Monday, December 20, 2010

Terrariums, Fairys and Gnomes

Last year I received a beautiful bell-shaped glass cover as a wedding gift from my Aunt Joyce. I've already found so many uses for it! It's covered cookies, pies, cheese & crackers, and now it will cover my latest creation... a terrarium display!
To make your own, gather a tiny potted plant (like a fern) and a few things from around the house and yard. Then stick a glass cover on it and you're done! Here you see my collection without the glass cover.
My dear friend, Brynn, brought me the little birds nest earlier this fall. I think it looks sweet with a tiny star ornament nestled inside. Toss in some pine cones and moss and voila! You'll have a delightful display! If you have children, call it a fairy home instead and have them place a miniature chair or seat in there for the fairy.
This little set-up reminds me of a special gnome tree on a path at W&L. Someone had carved a tiny wooden door, complete with a handle and secured it with little hinges to a hole in the tree trunk. I found it one day with my little buddy, who was in elementary school at the time. We opened the door and found a stash of notes and wishes that had been written to the mythical inhabitant. When we put all the little notes back in, we even added a few wishes of our own for Mr. Gnome. I wonder if he still lives there...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Four Peaks: Colorado Mountains

"Four Peaks" is a painting for a couple that I met over 5 years ago in Wyoming. When I lived in Laramie, they saw my senior thesis work at a coffee shop and commissioned me to create a painting to celebrate their 10-year wedding anniversary. Naturally, I was thrilled when they found me again to help them celebrate 15 years together! What a compliment!

In the last 5 years, they've adopted two sweet girls. The four peaks in this painting represent the four members of their family-- The big overlapping peaks represent years of strength and love in their marriage and the two smaller peaks represent their sweet girls. In addition, the mountains in the painting are Colorado mountains-- close to the family's current home.

This painting is a beautiful way to celebrate their special occasion and I am honored to help Eric and Julie mark their milestones together! Thank you Eric and Julie and here's wishing you endless years of happiness together!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Art After Dark, aka Lasagna and a painting!

November 5th was a very special night at the studio! Good folks from all around town came to my home for a delicious dinner and step-by-step painting instructions. We wined and dined on baguette, fig spread and brie, homemade lasagna, salad, and apple pie a la mode before we headed upstairs to paint. It's a wonder we could lift our paintbrushes with such delightfully happy bellies, but somehow we managed!

Here are a few pictures of us in our paint shirts with finished paintings. Each person created his or her own bird painting and went home with a framed masterpiece! I am so proud of each of my students!

Additional classes will be offered in 2011. E-mail me at if you'd like to know about them! Space is limited to 5 students each night and the cost is $100.00 per person with wine, dinner, supplies and framing included.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Goodbye, my love!

Every now and then I still find it hard to let go of one of my paintings. "The Red Tree," as it's known around my house, found a new home tonight. Dave and I took it to the residence of a wonderful family who wanted to see it in their own space. As soon as we walked into the house, I knew it was meant to be. Their rooms were decorated with luxurious drapes and cozy red and green fabrics and paints. "The Red Tree"--- my red tree--- was the perfect finishing touch.

I was thrilled when they loved it too-- so much so that I grinned from ear to ear with pride. I felt like jumping up and down with joy! I am forever honored when people love my work enough to purchase it and hang it in their homes. No matter how many times it happens, it's still a tremendous thrill.

The green paint on their dining room walls was the perfect shade to bring out the brilliant red of the tree. What made it even better is the fact that the couple had Laura Redd's help in decorating! Laura is one of my good friends and I am constantly amazed at her work! Learning that was just the icing on the cake... tonight was meant to be!

When we came home to our empty kitchen wall I felt a little pang of sadness. That glorious painting was the one that I saw each morning as I downed my honey-nut cheerios and sipped my coffee. That glorious painting was the backdrop for our perfect Thanksgiving buffet planned for Thursday...That glorious painting was one of my favorites that I've ever painted. I will miss it.

This is the cycle-- I paint things that I love-- that I want to hang in my home-- and they find other homes! This is the wonderful life of being an artist. Because that painting found a great home, my mind will start pondering the next project to fill the void. Are you excited yet? I sure am...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Holiday Classes for Kids!

(image courtesy of

Does the holiday rush make your head spin? Do you need an hour or two of quiet so that you can run errands and check a few things off your to-do-list?

I hear you!

