolor and pencil doodle by katcanpaint.com

Practicing a doodle and watercolors experiment. Fuscha pencil + pink and orange paint. And butterflies, of course.


I sponge painted watery orange and magenta paint onto my paper, then found butterfly wing shapes in the paint and defined them with purple pencil.  Hair and face came next and I have this pretty little sketch.


Dreams of Butterflies watercolor doodle by katcanpaint.com


The same process was used here: watery paint was sponge painted onto paper, then I defined shapes with pencil.  I really wanted the hair to cover the entire painted shape, and now it looks like an entire flock of butterflies is inhabiting her curls.


I love doodling because it is a very loose and intuitive process, no pressure to make a perfect face or likeness… no pressure to create.  I don’t even think while I am making work like this, it just flows onto the page.  It was a great breather exercise inbetween tutorials.

Speaking of – How to Draw the Easiest Nose and Lips Ever tomorrow!

Same Kat time, same Kat channel.

Too much?

Ah well, I’m a goof ball!


<3 Kat


Want to see more? You may be interested in:

Super Rainbow Carousel girl

Super Rainbow Carousel Girls and Cute Party Dolls * candy colored paintings

Carousel Girl


I’m in a super kawaii children’s art mode.  I love drawing, painting, and illustrating candy colored kid’s art.  These pieces are from last year, so I think the super saturated cutesy bug is a once a year thing. Maybe?


Super Rainbow Carousel girl


Super Rainbow Carousel Girls and cute party doll girls.  I’d love to decorate a cute little girl’s room, but I have a little boy.



I drew two cute little girls that fit into the little girl’s wall decor theme, they are very fairy tale and Blythe doll -esque to me.


They are too cute!

It is silly to classify them as children’s art only… because I’m loving this style but I have a little boy, who loves fish and pirates not carousels and dolls.  I would hang all this art in my room instead, and I’m a grown up.  ;)

I don’t think it matters at all: if you love super girly kawaii art and dolls, then rejoice! Cute girly art makes my heart sing right now, so candy colored glamour it is.

Plus, I’m no stranger to story book paintings and children’s art themes:

Waiting – Carousel Girl Acrylic Painting

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

<3 Kat


I named her Rosaline!

Rosaline is a new painting, and I love this girl.  Dreamy portrait, pink mermaid hair, layers of rainbow sherbet butterfly wings.  This painting came so easy too!




This cute girly is acrylic on paper, 9×12, which is nice but small.


So now I’m itching to paint her on 16 x 20 canvas I have that is waiting for something beautiful. I wonder if she will translate well to canvas from paper in almost double sized? Only one way to find out!

I’ll let you know when shes available for purchase. For now there are a bunch of beautiful paintings and prints listed in my Etsy, hop on over and pick yourself up something nice.

Paintings and Prints in my Etsy

I listed 20 new paintings / prints in my Etsy shop : katcanpaint.etsy.com

Holy Art, Batman! Those 20 lovelies are in addition to the custom portrait paintings you can commission.

<3 Kat

True Story (What its like to paint with a 3 year old)

So, I’m working on this painting, and Keian works next to me, usually painting a pirate ship or birdhouse.

(My son and I paint together a lot.  He’s three. He really likes to do whatever I like to do, and I really like to paint.)


I work on several paintings at once, because I am impatient, so while one layer is drying I move onto something else.

I leave the table to grab the next painting but I can’t decide on just one.  I spend maybe 30 seconds deciding, and Keian says, “Mommy!”

He has a paint brush loaded with green paint in his hand.

 “One minute baby,” I tell him, trying to pick another painting.

“Mommy!” He insists.

I’m trying to be quick, so I grab all the paintings, but 45 seconds is too long.




“I paint a dinosaur.  High five?”

High five, little man.

*I put the stack of paintings down, away from the green paint brush.

Digging Deep : Why I hate asking for help + a long love letter to the When I Grow Up Clubhouse and Michelle Ward

This week the synchronicity has been crazy.

Everything lined up about Support and asking for help that I couldn’t ignore it anymore.  There were giant signs in my inbox, twitter feed, and hovering around Facebook clubhouses.

What is a girl to do?

Let go of the fear.

See, I’m not exactly the best at asking for help.  I’m a stubborn lady.


Its too much to sit with alone, inside my own head all day about my business. I need help.  And as soon as I thought about it, I started to really dig inside and think about what it meant to ask.

Siren acrylic on paper

I painted this mermaid muse while deep in thought about Art + Bizz + style.

First I thought about what I wanted: clarity about the direction to take my art bizz.

