advice from an artist on choosing interior colors

My sister just bought a new home and was agonizing about interior paint colors, as are many people. In the spring a lot of us want to freshen up the look of our homes with a new coat of paint. But how do you make a choice that you won’t be sorry about?

When most people think of warm and cool colors, they think of yellows and reds as warm and blues and greens as cool. The fact is there are warm and cool tones to every color. Warm tones will make a room look smaller as the walls will seem closer, while cool colors recede, making a small room look much larger. Warm colors tend to look as if the sun is shining on them, and cool colors give a feeling of the night, shadow or distance. Let’s take yellow and blue as two examples.

You probably don’t want mustard yellow on your walls, but for comparison I am using a couple of extremes. If you placed a square of mustard yellow and another one of lemon yellow side by side on the wall, the mustard (warm) would look like it was much closer to you than the lemon (cool) yellow one. The same is true about cerulean (warm) blue and ultramarine (cool) blue. It is the cool and warm tones that give a painting depth and three-dimensionality. It is also what will make your room feel larger or smaller.

First you want to choose a color that you actually like and will compliment your furnishings. I would recommend putting the paint samples next to your artwork to make sure the mattes and images work well with the wall color. Neutrals (all shades of white, cream, tan and greens) are easy to live with and decorate around. Once you decide on a color, ask the paint store expert to find a cool tone of that color to make your room seem larger. or a warm tone if you want a cozy look. Always hold the warm and cool samples side by side and you will easily be able to see which one looks like it is closer and which one seems farther away.

#spring #home #house #realtor #realestate #homeowner #paint

Lake geneva – a.k.a. Hamilton harbour

A brief history of our bay by Kathryn Smith

“Carroll’s Point” is available online at

The history of Hamilton Harbour goes back far beyond our memories or any recorded history. In the early 1600s it was noted by Jesuit Missionaries that tribes of North American Indians fished the bay all year long, catching several species of fish. The first recorded visit was by Rene-Robert Cavelier de La Salle who left Montreal in 1669 in search of the Ohio River and a new route to China. The area on the Burlington shore now bears his name with a plaque. 100 years later white men had settled along the bay and a visiting Englishman named Peter Campbell wrote about this body of water that the settlers had named ‘Lake Geneva’. “Six miles one way and five the other” Lake Geneva was land-locked.

By the end of the War of 1812, Lake Geneva was known as Hamilton Harbour, but was not an important shipping port due to the inaccessibility of the bay for large sailing vessels. In 1831 the Beach Canal was opened up and fifteen years later had to be widened and deepened to allow larger ships to enter. By 1850 yachting was a popular activity on the bay, with several boat builders setting up business along the shore. In 1860 Hamilton got its Yacht Club and was gaining popularity as an important port of call.

With the founding of Stelco in 1910 and Dofasco two years later, Hamilton was now a major shipping port. In 1912 the government instilled the Hamilton Harbour Commission to oversee the ships coming into Hamilton’s Harbour. Ships laden with iron ore, raw materials, merchandise, food and textiles were welcomed. As a major port of entry to Canada, immigrants looking for a better life arrived in droves from England, Scotland and Europe, bringing with them architects, masons, stone cutters and many other skilled laborers. These English and European settlers would become the backbone of this beautiful and historic city.

Did you know?

Hamilton was the first city in Canada to build a public library.

Hamilton was the first city in Canada to  have electric lights in its downtown core.

At one point in time, Hamilton had more live theatre venues per capita than any other city in Canada – these even included a Grand Opera House that seated 1,169 patrons.

Paintings and prints of Hamilton can be viewed and purchased online at 

Art is an extension of your image

Art is an extension of your corporate image. It is often one of the first things a client sees when entering your reception area. What does your art say about You? Does it welcome your clients and make them feel comfortable? Or does it simply fill up some empty wall space?