On December 7th and 14th, I'm offering a buy one get one free set of holiday art classes for kids age 6-10. For just $25.00 each, your little ones can paint and sculpt to their heart's content in a professional artist's studio while you get some time to take care of yourself. Purchase the first holiday class on December 7th, and get the second class free on December 14th.

Space is limited and spots must be reserved in advance. To hold a spot for your child, call Katie at 912.704.3637.

Holiday Sculptures: Tuesday, Dec. 7th 4:30-5:45 p.m., at the studio, 3022 Lake Forest Dr., Greensboro, all supplies included.

Holiday Paintings: Tuesday, Dec. 14th, 4:30-5:45 p.m., at the studio, 3022 Lake Forest Dr., Greensboro, all supplies included.

Do you know what's even better than time to yourself?... Seeing how proud your children are of their finished projects when you put them on display! Take that, Mr. holiday-to-do-list!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck!

Beautiful red apples washed and ready for peeling... Don't you see why cooking and painting go together so well? These are about to go into my annual tradition of apple blackberry pies.

The ingredients looked so pretty on my countertop, complete with the recipe from last year's Martha Stewart Living. I'm a huge fan...

Diced cold butter for the crusts. I put it in a food processor with the flour, cornstarch, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and sugar. Pulse until crumbly and then add your cold water until it just comes together.

Peeling 15 lbs of apples is easier said than done. If you're making this recipe, you may as well make several pies and save yourself the trouble of repeat batches later in the year. I made 5 pies and froze them all for the holidays. The apple slices get mixed with more sugar, spice and a few handfuls of frozen blackberries.

This crust is beautiful. I used little leaf, apple and acorn cut-outs to make it lovely. I even put a little turkey cut-out at the center of my Thanksgiving pies.

Dotted with sweet cream butter and ready for the oven or freezer: Sweet success! (and one less thing on my to-do list for Thanksgiving)

Here's the recipe: Martha Stewarts Pate Brisee Apple Blackberry Pie

Friday, November 5, 2010

Apples to Apples, Dusk to Dusk

Traditions are priceless, aren't they? Here are pictures from our latest family tradition. It all began last year with the search for the perfect red tree. Dave and I drove to the Blue Ridge Parkway to seek the fall colors and snapshots. We found so much more along the way-- including an apple orchard called The Orchard at Altapass.

On a gorgeous hillside off the parkway there are rows and rows of apple trees with the brightest red apples and a perfect barn. The barn, now a store, offers hot apple cider, apple butter, apples by the peck or bushel, and entertainment galore if you time it just right. Last year we discovered the cider. This year we discovered the entertainment!

A typical Carolina bluegrass band was playing country mountain-man music and the mountain folk were coming out of the woodwork to dance and sing and be jolly by golly. The dancing was filled with plaid shirts, bushy beards, toothy grins, jerky Caucasian movements and plenty of whoop & ye-haw. What more could you ask for, I say... what more could you ask for...?

The only thing missing was a ride in the Yosimite Sam Truck... maybe next year.

Monday, November 1, 2010


These trees look like they're reaching toward each other, don't they? I couldn't resist the sunlight coming through fog, silhouetting these three shadowy forms. Why are they reaching? I'm not exactly sure of the answers but I like to think about the possibilities.

My style is more impressionistic in this piece. I feel a freshness and an energy in the painting that I always try to capture. It eludes me more often than I like, but in this piece I caught it by the tail!

The top painting is the final version and the bottom piece is a palette knife study that helped me prepare.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Velveteen Pumpkins

In September, my stepmom told me that she saw velvet pumpkins on a facebook page for one of our favorite stores. I was so excited because I'd seen some in a magazine last year and never found the time to make them before the holidays arrived. I shoved the idea somewhere in the back of my brain-file and hadn't thought another thing about it until that mention.

I stopped by the favorite store... S. Burke, and gleefully asked about the velveteen pumpkins when the clerk offered to help me. Much to my dismay, she looked confused as the dickens...

"Velvet pumpkins? Hmmm, sweetie... I don't think that's us...."

Sigh. I'd gotten my hopes up for a Thanksgiving tablescape to rival the queen's and now the clerk had let me down. Was I doomed to another pumpkin-patch-less year? No!

Being 100% stubborn, I decided to take the velvet pumpkin issue to the next level. I dug out instructions from the magazine I'd saved for this exact moment. I spent hours and hours making a pumpkin patch one Saturday (ok--- maybe 2 Saturdays and the following Sunday night). At last, my table has a lovely little pumpkin patch that makes me smile.