I have this art adhd and I just can’t focus on one thing.  I frantically jump from project to project looking for the next best thing, the next fun thing, the next great thing to offer: I can paint and I have a lot of trust and faith in my abilities to paint, but I am caught in this comparison trap.  Too many blogs and pinterest, too much visual information. I see so much other great work then I think I need to go in another direction, I need to make stuff like so and so and paint like this other person.  I have too many options.

So many options, so many ideas.

I can paint anything! Do I paint only what I like?  I like a lot of stuff! I paint in my downtime, whether it is for fun or profit.  Painting is what I do. I paint with my son, I paint with my mom, I paint for my sisters.  I give gifts of paintings.  My son and I, we make art most days, or we do crafty fun things.  We pick out wooden pieces at Michaels – pirate ships and bird houses.  He loves birdhouses and pirates.

globs of painty goodness

Look at those globs of paint, my son is fearless with color.

We slosh paint all over these guys, over and over.  The cutest thing is this windchime bird house he loves.  “Mommy, lets draw painting my jingle house.” Green and blue and red and black, then he paints it all over again.  My son loves his painted pirate ship and jingle house so much he takes them to bed.  Kei has this pair of cowboy boots that are way too big for him, he wears them everywhere even to bed. He has a stuffed dog, Max from the Grinch, and he takes him everywhere too.

I am completely immersed in art stuff. I’m so concentrated on making it work as a business that sometimes I forget to enjoy these little parts.  I’m learning to relax about it again.  I’m learning to find the fun in art again, just by watching Kei. We built houses out of cardboard cereal boxes, he loves creating and painting as much as I do.

Art is what I know: its what I do it is what I am ridiculously good at.


Then the tweets and emails and etc came pouring in.

Ask for help

Ask for support

Don’t be ashamed or scared or feel too small just to ask for help.

Big giant Yes, please.

If you are an internet lurker like me, you just yell a giant YES in your brain like I do when something clicks so hard in your brain you want to give the person a hug and then ask them how they figured you out so concisely without ever talking to you.

Does this happen to you?  So many people in my life, ghost friends, have this amazing x-ray vision deep into my brian and heart and guts and they know what I’m going through at this exact moment that it is too uncanny for me to simply ignore.

So I did that: asked for help.  I wrote a book scholarship application to the wonderful Michelle Ward and I won membership in the When I Grow Up Clubhouse.

It was exactly what I needed: a Community of amazing support.

And that was only the beginning of the giant snowball of fabulous.

I wrote e-mails to people, telling them how great I think they are. (They wrote back! Squee!)  I joined twitter chats about life and art and mommy guilt.  HEY, I’m not doing it wrong! A lot of other women, even rocket scientists, have these same fears. A Rocket Scientist worries about the same things I do, that just made my brain go, “What?!” before it exploded.

Why its been hard for me in the past:

Aside from being Capital S stubborn I’m also someone who feels like they are out of their depth in social media.

I don’t use it like I think I should, or like I see other people using it, or like how I read people telling you how to use it.  ETC.

I feel like I don’t use the internet like other people do.  A lot of question people ask me about my computer usage end with me going, “Uuuuhm, well, you know, I use the internet as my own personal image caching system… and to check in with my little sisters on Facebook, turn on Pandora and flit away to paint into the night.”

I was Queen Blog Lurker.  I follow people religiously that I love, through RSS feeds, looking forward to my daily email to read while working out or on my lunch break or long car rides etc.  I didn’t really connect unless I wanted to send a crazypants fan love letter to someone.

I didn’t really think about connecting as a conversation.  I thought about it like writing into a magazine.  Everyone on the internet was smarter, funnier, more creative: everyone was a celebrity.

Comparison, its a trap.

Juxtaposition that for a minute with this:

I am not like this offline. Often, I am a giant exuberant ball of puppy-like unbridled enthusiasm. My two favorite things to do when I’m painting are Karaoke and dancing. KARAOKE… in strange bars and pubs and lounges and restaurants.  Singing terrible songs terribly in front of complete strangers and a close-knit group of friends.  In the city I would sing at the top of my lungs in the middle of my store while I was working.  I would wrangle my customers, employees, and managers into Top 40 duets and Classic Rock ballads.

I was equally fearless on the dance floor. I have no rhythm.  None.  I would leap into the fray during Salsa night and just make it up.  Okay, I did know two basic steps.  Two.  No hyperbole here. It was all in the sense of good fun. Everyone had a blast.

I am tone deaf.

I can not sing on key if my life depended on it.  But the fear never stopped me.

still a wip but I know where its going

I’ve worked on this painting on and off for months. I never knew where to take it, what style to work on, when it was finished, what to focus on. I was so worried about not doing it wrong.

Digging deep.

