Birch verses Aspen Trees

Posted on July 19, 2017 by Kate Moynihan | 0 comments
A swarm of mosquitoes gorged my bare legs, and no-see-ums hovered around my head while I trudged deeply in the woods of Pikesview Reservoir in Colorado Springs. Slapping and shooing the buzzing bugs, I pressed on seeking an answer: Was I surrounded by birch or aspens?

For 60+ years, as a Michigan native, I assumed all the white-barked trees I favored in my paintings were inspired by the Paper Birch, a common tree in my homeland state. So on my first-time-ever trip to Colorado I expected to see the Quaking Aspen. Which I did, but as my skin swelled with big puffy pink bites I waded deeper for a closer look. Sure enough, in the midst of Colorado forest the birch stood with its bark peeling off in thin wispy layers, having a chalky feel. Not more than a few feet away towered the aspen, its bark smooth to touch. True to its name the heart-shaped aspen leaves quivered, while the oval-shaped, toothed edge birch leaves took a bit more breeze to flutter. I was stunned to see them growing side-by-side.

I escaped the woods and took a Benadryl hoping the antihistamine would attack the welts that covered me. Instead my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth, and the sensation to scratch at the mosquito stings magnified.

Next time this non-camping gal will do an internet search for inspiration as it only took a few keystrokes in the comfort of an air conditioned office to learn birch and aspen can both be found along the tree line across Alaska to down to Iowa and through much of the Rocky Mountains into Michigan and Pennsylvania. 

Continue reading →

3 Generations of Fourth of July Traditions

Posted on July 03, 2017 by Kate Moynihan | 0 comments

Bucket head fun! Coincidences or family genetics? Maybe not great minds, but we surely think alike!

Above, I am the cute, chubby gal on the left, no laughing please. The top right are my sons. They were so inspiring, in 2013, I wrote Beached in a Camper, my first junior fiction book, based on photographs just like that one.

The lower right photo is my grand kids, Aislynn and Liam! Three generations of 4th of July fun and not just with fireworks! Gotta love summer traditions.

Continue reading →

2 Goals to Try from Monica Hannan

Posted on June 05, 2017 by Kate Moynihan | 0 comments

I was stuck on a weight loss plateau. Of course it didn’t help that my motivation was at an all-time low as the Michigan February wind blew fiercely. All I wanted to do was hibernate. My get-up-and-go had left along with my writing creativity. Then my writing coach, Donna, recommended I take a look at a book cover, thinking its alluring title, testimonial and striking color contrast would inspire my writing woes.

She was right about the book cover; it not only fueled my writing, it got me excited to read the contents – in one day. The author Monica Hannan fired up my dieting drive. I dialed a friend, Allison, who was struggling with dieting, painstakingly starving herself, trying to shave a few inches off her waist.

Using Monica as inspiration, we set 2 goals:

  1. Eat breakfast to rev our metabolism – ugh, breakfast, it had never been the meal of champion for me.
  2. Walk a million steps, ugh to that too.

Three months later, I am proud to say Allison and I crossed the finished line last week. I faithfully choked down my Adkins breakfast bar at 5:30 am, and balanced fat, protein and carb every three hours. My fit-bit shot off fireworks every day as I hit 11,140 steps, but the scale didn’t budge. Allison had struggled along with me on this journey. All was not lost, though. My misery loved the company. 

Then yesterday, out of nowhere as I wheezed like a sick accordion on the treadmill, another faithful gym attender gave me his usual silent nod of hello, and then said, “I’ve watched you all winter. You look like you’ve lost twenty pounds.”

Once I closed my gasping mouth, I told him sadly that the scale had not changed for me.

 “A scale doesn’t tell you everything,” he replied.

I went home and slid into summer shorts. Last year I had a tug-of-war to get the shorts across my hips! I said a silent thank you, Monica.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Continue reading →

#1 Favorite Activity

Posted on May 22, 2017 by Kate Moynihan | 0 comments
#1 Favorite Thing- Be Outside!
Sunbeams, the scent of fresh-cut grass ... and adventure outdoors are a few of my favorite things! The illustration above and the story passage below is based on true-life happenings with my sons, turned into my second book based in Bismarck, North Dakota. This excerpt is told from Adam, my youngest son's point of view, and it sums up another one of my favorite things ... memories!

“Do you fish, Adam?” Zach asks me as the boat speeds across the mighty Missouri River which is wider than a football field.

There are a number of smart ways I could answer the question … but, they’re not for me.  Not Adam Moynihan.  I choose the absolute worst answer.  “I can catch anything,” I blurt out, even though I’ve only used worms for bait and a marble-size bobber to catch small pan-size fish, like blue gill.  My bold bragging might just get me in trouble fishing for sturgeon that I've been told are bigger than my arms spread wide. - Trouble Out West.

Adventures can be big or small. I'm working on my next teen fiction ... do you have any stories to share?

Continue reading →

#1 Secret for Inspiration

Posted on May 01, 2017 by Kate Moynihan | 0 comments

When I feel stuck without an idea one of my favorite tricks for inspiration is to:
Look through old photographs.

The snapshot below of my sons and their friends led to a story in my second book, Trouble Out West In particularly this quote:

"It feels great to be four-on-a-couch playing Nintendo again and gulping root beer from the two-liter jug."

Video game time064 thumb

 This spring I relied on photos, too. I happened to be so inspired I painted enough tulips for a gallery wall! 

My paintings:

My photo inspiration ... and then I added a bit of jazzy artistic fun!

Image result for tulip photos



Continue reading →


About the Artsy Shopkeeper

Hi, I'm Kate Moynihan. Yes, I am a baby boomer, and my professional life has taken a few interesting twists and turns. The journey began as a registered nurse. After thirteen years of caring for others, however, I got the creative itch. At the time, I was a single mom living in North Dakota; that’s when I caught this bug to paint pictures. Now, twenty-seven years later, I have some stories to tell about my artistic journey. Read more...

Scroll to top