Alas, sometimes I still falter. I showed this velveteen pumpkin picture to my friend, Dana and the first thing out of her mouth was ... Hmm...The stem looks a little phallic doesn't it?

We'll see what my extended family thinks on Turkey Day... at least I made myself happy!

Here's how to make your own pumpkin patch: Martha Stewart Velvet Pumpkins

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sarah P. Duke Gardens

This place did things to me... it rinsed my soul with sunlight and made time stand still for a few hours. I spent Saturday here on a quiet little bench sharing baguette, brie and fig-spread with my great friend, Junghyun. We've known each other since 3rd grade, and we caught up on 6 month's of stories. She's been sea-kayaking, running half-marathons and getting excited about the birth of a twin niece and nephew that came this week!

Monday afternoon I came back to her bench and I painted the view. This piece is a very traditional piece for me. The palette is decidedly fall in nature and it captures that warm autumn glow that is so very North Carolina. I could paint in Duke Gardens again and again.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A glimpse from the easel

In August, Dave and I celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary by taking a weekend trip to the beach! On Saturday morning, we devoured some challah bread and homemade blueberry jam from our sweet neighbor, Scotty, and then we headed over to Fort Fisher to see the trees.

The light was perfect-- it filtered through the gnarled and twisted branches in patches of sun and shade. I added my signature painterly colors and voila!... Fort Fisher Dance.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Lex Vegas

I finished "Evening in Lexington" last week. It began in February as a cold winter scene, and morphed into a warm summer evening as I worked on it through mid September.

Washington and Lee is still one of my favorite places in the world. Last December I traveled to Lexington to deliver some artwork and to work on a print project with Lee Chapel. It turned cold and snowy late one evening and Dave and I took some fun night pictures in the flurries before we met some friends for coffee and dessert. The final painting reminds me of the heady summers I spent in Lexington on a quiet brick campus with beautiful southern charm. I can almost hear the crickets and see the lightning bugs again.

Since my initial Savannah night painting called "La Boheme," I've been fascinated with the colors created by lights at night. In this piece, I began using a palette knife in addition to my brushes. It's got a painterly quality that I'm thrilled with! I enjoyed breaking away from my typical style for this piece. Shine on Lex-Vegas, shine on...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Franklin Street this Weekend

This one's for all my Carolina-fan friends and family. Go Tarheels! I used to cheer for anyone but Carolina, but I've had way too many friends and family members attend this school and fall in love with it to do that anymore.

This Sunday I'll be on Franklin Street once again for Festifall, Chapel Hill's annual downtown art festival. Come see my latest paintings along with this sweet little gem. I'll be there from 1-6 p.m. Sunday afternoon, rain or shine.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Loco for Coco

Ta da! Here's the latest painting from my studio-- at least the latest one that has had time to dry! I have been painting like a mad woman lately. I have lots of wet canvases in the studio and more paintings to post as soon as they're dry.

This piece is for the shop window at Loco for Coco gourmet chocolates in Greensboro! I've started working there on Tuesdays and Thursdays and I love it! Not only have I gotten to sample some mighty-fine chocolate confections, but I've also met lots of happy people coming in to choose their chocolate treats! It's a hard life, I tell ya...

Loco for Coco is celebrating their third birthday soon, so mark your calendars for Thursday, October 7 from 5-7 p.m. and come in to see my latest painting and to sample a chocolate martini! Yumm...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Today's inspiration: Robin Purcell

Meet Robin Purcell's Twisting Mountain 14 x 21... my inspiration today as I set out to paint from our Yellowstone trip. I love Robin's entire series of Mount Diablo. Would you believe this is a watercolor painting? She's re-created this in every season and every light. I hope she never tires of it because I love the way her mind works. Just look at all that clear beautiful color!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Monkey Quilt

(Above: D is super cute even when preggo! Below: She really liked her quilt!)
In April, we learned that our great friends, Diana and Kevin, are having a baby boy! He's due to arrive in October and we are still eagerly awaiting the birth announcement and the great news. For a while, I've wanted to try my hand at a quilt. Melissa Wheeler (yep you Melissa!) inspired me with her quilt way back in Savannah, and so I have been churning little ideas around in my head for nearly 2 years! In addition, my friend, Diana, is a pro when it comes to knitting sweaters and gifts. She's made me some of the most beautiful things that I have in my closet, so I wanted to make her something super special too!