My livelihood never depended on it, like it does in the art business. Connecting, conversing, engaging and interacting.  I love it, I really do.  But there was an enormous black cloud of fear surrounding it. The black cloud of the fear of doing it wrong.

This week all the stars aligned, the moon was full, a million people wrote about asking for help, asking for support, and being fearless and abundant.

I’m so clear about what I want out of my life and business.  I want to be able to have fun and make art, but stay professional.  I want this to be my life.

I want to live fearlessly



amazingly free.

I feel all fired and inspired and supported by a lovely community of ladies + 1 in the When I Grow Up Clubhouse (Thanks Michelle!) Plus a bunch of great  people who interact with me on twitter (Thats @Kat_McBride if you want to say hey.)  I’m so grateful to the wonderful people who (gasp!) responded when I e-mailed or commented and left my comfort zone to reach out / be social.

Bye bye black cloud.

It’s not that scary.  I just hate asking for help because I don’t want to feel needy, or look desperate.  It’s silly, all it requires is a shift in thinking.  I’m not being needy, I’m connecting with like-minded awesometastic peoples.  I’m finding my tribe.

And they are awesome.

<3 Kat

For real though, catch me on twitter.  Its where I hang out while I’m painting and I love to chat.

Crown of Wings painting collage by KatCanPaint

Driving myself bonkers : Crown of Wings painting progress

I am driving myself crazy, looney, absolutely BONKERS with this painting.  I almost scrapped this painting.  Scrapped, like tossed into the trash.  Finito! I’m tired of looking at you!


Crown of Wings painting collage by KatCanPaint

Crown of Wings, acrylic on canvas, 11 x 14″, still in progress

Seriously, it just bugged me over and  over.  This painting didn’t mold into what I wanted it to look like, into what I wanted it to be.  Problem: I had no idea what exactly I wanted this painting to be besides not ugly, yeah. I’m helpful that way.

I kept it around, schelpping it from table to table or hanging it on a wall, keeping it in the background while I painted other pieces.  I had a lot of deep seated annoyance with my entire painting process and style that this painting represented.  I liked the idea of this painting, but I just didn’t know if I had the ability to paint it the way I idealized it.

Plus, I end up making every painting about learning how to do something better – a better way to paint eyes/ lips /noses… a better way to model vs render details.  Painterly vs illustrative.  I would be able to grow as an artist this way, but not when each piece is a struggle.  Not an exercise, or a study… nope. I make it hard on myself.  If I don’t revolutionize something or answer a big question when I walk away from a painting then I feel like a failure and that the painting is a failure.


Painting is not that hard for me.

It doesn’t have to be that hard for me.

I am terrified of doing mediocre work, and choosing the easy path / the path of least resistance always seems like it only leads to a short skip to mediocretown.

There has to be another way!

I’m still figuring it out, every time I sit down to paint.


<3 Kat


Would you like to see more paintings? 

gourd bowl mosaic by KatcanPaint

The Gourd Girl

My major in college was Illustration, but everyone was required to take a semester long 3-d class. While everyone was working with wood, I brought in a tote full of gourds.

Wait- let me start at the beginning. Listen: growing up I hated gourds! My mom would try for mother-daughter bonding time, with gourd crafts. Oh, how I hated gourds! What teenage girl, artist even, wants to work with a medium that you have to scrub mold off of before you can even begin to work with it? That was a big NO thanks, I’ll be in Katlandia, drawing mermaids and fairies. Still, I decided to work with gourds for my college project, due mainly to the fact that I had gourds around the house, wood… not so much. And my professors loved the project, and told me gourds were definitely the way to go, for me. But.. but, the whole MOLD issue, not to mention the need for a really good dust mask if you are opening those babies up, and a small aresenal of power tools.. oh no thank you. I’ll be in Katlandia, drawing pretty girls with butterflies.
Still, every Christmas my mother did a local art fair, and I would always make a bunch of holiday gourds to sell. And I was showing up at the local Gourd Show to buy gourds, and mingle with gourd growers and enthusiasts. (Can you imagine? These people wear GOURD HATS!) And I was painting, carving, weaving, and sculpting on more and more pieces. Which led to entering gourd pieces in art contests, which led to placing, which led to big pink rosettes that said, ‘Judges Choice!” and “First Place!” Which led to my gourd work being in galleries. Which led to people only remebering me for the work I did, “Oh hey, aren’t you that Gourd Girl?”
The entire time I’m trying to convince myself, that really, I’m not all that into gourds.
Oh, but how I love sculpting. And isn’t it convienent when you have a nice, all natural, armature just sitting about?
Oh dear, I really think I might be that gourd girl.
I don’t really share too much of the gourd work I do here, because this is Katlandia, home of mermaids and fairies and whimsical paintings of girls with birds and butterflies and flowers. Not gourdlandia, home of all the other things I do… but they keep sneaking in here and there. Gourds are tricky little things, yes they are. I’ll start with the Santas. After years and years of doing holiday shows, I just make Santas without a sketch before hand. Straight from my head to the gourd.