I have been into several businesses that have multi-million dollar clients, and as I walk through the door, the first thing I see is a huge canvas on a focus wall. Often this ‘canvas’ is actually plastic, evident to anyone who appreciates art. Poorly stretched and lacking any depth, the image is often just a splat of color to match the office decor or rug, or a giant flower or other meaningless item; a cheap purchase from some big-box home décor store . Whatever the image, it usually has nothing to do with the business, area or type of client that they service.

I once went into a plastic surgeon’s office and there, in prominent view was a giant, framed poster… of fruit being tortured! It was comprised of citrus fruit, bananas and apples, embedded with nails, screws and spikes. If I was a prospective patient, I would have run – not walked – out of there. I told the doctor as much. He said that he had simply hung it up there because a patient had given it to him. At this point, you have to wonder what kind of experience the patient had, but more importantly, why did the doctor feel he had to hang it and compromise his practice. He did take it down and inevitably decided to re-do his office with beautiful black and white images of women, done in simplistic line drawings that did not look like anyone in particular, but evoked a subtle, soft beauty in its lines and ambiguity.

I know of several dentist that have my images of Hamilton and Burlington hanging in their waiting rooms. They know that many of their patients are on edge and want them to feel as stress-free as possible. Images of familiar places and happy memories accomplish this. Psychologists know this. According to Dr. Craig Knight, a psychologist who studies working environments, “If you enrich a space [with art work] people feel much happier and work better” which is an added bonus for your business. In a recent article in Forbes Magazine, a survey of more than 800 employees working for 32 companies throughout the U.S. that have workplace art collections, found that 78% of employees believed that the artwork reduced stress and 64% cited that it increased creativity.

“View Over Sam Lawrence Park”

Where do you start? First, the general rule is: ‘fit the spirit of the company’. What do you want your art to say about you and your business? Second, what message do you want to send to your clients? Are most of your clients locally based or more global? These are some general guidelines to focus on. After that, decide what you personally like. Art is like wine: it is subjective and truly is ‘in the eye of the beholder’.

Kathryn Smith is an artist and writer.

Protein coffee – vegan style

Each day millions of North Americans start their day with nothing more than a coffee for fuel. You can easily turn you favourite brand of home made coffee into a delicious, creamy tasting cup of protein and Medium Chain Triglycerides with my super-easy recipe.

Your favourite coffee packed with protein and MCT.


1 1/2 Cups of your favourite brewed coffee

! scoop (heaping tablespoon) of plant based Pea Protein Powder (available at health food stores)

1 Teaspoon of Coconut Oil

1/4 Teaspoon of Vanilla

Add all ingredients to a blender, or use a blender stick, and whip for 15 seconds until frothy. Top with cocoa powder, cinnamon or organic sweetener (stevia, agave, maple syrup) to taste.

This delicious, barista style hot coffee contains approximately 18 grams of protein and  the MCTs from the coconut oil have many health benefits, along with adding a rich, creaminess.




Kathryn's Potato Salad

Warm, summer days and evenings are the perfect time to make nutritious, make-ahead dishes for family and friend get-togethers. Everyone who tries my potato salad wants this recipe. I have 3 secret ingredients and those are: Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar –  the vinegar gets absorbed into the potatoes, leaving behind the wonderful apple taste. Smoked Paprika (I use President’s Choice brand) -this gives the potato salad a distinctive smoky taste without using bacon and is a wonderful compliment in taste to the Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, and lastly:  Pumpkin Seed Oil, which is thick and black  with an earthy scent and flavor.


10 med yellow or redskin potatoes, scrubbed and cut up with the skins left on

4 med carrots cut into bite-sized pieces

1 large red onion

6 eggs -I use farm eggs only for their superior taste and nutrition

Steam or boil potatoes with 1/4 of red onion, chopped up. When half cooked, add the carrots and remove from heat when potatoes are cooked, but still firm.

Meanwhile, hard boil the eggs and cut up and fry the remaining 3/4 red onion.