This summer, I had my chance to put my sewing machine where my mouth was! Diana and Kevin decorated their nursery with a jungle theme, and they've been referring to their little boy as their little monkey.... hence the little monkey quilt. I poked around online and found a few cute monkey quilts and fabrics. I ordered some Moda sock-monkey fabric from, and then added in other patterns and colors as needed. For the back of the quilt I used a soft light green minky fabric. The best part was piecing together a happy little monkey on the front. I used remnants from my fabric tote and came up with a silly but super-cute monkey with his arms raised. Unfortunately, I didn't take a close-up picture of the monkey--- but you can still see it in the pictures.

The quilt took me FOREVER, but it was a joy to make and it was so fun to complete. I didn't know how to bind a quilt, so I stitched the front and back together like a pillow, turned them inside out and then top-stitched around the border. It's not a perfect quilt, but it's a quilt made with love and made to be loved! Enjoy!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Goodbye Summer!

Where did it go? It's so cliche that I don't even want to say it, but it's true... time flies.

This summer I've watched two friends marry and another two get pregnant, taught an art camp and many art lessons, made my first quilt, baked a mean blueberry galette, applied for and been rejected by 4 teaching jobs, hiked in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, bought a dream house with Dave, moved for the 8th time in 4 years, and applied to grad school (3rd time's the charm). Where did it go?--- all that sweet summertime?

I find myself landing in September slightly baffled at how this seems to happen every single year. Shall I say it? Maybe this is NORMAL?
Life is always such a mix of joy, speed, sweat, hard work, love and even disappointment. Stir it all together in one big 90 degree pot of June, July & August and we'll call it a great summer.

I have not painted nearly enough-- or blogged for that matter. But I'm getting back into it. I started a fun still life of truffles for Loco for Coco. It's nearly finished. I'm also working on a giant painting of Lee Chapel and Lexington at night. I'll probably re-do the entire thing and make it pointillism. There's also a pile of images from Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons that I need to sort through and paint. Onward and upward-- to the next challenge we go

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Painting with the POPS

Every Tuesday morning, a magical thing happens around the triad. A group of about 10 lovely painters meets up at various spots to practice painting en plein air. I have had the pleasure of joining these artists several times this summer, and in the process I have found some AMAZING spots and met some AMAZING people. The first spot was a vineyard near Winston Salem. It made me feel like I was in Italy again! The second spot was a daylilly farm-- complete with an old farmhouse built in 1860. This week we're going to some gardens closer to Greensboro and I can't wait.

Here are some images from the past group paints. At the daylilly farmhouse, I ended up giving my painting to one of the property owners. He just loved the painting and I felt like a total champ.

Monday, July 5, 2010


What is it about fireworks? They never fail to make my heart race and put a grin on my face. The painting above was done by Cullen Justice in my art class a few days before the fourth. He painted his favorite family memory complete with his dad grilling hot-dogs on the girl.
Here are some of my own favorite memories from past independence days.

2009 at Uncle David's beach house-- watching fireworks from top-deck and seeing them all up and down the coastline for miles and miles.

2007 Driving over the Talmadge bridge in Savannah and timing it just perfectly so that we could see the fireworks over River St.

2004 Working at the A-Bar-A- Ranch in Wyoming. The kids counselors put up flags and banners around the pool side and then put barbecue sauce on what seems liked 100 pounds of ribs and chicken wings. We worked hard all day long, but at 9 p.m., when the fireworks started, we all laid back on our blankets outside of the ranch and watched a spectacular fireworks show right overhead. That same summer, my girlfriends and I snuck out of our cabins at midnight with thermoses of spiked hot-chocolate and watched a meteor shower as we sang the entire soundtrack to Dirty Dancing.

My favorite fourth of July memory ever...2006: Dave and I had just started dating and we returned home from our first road-trip together. Over the weekend, we saw a space shuttle launch at the cape, and then ate ridiculously large cheeseburgers in Daytona beach, Fla. We arrived back in Savannah just around 8:45 p.m.-- 15 minutes before the fireworks started on the river front. Racing over cobblestones and bricks in our flip-flops, we high-tailed it down Bull St. and made it just in time to watch the grand finale. It was hot, sweaty, and wonderful.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Strawberry Gelato

With strawberries in season, I couldn't help but try this quick and easy recipe for strawberry gelato. It was the perfect sensation of tangy and sweet and delightfully smooth and cold! Here goes:

1 lb. fresh strawberries
1.5 cups granulated sugar
1.5 cups cold whipping cream
1.5 cups cold water
dash of lemon juice

Clean and cut washed berries into quarters. Put berries, sugar and water into blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add a dash of lemon juice. Add the cold whipping cream and blend until recipe thickens slightly (consistency of buttermilk). Put the mix in an ice cream maker and freeze for 25-30 minutes or until perfect!

