After 25 years - Farewell Piece to Moynihan Gallery

Posted on September 07, 2018 by Kate Moynihan | 0 comments

The blank canvas of this bench was the perfect last-piece-to paint when I chose to retire from my retail art gallery in downtown Holland.

Over the years, the craggy birch tree has become my beacon. The beauty of this tree is the imperfections in its raw rough bark. At times, during my artistic journey, I felt as exposed only to realize that if I embraced my short-comings I could stand tall like the birch.

As I turn the key to lock the gallery for the very last time, the click reminds me how happy I am. Memories of wonderful customers, team members and events flood my mind. Better yet, is what lies ahead.

My memoir, A Lone Birch, has allowed me to share some of the lessons I've learned along this journey. I find speaking to groups thrilling, and perhaps, I can  inspire others as I branch out beyond my days at Moynihan Gallery.

My stories will continue on Kate Moynihan Facebook ...  I hope to see you there!

A new web site will launch soon: www.katemoynihanartist.com

or contact me at:


cell: 616-510-0151




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Top 10 Benefits for Having a Friend

Posted on October 16, 2017 by Kate Moynihan | 0 comments

For most of us, we can't go it alone. Sure enough, be it your car, work, or even play, it's our friends that are there ... and create the joy. I have ten personal favorite times when friends helped me out.

10. The time a friend popped and shoveled the hot salty-buttery popcorn into 500 bags in just 3 hours!

9. Dressed up their dogs for a Facebook post.


8. Puckered their lips.




7. In February, grew grass in huge 3-foot shallow oversize tubs on their dinning room table in order for it to grow in time so we could pretend it was Spring in the gallery!

6. Evaluated my latest kid's chapter book when they haven't read one in more than thirty years.

5. Hiked up to the tip top of a ladder to paint the 13-foot ceiling trim ... during Labor Day weekend!

4. Wore a foam Mr. Peanut costume to promote: "We're nuts about picture framing/" Only the day hit record high heat of ninety degrees. No air conditioning in that garb!




3. Looped and stapled 5,000 strips of red construction paper to create paper chains for 12-foot tee-pee shaped Christmas trees.

2. Set up a shaved ice machine, hauled bags of ice and coolers, wrestled with a thirty-foot, 3-prong grounded extension cord only to have unseasonably frigid temperatures and then had NO takers for the FREE snow-cones.

1. Froze fake spiders in ice cubes so we could serve a crazy bug-themed punch when I launched my book, Beached in a Camper.

Friends are a beautiful thing!

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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. 

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#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?

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Two Similarities Between Painting and Writing

Posted on April 10, 2017 by Kate Moynihan | 0 comments

#1: Learning technique: the first step.

For both medias, writing and painting, learning the core concepts will give your creative whim credibility.

In writing understanding sentence structure is will get you winning words, be it punctuation, participles, or prepositions. Personally I struggle with all of them.

In art, structure is vital. Mastering the basic technique of transcribing details and learning the vanishing point of perspective is the underlying strength to painting. 

Once you understand the essentials, you'll see your work grow when ...

#2: You allow your creativity to flow. This is the joy that makes all the practice worth the effort. In writing, as much as I enjoy wildly putting my thoughts on paper, I've learned it is best to let the musing rest overnight and critique it the next day. Re-writing is an essential step for me.

With painting I tend to be a non-sketcher so it often takes re-doing pieces to get the end results I desire. Like in writing, erasers work in painting, too. To illustrate, below is a watercolor I have lightened the colors on the right side which prepares the paper for re-painting allowing for a second chance to capture the beauty of the flowers.

I image cooking, dancing, and other arts involve the same two step process. Have you discovered that in your own creative endeavors?

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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...

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