In large bowl, combine:

3/4 Cup real mayonnaise

1/4 Cup Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar

1 tsp salt (that’s REAL salt as in Maras; Himalayan; etc. – NOT table salt which is just sodium)

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill

1 tsp Smoked Paprika

2 tsp Pumpkin Seed Oil

10 roughly chopped Gherkin pickles

Fried onions

Add to this mixture the chopped eggs and cooked potatoes/carrots/onion

Toss well and serve warm or cold.

*added tip:  A lot of the nutrients in root vegetables are stored right under the skin, so I seldom peel these. Instead, scrub them in tepid water with a large splash of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar added to the water to kill any bacteria that might be present! 




Key #2: Dream BIG

keys to successThere is a line from a song in ‘South Pacific’ that goes:  “You got to have a dream.  If you don’t have a dream; how you gonna’ have a dream come true?”

But how BIG is your dream?

Dreams and Goals are much the same thing.  The goal is what you are working towards and the dream is the vision of that accomplishment.  This is the area where the majority of people make what to me is their biggest mistake:  their dreams are too small. They only dream about what they feel is achievable, and you never get more than you believe you can have. From the time I was six years old, I knew that I was going to be an artist. I didn’t just ‘hope’ it; I knew it! So it came as no surprise to me when I started to make my living as an artist that I would be successful. It seemed like the natural progression to me.

How many people are working towards a goal, but don’t know WHY they want it? For me, becoming a well-known artist encompassed my entire lifestyle: I wanted to work from home, have a lot of free time to spend with my dog, do something that I loved and live my dream. How many people have a dream of making a million dollars, but don’t really know why they want it? What is that million dollars for? What would you do with it? First decide what you really want and then add up how much money you would need to accomplish your goal. You might need more or less. Sadly, few people dream of their perfect house and the place that they want to live and the exact car that they want to have?  Most people have a much smaller amount in mind because they can’t see how they would get a million dollars and therefore, the house and car that they envision are very ordinary. And that means that the million dollars is just a dream; not a goal.

When you set your dreams in your mind, you don’t necessarily need to know how this will happen, but you do need to decide exactly what you want.  Just saying, ‘a lot of money’ or a ‘beautiful home’ is vague. Our minds do not work in vagueness.  Our minds work in intricate detail, so decide what you really want.  Exactly how much money do you want to make this year?  What does your new home look like, how is it furnished and where is it? Everything must make sense.  Don’t say that you expect to make a million dollars and then have a dream house that costs five million. Know your new net worth. As Tony Robbins puts it, “know your ‘why’. Know why you want that exact amount or the sport car.” Is it about how you will feel when you achieve it? Or is it something more?

Once you have your dream fully detailed in your mind, you have to commit it to paper, so that the visual image of your dream will keep your mind focused.  Make a ‘Vision Board’.  Your vision board can be a framed cork board or just a piece of cardboard with pictures pasted onto it.  Make it large enough to see the details of the life of your dreams, but keep it simple and uncluttered.  And there is nothing wrong with having more than one vision board.  You can devote one to just the wealth aspect of your life and another to a relationship or your health. These are specific to you.  In novelty stores you can buy fake million dollar bills and you can find thousands of images of all most anything on the Internet. Magazines are still a good source for pictures to cut out and pin onto your vision board.

Now start living your dream life in your mind. Be congruent. Don’t schlep around like a slob, while picturing yourself a millionaire. Get up, clean up and dress up. Live the part and imagine that you are already there. What does your body language say about you? Everyone can describe a depressed person; they bend forward slightly, walk slowly with their eyes cast down. So, don’t be that person! Stand up straight, walk with purpose as if you are going somewhere (both literally and figuratively). Greet people with your eyes and smile. When you wake up; get up. Stretch. Do some breathing exercises and get moving. Amazingly you will start to turn both your body and your mind around for the better.

Carpe diem,


Key #1: Who Am I and Why Am I Here?

keys to successYou may think you know yourself; but do you really?