The recipe suggested adding 2Tbs. vodka to keep the ice-cream from freezing too hard after you put it in your freezer. I tried it and it worked like a charm! If you're not planning to eat your gelato right away, I'd suggest doing this to keep it soft enough to scoop later on.

This recipe is great by itself, but even more delicious when used as an ice-cream cake filling.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Tilapia Salad that satisfies like a T-bone

You'll never believe me until you try it yourself. This salad may be the best meal that I've ever made. I stumbled on it by accident, but I know for sure that it's going to be a staple in my recipe book for the rest of my life. The picture may not look great but I promise it's delish! You say you don't really like fish? Neither does my husband... but he LOVES this! Try it!

The best salad I've ever made

2 Tilapia fillets

1 large lemon juiced and zested

1 medium shallot (diced finely)

1 can mandarin orange wedges

1/2 clove garlic minced

salt & pepper to taste

romaine lettuce, torn into salad pieces

1/4 cup slivered almonds (toast on stove top with a tsp. of butter and sugar)

dried cranberries



olive oil (or blood orange infused olive oil if you want extra credit)

Step 1: Partially assemble dressing: Mix lemon juice (2-3 Tbs), zest, shallot, salt, pepper, and about 6 orange wedges. Whisk together, crushing oranges and releasing juice. Pour half the mixture over the fish fillets and keep the other half for the dressing.

Step 2: Add additional salt/pepper to fillets if needed. Add the 1/2 clove garlic and set aside to marinate 20-30 minutes.

Step 3: Finish dressing: Add 1 tablespoon mayo to the dressing mixture, whisk until creamy. Then drizzle in olive oil while you whisk until dressing reaches desired consistency-- should be similar to creamy ranch dressing.

Step 4: Assemble salad: Prepare salad plates with romaine lettuce, toasted almonds, cranberries and the rest of the mandarin orange wedges. Set aside until fish is ready.

Step 5: Finish fish: Remove fillets from marinade and set marinade juice aside for later. Rub fillets with a small amount of mayo (1/2 tsp each) and then dredge them in the breadcrumbs until coated. Heat olive oil in pan on medium to medium-high and then sear fish 2-3 minutes per side until cooked. After you've started searing the second side of the fish, toss in the leftover marinade and cover-- it will add some steam and a nice flavor.

When the fish is ready, place one fillet on top of each salad, give it a squeeze of lemon juice and then drizzle your finished dressing on top. Delicious!

This is a Katie original!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Vivid Fog

Oh it's been a while! April flew by and now we're rounding the corner into June...

My big weekend was only a week ago, but it feels like months. The Vivid Fog opened in Asheboro with a wonderful crowd. Somehow all the paintings were hung beautifully, the paint was dry, cookies were baked, and we even managed to have some real fog via dry ice! I was so happy with everything! I saw lots of people from my Asheboro days and some more new friends from Greensboro too. Four paintings sold at the opening, and since then I've heard that two more have found new homes too!

Emma, aka the greatest helper in the world, came to the show early and helped arrange the "poetry-ee's" with Hollis.

Here I am with my friend Carla. She and her husband, Toaster, took some of these awesome pictures.

And here I am again with my friend, Hollis. She helped me SO much with this show and I am grateful to her! She took the rest of these awesome pictures.

After the opening, Dave and I scarfed down some pizza with my parents at The Flying Pig, a new establishment in A-town. I was impressed! Even better than that part-- I ran into about 4 people that I graduated with (nearly 10 years ago!). They all looked the same, which is fabulous because it means we haven't aged a bit since we were 18!

After pizza at "the pig," we hopped in the car and drove to Raleigh for the night. Artsplosure festival was the next day, and even more paintings and giclee prints sold there! I was completely impressed with the festival. The artists there had really beautiful things and the show ran like butter! I'll most certainly be back. Speaking of butter, I'm off to bake a cake for Dave's birthday-- which is tomorrow!

Bright and early at Artsplosure 2010!