OH! The possibilities.

I have been doing a little bit of artistic soul searching and along with it, I have been exploring the world of podcasts! I came across Alyson Stanfield’s Art Biz Podcast and as of right now the episode of note for me was about knowing what ideas are worth pursuing.  If you haven’t already had a chance to check out Alyson’s blog or podcast, I highly recommend it!


Alyson The Art Biz Coach

Find out more about Alyson here

In the episode I am talking about Alyson talks with Cynthia Morris about why having too many ideas is detrimental to your success as an artist.  This rang a lot of truth for me, and I think it motivated me to come closer to nailing down exactly what it is that I am trying to accomplish THIS YEAR in my art.

height_90_width_90_Cover-ArtBizPodcast   Check Out Alyson’s Podcast!

The points from the episode that stuck with me:

Having too many ideas that go no where and not enough output makes you lose focus, direction, time, and ultimately, self respect.

When you are addicted to the feeling you get when ‘Anything is Possible` you stray from the nitty gritty that goes into turning ideas and possibilities into finished products.  In order to avoid this, you need to cultivate only those ideas that keep that sense of possibility alive in you.

All ideas need a place to live; even the slush that you won’t be validating right away. Create an idea bucket.

The way to avoid constantly going back to zero, constantly asking yourself ‘what am I doing’, constantly having to make decisions –  is goal setting (normally I hate goal setting rhethoric, but the way these two ladies put it made it seem more attainable.. more like setting a direction and less like the one track minded vapid self cheerleading GO ME GO mindframe that comes from most self-help drivel!

After figuring out what it is you are trying to accomplish overall in your work, narrow it down to what you are trying to accomplish this year, or this month: use these statements to validate your ideas (if it doesn’t help you get toward your yearly or overall goal, put it in the bucket and come back to it later).

With all this in mind I did a little brainstorming to figure out what it is that I want to be working on this year:

-Developing my style

-Finding which mediums best work for me and my style

-Building a body of work

-Creating series of work

-Building up my own references (this is a big one, I must stop sketching and painting from pictures I find on the internet… I always ask permission from the photographer, but it isn’t doing me any good to keep pulling from outside my own environment if I truly want to connect to my subject matter)

-Working up to large scale works of art (I find it much easier to do a smaller piece, and I would like to eventually branch out and stay committed to a subject enough to fill a canvas that is bigger than 8 x 10.)

-Cultivate a list of heroes: I would like to learn more about art history so that I can start to find those artists who I admire, and to know them is to know myself because I have an actual reason for liking their work besides the fact that they are famously known.

As such, I have divided my ideas into two categories:

Studies and Compositions.

What started out as a study in oil pastels, actually helped me determine that I would like to explore the oil pastel medium in greater detail! So I am glad to already be making a wee bit o progress. See below for a study, that I think carries over nicely into my compositional category.


As a concluding note: I am acknowledging formally that I am in fact addicted to Possibility. I have a problem, and I intend to seek help. 🙂

A little validation goes…

a long way! —

So excited to share that my painting – Delft Segovia – was selected to appear in Ottawa’s Art House Café Summer Exhibition!

This, needless to say, has provided me with more than a little encouragement to continue on my quest to keep on keeping on through my explorations in creating artworks I can be proud of and share – work that communicates my love for the beauty of nature. It goes up on the Art House Café walls early in June! Stay tuned for updates, as I will be getting an invite to their Summer 2017 Art Opening to celebrate with the other selected artists!

Kara Evelyn-McNeil 03

Such good news that I am so very grateful for! – Today, I feel like a true artist.

my new love..

I have a crush, and it is going to be incurable. Tamara de Lempicka, I wish you were alive and that we were friends.


You Me and Meggie would live life on the fringe together. Meggie would reign us in when need be. We would paint and laugh and drink and wander to wonderful places. We would consider all things beautiful but be choosey about what subjects were fancy enough to render. We would partake of the food .. and anything else we liked.   I wonder if you were alive, would you want to paint me? Would I have to beg?


About Tamara de Lempika:

well-known portrait painter with a distinctive Art Deco manner.

“The galleries began to hang my work in their best rooms, always in the middle, because my painting was attractive. It was precise. It was ‘finished.'”

-Tamara de Lempicka


she painted portraits of writers, entertainers, artists, scientists, industrialists, and many of Eastern Europe’s exiled nobility.


she was not secretive about her sexual preferences (well documented bisexual woman who divorced two men and preferred women)

I live life in the margins of society, and the rules of normal society don’t apply to those who live on the fringe.

— Tamara de Lempicka


De Lempicka was never a consistent painter. As with many ruthless people, her swagger could give way to a strain of awful mawkishness (She did everything from nudes, still life to abstracts).


The artist pioneered a new vision of life in respect to the new and self-confident woman, changing aspects of femininity and masculinity. Not only did the artist paint portraits of modern women, she lived like one herself.


For a long time, she was involved with the celebrated night-club singer Suzy Solidor, whom she also portrayed in the nude. That portrait, one of Lempicka’s best. I have been told celebrity singer, Madonna is a collecter of de Lempicka’s work


The biography about her is called ”Passion by Design” and I fully intend to buy it, consume it and become it….