You are a lot more than your name and your heritage and your body. You are a spiritual being, living in a body that is unlike anyone else’s on earth.  You are a unique one-of-a-kind person and you have a valuable place here on earth.  But before you can decide what you want to do or become or have, you have to get in touch with yourself and know who you are.

If you are going to stretch out and become the best that you can be and give the most of yourself that you have to offer the world, then decide what that is.  What do you like to do?  What are you good at? What are your strengths? If you are unsure, try asking those close to you.  They will probably start suggesting character traits and capabilities that you didn’t even know that you had.   Now, write them all down and see which ones stand out and which ones complement each other or can be grouped together.  I think the one universal quality is that everyone wants to be of help to someone or something else, so don’t be vague and just list ‘helping people’.  Be specific in the area that you would like to help.  Now align this with something that you are good at.  Be creative here.  List more than just one or two ideas.  I found that by using my artistic talents and love of old architecture, along with some common sense marketing strengths, I was able to start a print collection of the history of the city that I live in.  I discovered that my memories were everyone else’s memories.  I was doing something that I loved; something that made a lot of people happy; and that I made a good living at, while being able to work from home, have a lot of leisure time and spend most of my days with my dog.  All of these things were very important to me and on my list.  So don’t think it sounds stupid writing down “spending a lot of time with my dog”.  If it is important to you, jot it down.  And don’t let anyone else write or edit your list. It is yours alone.

So, like I said, when you have written everything down that you love and are good at, start grouping them together; sort of like a puzzle, and see what fits.  After you have grouped some of your strengths and favourite activities, start listing some ways that you would be able to make money at them.  For example:  maybe you have a good vocabulary and can therefore write.  Is there something that would make an interesting book or guide?  Do you just love being a stay-at-home mom?  Add that to some skills, like organizing or a special approach and see what comes out of it.  Many women have started successful businesses out of a need for a special item that didn’t really exist until they made one for themselves.  Did you write ‘watching TV’ as one of the things that you love doing?  That’s OK too.  Start watching some shows like “Shark Tank” or “Dragon’s Den” and see what others are doing.  You just might get a spark of inspiration.

Sometimes you may find that there are things that you love, but don’t really go together.  That’s OK.  Sometimes there will be something that  you can’t see how it will ever fit into a career path or how you could ever make money at it, only to find that out of nowhere and no-how that you suddenly got a brilliant spark of an idea.  Many men and women have become multi-millionaires this way.  Remember, Andrew Carnegie was just a worker in a steel mill and went on to become one of the wealthiest men in America.  He often admitted that he did not know nearly as much about the steel industry as the men who worked for him.

Don’t let any old ideas stand in you way, such as:

  • you are too old to start over.  Colonel Saunders was 65 and living on old age security when he started going door to door, trying to sell his recipe for fried chicken.
  • you don’t have the education.  Diana Spencer was not a Kindergarten teacher when she met Prince Charles.  That was just a story that sounded better than the truth.  She was actually a high school drop-out whose marks were never that good.  She was in fact, an assistant to a Kindergarten teacher.  Initiative, creativity, endurance, and an unwavering belief in yourself are so much more important than years spent memorizing mostly useless data in our school system.  Just look at the accomplishments of academic drop-outs such as Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and Thomas Edison.
  • you don’t have the money.  Well, neither did I, so I talked my printer into trusting me and giving me 30 days to pay back the thousands of dollars for my first print.  Many people downsize their dreams to fit their bank account.  Instead, you should trust that you will find a way and that opportunities will open up to you.  What small step can you take right now that will start you in the right direction?
  • you don’t have the time.  Life can be full of pressure, but if you have a dream, you have to create a space for yourself.  We may not all have the same house, car or money, but we all get exactly the same amount of time.  We all get 24 hours in a day.  So, make sure you are not just getting caught up in the daily trivia of life.  What can you delegate or pay someone else to do that would create a space of time for yourself?

