Color Psychology - Part 8 Brown and Neutrals

Posted on November 21, 2016 by Kate Moynihan | 0 comments
In this series of the psychology of colors, brown is a natural color that evokes a sense of strength and reliability. In my paper collage below, I love how the warm copper and sienna make the cooler blue almost simmer. The same thing can happen in your home decor.
Brown brings to mind feelings of warmth, comfort and security. 
As a neutral brown is restful and safe. My architectural friends always said: "Delight in brown, it brings no frowns." 
Adding color to brown makes the serenity of neutrals sing. Brown combines well with brighter colors like light blues, pinks, yellows and especially oranges. Below, paired with red the power of brown practically bursts!
You may enjoy a medium brown wall color with accents of bright accessories in the room.
You'll discover that the warm cozy hues in your wood furniture will also blend nicely with your favorite accent colors. Greens and browns are a bit unusual in home decor, but I love the colors mixed together just like you'd find in nature. So what combinations do you like, ... brown and ....? Surprise me!


Continue reading →

Secrets for Realistic Leaves - A PAINTING TIP

Posted on October 31, 2016 by Kate Moynihan | 0 comments

I love this printmaking technique because it captures the texture of natural leaves. My style of painting tends to be more impressionistic so I enjoy getting the realism straight from the leaf.

Another favorite leaf of mine is the geranium. I print with the craggy leaf letting its irregular shape be the greens of the composition. Then for the red blooms I can let the watercolor work its magic in exploding red blooms! 

I discovered so many choices of leaves when strolling in downtown Holland that I made them into one big leaf collage below: 

Whether you paint or not, maybe just stroll and enjoy this fabulous autumn show of colors.

 How to steps for painting realistic leaves:

  1. Gather soap (bar soap, liquid soap, dish soap, any brand seems to work. The soap simply seems to allow the paint to adhere to the leaf a bit better.)
  2. With a brush, coat a thin layer of soap to the underside of the leaf -- the side with the deepest protrusion of veins, stamen and texture.
  3. Apply a thick, rich watercolor wash on top of your soap film.
  4. Using various shades of color will give your finished leaf more depth. 
  5. Press the leaf, paint side down in the area of your composition you want the leaf to appear.
  6. Dab the leaf with a paper towel to absorb any excess moisture. 
  7. Peel back the leaf.
  8. Let the printed leaf image dry and if you wish fill in the spaces of white with a light wash,




Continue reading →

Accepting Imperfections - In Art, In Yourself

Posted on April 28, 2016 by Kate Moynihan | 0 comments

Do you cockle?

In Art: Although "cockle" sounds like something a rooster crows about, it is actually a watercolor term. When water and paint are applied to watercolor paper moisture absorbs into the fibers causing it to expand and ripple, or more commonly known as cockle. Even a high-quality, thick watercolor paper can buckle unless the artist stretches the paper prior to painting.

Often the cockling of the paper is more pronounced when the piece is framed. You may notice the watercolor paper ripple along the straight edge of the mat board. The shadow on the left, along the edge of the white mat board, in the painting below is from the natural cockling in the watercolor paper.

 Although the mat board may draw attention to the cockling, the mat has an important feature which is to keep the art from touching the glass. When art is placed directly against glass there is a risk of moisture, and even mold, collecting on the painting.

To me, the cockling of the watercolor paper is its beauty. I have learned to appreciate the natural elements of paper and embrace it.

In nature: Embracing imperfections goes beyond art. In nature I am inspired by the birch tree whose craggy bark is filled with imperfections. Also in nature are the raw elements of marble and granite, whose one-of-a-kind beauty is found in the pits and fissures. These imperfections enhance the interest in the surface, yet they don’t impair its durability or functionality. Each piece  is valuable because of its different patterns and textures. 

In yourself: What is more natural than you? Welcome imperfections, we all have them, so embrace your individuality and uniqueness. lf you embrace them, others will smile at them, too.

As the laugh lines grow deeper on my aging face, I make sure to look in the mirror when the lights on low. In the dim light, my husband chuckles at me when I respond: “Doesn’t everyone look younger in a darken room?”

Then I laugh, too, because like the imperfections in the birch tree bark and the cockle of watercolor paper, I’ve earned every one of these “natural” wrinkles loving life. Haven’t you?

Continue reading →

2 Tricks to Painting and Enjoying Intense Dark Colors

Posted on March 07, 2016 by Kate Moynihan | 0 comments

Rich, luscious dark chocolate or a forkful of oozing blueberry pie; what makes these scrumptious foods catch your eye? Besides delectable, it is their bold, inky color.

Capturing rich dark color is easy to spot in photographs as the camera catches the authenticity, but what if you’re a painter?

1. Avoid the color black: I find the trick to capturing that luminous richness is to avoid mixing colors with black. Colors like Jet black and Mars black are a combination of many colors. I discovered that when I mix more than three colors on my palette the results tend to be muddy. So I avoid black and mix with pure pigments.

Like in the video, my favorite is Thalo green and Alizarin Crimson red. It is the perfect match for the deep shadows of an evergreen tree, and if I add more red, it is the perfect rich color to give raspberries depth. Don't forget the power of mixing with intense blues.

2. Make a chart. To become more familiar with the characteristics of the watercolor pigment, here is a helpful concept. Simply line up your dark pigments and make a grid as you mix. The next time you paint, use the chart as a guide to find the perefct dark shade for your compostion. I think you’ll like the results of mixing your own colored pigments instead of reaching for the black tube of paint.

Continue reading →

Painting Something Special For You!

Posted on February 22, 2016 by Kate Moynihan | 10 comments

I love commission work. Your requests push me in new directions. For example, take the birds paintings below. It all began with bright and white and transparent . . .

Then a bit more blue . . .

Next more texture . . .

Then brown all around . . .

I have you to thank for all the fun ways to paint birds! I love commissions and can't wait to see what you dream up for me next!

If you're unsure about the size of art you need, click here for a quick measuring tip.


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