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 :

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

<3 Kat

Hey Pretty! Cupcake Baker portrait + color palette inspiration

Hey Pretty!  Cupcake Baker portrait + color palette inspiration.

This has been a crazy productive week for painting.  So many ideas, so much inspiration that all came after I got out of my own way.   All my scarcity thinking led me to hoarding canvas and paper and paint like it was precious, like there would never be more.  I held back a lot of ideas and creativity because I wasn’t sure which painting was ‘perfect’ for which canvas. 

Its a map!

Its a map… that probably only makes sense to me. Pretty painted girls and how they influenced other paintings of pretty girls.

Too many ideas = unused canvas? That doesn’t even make sense.

I wasn’t even aware of how I was keeping myself so small, until I started to plan out a new body of work for my Etsy.  These lessons cycle for me, this isn’t the first time I’ve blocked myself by trying to be perfect. A lot of my ideas are confined to my tiny sketchbook, precious canvas empty and unused, waiting for my best ideas. But, derp, I don’t have enough canvas for all my ideas!  So my canvas is blank and unused?  That doesn’t even make sense. I have to start somewhere.  Inside my sketchbook now is a road map of paintings I want to do to guide me, complete with the exact colors I want to use and even alternate ideas if I get bored with something.

So hello, messy desk. 

Part of the productivity this week was thanks to abundant unblocking.  I chose a set of acrylics to serve as my color inspiration for a crazy color experiment: three shades of pink, blue, aqua, and turquoise, yellow, vanilla, orange sherbet, and purple. Tired of seeing blank canvas so I base coated everything with pastel pink. Pink! Now I have pink palms, pink arms, pink elbows… And 9 pink canvases.

I have a variety of sizes and shapes to us… but more importantly, I gave myself the space to make mistakes.  I feel free.

Hey Pretty Cupcake by Kat Can Paint

Cupcakes and pink hair and tattoos, oh my!

Yes! This pretty sh0oting-star-tattooed cupcake baker portrait represents the delicious color palette I chose and the space I gave myself to be free.

+ crazy art math

She isn’t perfect, but if I painted with perfection in mind I would never have finished.  This week was all about little wins and big lessons.  I have to get the ideas out because I figure out a lot of things while I am painting.  Sketching and sketching and refining a sketch then using that sketch like a paint by number doesn’t always work for me.  I like having a map (the sketch) but the magic happens when I start painting.

Abundant unblocking = free = pink = magic = painting.  This will be a great weekend.

<3 Kat

Come say hi! I hang out on Twitter +  Etsy + Pinterest.

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.

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? 

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.

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

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

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