Pretty = Easy!

If ever you have been in a place or state of mind where you are looking to explore artistically but unsure of where to start, and a little uneasy about colouring outside of the lines, I can say safely that this is not a path you need forge through all by your lonesome. Many artists have been there before, and the key is to find ways to make creativity a little easier on yourself.

I often feel at odds with the mediums I use to express myself. I have been trying my hand at watercolour, and because it is so unpredictable, I wanted to figure out a way to play around with it in such a way that I could also control the outcome.

A great way I found is to give yourself what I like to call controlled freedom. This is like a safety net of sorts within the watercolour medium which gives yourself some boundaries, or, in essence,  you are creating for yourself a colouring book page where when water spills over the edge and outside the lines, it looks like a cool effect rather than a messy mistake!

Here is a handy video to get you started on this technique. Eventually, once you are comfortable, you can forget about the boundaries and lay down colour without the safety.

What you will need:

Watercolour paper — I am using Strathmore 140 lb  6×9

Watercolour paints – for experimental stuff like these, I would suggest using paint in pans.

An ink marker — Micron’s don’t smudge!

A reference photo

Fresh water and some of your favourite brushes.

(Pretty Easy, eh?)


Blank Canvas Giveaway Draw!

Enter to win a free 3 x 3 oil on canvas,

Kara Evelyn-McNeil original painting  by

commenting on or following this blog

“The sky is a canvas, so paint your own life.”
Jada Berglund


All who comment on this post or follow this blog will be entered into my first ever blank canvas giveaway draw!

Details:  I have a few blank mini canvas’ laying around McEvil Fine Art Studio. So I decided the best way to make some room for more art supplies was to start giving some of my stuff away! – Winner gets to choose subject matter to be painted on a mini, black 3×3 canvas. At the winner’s request, I will paint flowers, teacups, birds, trees, a mini landscape, portrait, etc – you name it, I will paint it and send if off to you in the mail!

For your chance to win 1 of 2 giveaway prizes, please comment below!

For example, you can comment by answering this question:  What would you put on a blank canvas?

I cried over a sketch.

This weekend and start to the week has not been my greatest, creative to mood ratio wise. I have avoided sketching over my lunch break, and at home in favour of good tv backlog, I’ve been steadily avoiding an oil painting that I fear might go unfinished if I overlook it any longer. Oh yeah. And at art class… i cried over my inability to apply myself when measuring out the parts of my subject. Im pretty sure Bob now thinks I am a weeny (but he told me that I was being too hard on myself… so perhaps he might forget about it, and has seen other people cry over less in his studio?) — It really revealed to me just how much I care about becoming a good artist (not just an okay one, but one who has to put effort and skill into what they are doing, one who composes! one who toils… one who has vision and requires mastery to accomplish that vision….. )

To recount the events leading up to my tears….

I went to my usual saturday class with Bob, and for the 2nd week in a row, I have been sitting in front of this gawdawful bunny rabbit — Bob’s rite of passage piece, as it would seem (a few people in the class shook their head at me when seeing what I was drawing, and actually offered me their condolences…like actually)


Everyone at this point in Bob’s curriculum must draw the exact likeness of the above awful hell demon bunny….. . I tried last week, I did poorly. But I wasn’t upset…yet

bunny of horrors

I left class that week confident that it was just an issue of being focused, and that I would try the next week, and force myself to concentrate.

even more horrific bunny of shame…

and then next week came, and I tried again, and it started out okay…. it got increasingly worse as the 2 hour class wore on. I started out drawing the simple shapes from large to small, adjusting, cleaning it up, plumb lines, mirror, standing back…. but then when I got into the measuring … everything came crashing down around me…… measuring is a dirty word. It makes me upset, because I was such a math-o-phobic child and teenager. I know now that it wasn’t the drawing that was bothering me… it was the negative self talk that was getting to me… saying “I can’t measure, I shouldn’t try to measure, if I measure I will get it wrong because I am bad at measuring….I must find an alternative to this measuring issue etc”

and then I proceeded to cry in front of Bob, as he showed me once more, how to properly measure…. ugh. I was wiping my wet little nose along my sleeve like a toddler …. At least I know in hindsight what it is that is getting in my way now. Art is more therapeutic than I realized.

If I can show my face at Bob’s studio again, I will need to try hard to ignore my anxiety. Play it down in my head and see the drawing for what it is… (It is just a sketch Kara, not rocket science, and measuring isn’t so hard when you stop drudging up the past and all that you associate with math and measuring and teachers and learning and miles upon minutes and years upon yards of wasted moments thinking about what is behind you (I had some pretty bad teachers growing up, and Bob is not a bad teacher).

Moving on…. next week, I will ask Bob if I can draw a complicated shape that is not the bunny (with its ridiculous taunting buck toothy smile)

And what is on my easel this week, you ask?


a beautiful bouquet of flowers my mom sent me for my birthday

(that I didn’t bother measuring…. )