So, now that you are out of excuses, who are you and why are you here?


The Keys to Success and Happiness – Introduction

keys to success

While the writings in this blog are my own, I can’t take credit for the substance behind them.  That credit goes to many men and women, some long passed and others who are still living and helping others along their paths.  Some of these inspired thinkers and great minds are:  Andrew Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Bob Proctor, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Les Brown, Mary Morrissey, Earl Nightingale and Jack Canfield to name but a few.

I often get told how lucky I am to be living my dream.; and I am lucky.  I have made my living as an artist for 25 years and known some form of happiness every day.  But where did that luck come from and what is it?  To me, luck is a word that we use to describe an unseen force that creates a result that we have no explanation for.   So before you start to live your dream, you need to have in your mind a definition of what the words ‘success’ and ‘happiness’ mean to you.

To most people the word success means a lot of money.  But money is man-made; simply pieces of paper.  It is what those pieces of paper represent that is more important.  Start thinking of those pieces of paper as ‘freedom units’ or ‘lifestyle credits’.  On their own, they mean nothing.  It is the power they have to create a life of freedom to do whatever you want that gives them their power.  Now think again of what the word success means to you.  That is what you want to go after.  Make that your goal.

To achieve your goal, you have to keep it in your mind.  Bob Proctor suggests writing it on a card and carrying it with you at all times.  Take it out and look at it several times a day.  Paint that picture in your mind, down to the smallest details and keep it there.  This is your first lesson in shifting your mind towards achieving what you want in your life.

Now lets determine what happiness is and where it comes from.  Happiness is a feeling and that feeling is a choice that you get to make.  Every day when you wake up you get to choose if you want to be happy or sad.  If you are feeling sad, tell yourself that it is just temporary and work on a mind shift towards feeling more happy.  You could start this with feeling grateful for even the smallest thing in your life.  Feel grateful and happy that you woke up and that you can see.  Be grateful for your coffee-maker or your warm home.  Be grateful for your comfortable shoes.  Put on some happy music.  Hug your pet.  Go for a walk.  Do anything.  It is your choice, remember?



cranberry sauce

Remember when I said that all artists were good cooks?  This recipe is my own invention and since I view cranberry sauce as one of the main dishes, I make a lot of it.   Also, most cooks don’t measure therefore you might have to adjust the sugar to your own taste; okay… maybe the vodka too.

Cranberry Sauce recipe:

2 pounds of fresh cranberries

2 1/2 Cups of sugar

1/2 Cup Vodka

3/4 of a jar of St. Dalfour Kumquat marmalade

(if you are ambitious and you can get fresh kumquats you can make your own by chopping up a pound of kumquats and boiling them with grape juice and some sugar) if you can’t find either, substitute with orange/ginger marmalade.

In a pot, boil the vodka with the sugar until dissolved.  Add the cranberries and cook until they pop open (about 10 min).  Stir in the kumquat preserves and heat to boiling.  Remove from heat.  Let cool and store in the refrigerator.  YUM!  And remember:  the alcohol burns off so that you are just left with the flavour so the kids can eat it too.  …You were hoping that they would knock themselves out and you’d finally get some peace and quiet, weren’t you? 

Merry Christmas,



Santa Claus Parade

Today was the annual Santa Claus Parade in Toronto.  It was a perfect day for it – a bit nippy with just a few snowflakes.

Here is a bit of nostalgia and facts from the history of the parade.

  • It was sponsored by Eaton’s  and by 1950 the parade had grown to be the largest parade in North America.
  • In 1976 over 30 million people across North America watched the Santa Claus parade on TV.
  • In 1989 even the Soviet Union started airing the parade to viewers all across Russia!
  • This year (2014) marked the 110th anniversary of the parade and was the largest ever!

Speaking of Eaton’s, here is one of my Christmas prints, titled “Eaton’s Windows” by Kathryn Smith and available at my studio:  905-528-4197 or on my website at

Eaton's Windows C