Toy Workshop sculpted Santa gourd by KatcanPaint

Another banana gourd, and a Tenessee spinner make the base for this Santa, he is sculpted with polymer clay, then painted. His hat is fully sculpted, but I only have a decent picture of his front.  He’s my workshop Santa, making toys for Christmas. (I even sculpted that little candy cane in his pocket)

sculpted santa gourd by KatcanPaint

I love this Santa’s expression. You can’t really ever get tired of painting Santa, you can change his face in so many ways and everyone still understands who it is. He is made with a banana gourd, Tenessee spinner, and sculpted with polymer clay.

Nontradition colors float my boat; teal and green polka dots. Years of straight red and white Santas = boringtown.  His face is sculpted with handmade paper mache pulp, it really makes him look ancient.  (The antiquing with burnt umber helps too.)

I have a lot more I can share, you start the Christmas season early in the crafting world! By the time Christmas rolls around I need a nap!

<3 Kat

Kingdom Hearts hand painted shoes by KatCanPaint

DIY Geek Fashion! Avatar the Last Airbender and Kingdom Hearts Hand Painted Shoes

I love love love custom painting things.  Backpacks, hats, t-shirts, shoes… its perfect for summer and back to school crafty time.  These two pairs of shoes were custom painted to show some geek pride.  Everything was rough sketched in pencil and then inked and painted with acrylics and Elmer’s paint pens.  You could totally transfer your favorite images onto canvas shoes and have some fun color it yourself shoes.  Coloring book shoes!

Why do flip flops have to be the only fun summer shoes? Grab yourself some awesome cheap canvas shoes, some paints, and make a pair of hand-painted fun summer shoes.  Easy weekend project if you’re crazy about detail like I was in the first pair, or an rainy day afternoon project if you simpify your design like the second pair:

Pair one of the hand painted geek shoes of awesome:

Kingdom Hearts hand painted shoes by KatCanPaint

This is the front view.

Left Kingdom Hearts Shoe by KatCanPaint

Left shoe

Right Kingdom Hearts Shoe by KatCanPaint

Right shoe

If you like Kingdom Hearts then you know the lands on the sides of the shoes.  I had about two inches of space to sketch and paint the tiny details of the Castle and Destiny Islands on the sides.  These were a lot of fun, and a lot of itty bitty sketchy painty goodness.  I used a decent pen that wouldn’t bleed for these, so I could paint over the lines.

Pair two my DIY Geek Fashionista kicks:

Katara hand painted shoe by KatCanPaint

Right shoe

Zuko and Katara painted shoes by KatCanPaint

Front view

I made shoes for Kerri, my other sister, with two of her favorite characters from Avatar: the Last Airbender on them.  She’s a big Zutara fan.

I wanted to keep these bold and colorful, more simplistic because a:) those Kingdom Hearts shoes killed me and b:) it read better from far away.  All those little fiddly bits.. yeah.. no one is going to know what they are because they blend together from far away.  Unless you walk on your hands, or want to pride yourself in the details, don’t worry about complex scenes.

You can custom paint any canvas shoes, all you need is acrylic paint.  The cheapy hobby acrylics work for this. If you like to draw then you can use Sharpie markers, prismacolor markers and pencils instead.  There is a fabric medium in the craft store that helps make acrylic paint softer to use as fabric paint but I didn’t really need it here.

I used Elmer’s paint pens for a lot of the doodled details, they handle well, nice and painterly, and they did’t fade.  In fact the painting / cheap acrylics outlasted the canvas shoes.

<3 Kat

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

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.

a painting collage of girls with white hair by KatCanPaint

Does this painting look like Daenerys or am I just watching too much Game of Thrones?

Does she look like Daenerys or am I just watching too much Game of Thrones?  I didn’t intend to paint any Game of Thrones or Daenerys fan art, in fact I started painting this girl before I started watching the show.


original work in progress painting by KatCanPaint

This wistful girl was supposed to be a companion piece to my Crown Of Wings painting.


This painting isn’t an exact likeness, maybe I am just watching too much Game of Thrones…  But now, after finishing the first season, I can’t look at a pretty girl with white wavy hair and not think of Daenerys. And, because I’m addicted to Picmonkey, I made a collage to illustrate all the girls with white hair that I’ve painted over the years.


a painting collage of girls with white hair by KatCanPaint

Lesson of the day? I paint a lot of girls with white hair and I’m not going to stop any time soon.

<3 Kat