the art and world of kathleen murphy


Updated: Jan 30, 2020

I'm pretty sure I've started and stopped a blog no less than fifty times in the last year and a half or so. It's one of those things I've wanted to do for a long time; I've written it down in my planner countless times, I've set up the general format....annnnd I just had too much else to do to finally get to it. I've been granted enough free time now that PPC has moved to a warehouse with my amazing shipping and packing team, and I can maybe write a blog post every week now to just talk to you. I wanted a way to reach out to you beyond a ridiculously long Facebook post, or a 15 second Instagram video so that you can get to know me and my art just a little bit more.

My work desk (it's actually under piles of paper and artwork right now but this was when it was clean)


As many of you know, I've been working on my first children's book. I can't say too much right now, but the process alone has been equally exciting and stressful. I suffer from imposter syndrome, a result of years of believing and being told that an artist in today's world would end up starving or working in a coffee shop. I'm humbled every day by friends and strangers who support and love for my work, and they helped break the mould created by family, teachers and struggling artists who *swore* there'd be no future for me if I went forward with this. I honestly don't want to give advice for someone that wants to start out; I'm still a student, I'm still learning from my mistakes, and I'm absolutely not an expert in my field. The most I can say is I've succeeded through failure, and my work has helped carry me through the tough times. Just think outside the quadrilateral parallelogram. But as Charlie Mackesy says "Look how far we've come". However, if there was ever a book title for the first year I opened PPC it undoubtedly would be "Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum".

So while working on this book, I have recreated the paintings no less than three times a piece--some of my best work to date will probably live in the dark drawers of my studio for a long time. I spend a few hours a week sitting in the Barnes and Noble children's section, studying, researching, getting weird stares over the piles of children's books around me...wondering why I would deserve to be on the shelves. It's an exhausting and constant battle with myself that I also believe is necessary in producing quality work. For the record, I make no real efforts to bury those negative emotions. Sadness, horror, defeat, death all have given rise to some of the most extraordinary art in human history.

Recently though, there was a book I picked up that had such a profound effect on me that I feel it deserves a place in every person's home library, for adults and children alike. I've had it living on my nightstand for two weeks now and every night I read a few pages again, and again. I've always believed less is more, and this book encompasses so much wisdom and understanding in just a few words and pictures.

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy

I bawled my eyes out when reading this short book for the first time. Something deeply rooted in me seemed to finally give way after festering inside me for years. I think there were things I should have been told a very long time ago that I wasn't; it could have drastically changed my self perception and how I handled conflict and dark times. There is something in here for everyone, and the accolades are well deserved.


I've been creating a sketchbook/scrapbook to profile my characters, create the story and build a world outside of the book. It holds clippings of palettes, neoclassical art, scribbles of thoughts for who I want my characters to be. It's a very similar project to my high school IB Art Class (literally a class I expected to not only have the highest grade in, but also my #1 blow-off class). Every painting we did required a corresponding profile in that sketchbook, with research into the style of art, color palette, history etc. I've almost always marched to the beat of my own drum, so naturally I didn't do that (I nearly scraped by high school), and just sketched what I wanted. At the end of the year I was made an example of by the actual IB examiner from Europe to the class below mine for a "what not to do" session. My genius logic was "pfffft, I'm a natural at this art thing so that should be enough to get me an A, or at least B-".

I'm paraphrasing, but his speech went along the lines of "this was the best technical artist in the class but I almost had to fail her because she didn't follow the rules". I had completely ignored the fact that the sketchbook was worth 60% of the grade. The lesson succeeded in shutting down the last ounce of teenage arrogance I had left in me. Side note: this was after he purchased one of my paintings from the exhibit. Lot of mixed signals here 😐.

Moral of the story...this sketchbook/scrapbook thing is still more useful than a parallelogram.

The colors I used for scrapped paintings. The new palette is a secret for now.

A grisaille study. Not book related,

just wanted to study light and shadows.

H' did I do? I hope you enjoyed reading this and...I guess I'll see you somewhere in the social stratosphere ;) For subscribers, please wait for a newsletter for our reopening day. We have some inserts listed for download right now but still have some work to do for our physical items in the back of the house.

All my love,


79 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All