Christmas Shopping In October: Daily Art Practice


Couch Talk

Here we are in the middle of October and I am astonished that the stores already have their entire Christmas department on display. I am forcing myself to ignore that section and walk-on. Usually they wait at least until Halloween is over but not this year.

I am not ready to switch to holiday planning and purchasing but we have started due to the shortage of workers throughout the country. I guess getting paid by the government to sit home on one’s couch is more satisfying than actually working for a paycheck, even if they make a little less. (I am referring to those that are physically capable of working) Almost every restaurant and retail store we have passed is advertising employment openings. Obviously, this will have a domino effect, impacting holiday postage.  I don’t want to be waiting for gifts to arrive in January so I am getting a head start. That is what I have been working on as of late. How about you?


PaperArtsy Guest Designer Post



I was recently over at PaperArtsy, sharing a mixed media post for the theme: Sustainable Crafting. Here is a sneak peek. You can see the whole project HERE.


Watercolor Shop Fronts


The first shop front today is home to two businesses, Kyushu Pancake and Face Bistro in Singapore. The menu at Kyushu Pancake looks delicious. They have a lot of interesting combinations that I would never think to order. It is difficult to see in this photo but I used a purple color for the awning. I rather like the color scheme, simple and pastel.  You can find the reference photo HERE.



The next building is the Chinese Druggist Association, housing a business called Druggist. I was surprised to read that Druggist is a restaurant, not a dispensary that sells herbs, medication or health related items. They are known for their craft beer. You can read a little about what they provide HERE.  Reference photo HERE. I wasn’t planning on putting all the detail in that I did but I felt the need to be true to the building. It feels a bit overwhelming to my eyes and I am thinking perhaps I should have left out the curtain of vines. I am still working on composition.



Parisian Food Study


I recently decided to start a study (among many) that would help me work on food illustration. I love researching things and I tend to spend too much time on the research phase and not enough on the actual work. I chose 10 famous bakeries in Paris, looked up pictures of their food and chose 3-5 that I wanted to paint. My goal is to create a spread for each bakery, painting a few of the pastries, the name of the shop all the while working on the composition/placement of each item.



BO & MIE is a Paris patisserie that has beautiful looking foods and interiors. As you can see, I chose and labeled 4 items that I found on their website/Instagram page.

While I was researching Paris, I was inspired by a blog that I found, Paris Breakfast, featuring all things Paris, including Audrey Hepburn. Growing up I LOVED all her movies, especially Funny Face and Sabrina. Feeling inspired, I decided to paint a few Audrey pictures.



Tea Day



I am joining the T day ladies, hosted by Elizabeth and Bleubeard. My tea today is Zest Tea Energy,High Caffeine Blend Pomegranate Mojito Green Tea. I was sent this tea by Zest Tea to review it. Zest tea advertises as having “3x the caffeine found in regular tea, No sugars, only natural ingredients and L-Theanine for all day, steady alertness.” After receiving this tea in the mail, I had a cup before dinner. I didn’t really feel a difference in the energy department so I am thinking I need to try this tea again when I feel really tired to see if it makes a difference. Personally, I don’t drink tea solely for the caffeine. I do find that I get a headache mid-afternoon if I haven’t had at least one cup of caffeinated tea but the majority of my tea nowadays is herbal.

Overall, the Pomegranate Mojito tea had a pleasant flavor. I definitely tasted the pomegranate but overall, I wasn’t a fan of high concentration of tea. Weak tea is disgusting but this tea was a little too concentrated for my tastes. I do like that it doesn’t contain sugars and is comprised of natural ingredients and I look forward to giving the other flavors a try. if you are looking for a natural coffee replacement, this might be the tea for you.


Happy Tea Day,


17 thoughts on “Christmas Shopping In October: Daily Art Practice”

  • Hi Kate, your art is always such a joy to view-I love seeing what you are painting.
    I am saddened as well that too many want the govt. to send them checks so they can stay home and be lazy.
    I love your tea choice this week Happy T wishes Kathy

  • I’ve picked up my husband’s and daughter’s major gift already, just because I don’t want to wait until January for those gifts either. I’m not sure if the labor shortages have to do with people sitting home on their couches or not, but this pandemic has certainly changed the world in so many ways. Where do you find all those cool buildings to draw? I like the pancake house. It is an interesting looking building. I don’t know if high caffeine tea is what I want to drink, but the pomegranate flavor sounds good.. Have a great T day Kate. And a nice week too. hugs-Erika

  • I just went over and checked out your page at Paper Artsy Kate. Wow. She is amazing. She looks so much like someone a French master would have created.. hugs again-Erika

  • I want that tarte framboise please! Beautiful – are you getting hungry for pastries while painting this lovely sweet food? I hear you about the Christmas stuff in stores – I try to ignore it. I don’t do much Christmas shopping anyway, my husband and I don’t give presents to each other anymore but enjoy some traveling instead.

  • Lovely artwork, Kate. I am always amazed when I look at the reference photo how close your work resembles it. You are so good and I always like looking at your artwork. In the mornings I drink a Celestial Seasoning Energy Tea that says it is as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. It wakes me up and I like the taste. Then after that first cup of tea I drink Earl Grey or Lady Grey or another like that. I think the extra caffeine helps me wake up. Happy T Day.

  • I wonder how kids still can look forward to Christmas. It´s nothing special anymore.
    As Easter – we get the stuff in January!

    Hmmmm, Cuba, Oh, I miss. Looks like Havana. We just visited shortly. Beautiful place. And the old, American cars everywhere, ohhhh….

    I love the umbrellas you painted. (No nagging I should try, I fell into a smashed bottle some stupid, drunk kids threw onto the pavement. It was still dark and they´d dragged a push-bike in the way, too. No painting here – I know you want to encourage me, but right now… not a chance.. still outch, only typing…)

    Beautiful portrait, too!
    The tea sounds interesting. Please tell if it works when being tired (I don´t like coffee).

    Happy T-Day!

  • The shortage of workers in retail and food service is mysterious, because economists don’t actually find that it’s caused by better benefits. In states where benefits were eliminated, people didn’t go back to those jobs (as they also didn’t in states with benefits). It seems that people have found more satisfying types of work than these rather unpleasant jobs, especially avoiding a return to the poorly paid and badly treated food service jobs. Our lives are going to change, whether we like it or not!

    Lovely art works as always.

    best… mae at

  • Kate, I am with you, ordering all my Christmas stuff now. The shortages are real.

    All your art is wonderful, but the food was my favorite. Yum. All of it looks so good. The buildings are all amazing.

    Your Mixed Media piece is fabulous as always.

    Happy T-day!

  • your painting is better every time I see something. The Singapore shops are beautiful. That dark window of the pancake place must have been really difficult. The mauve colour of the sunshade is beautiful.
    The Parisian goodies are very good too. You will be able to illustrate your own cookbook soon. Do you ever paint cakes or cookies that you have made yourself?
    Interesting to have a high caffeine tea. High caffeine seems to be all the fashion, but it’s not really good for you. Although you said you didn’t really feel much difference.
    Happy T-Day,

  • beautiful watercolor paintings again Kate. I especially am enjoying the shop front pieces. I agree with you on the first paragraph about working, and Christmas etc. Not ready to think about shopping- but then there are no little ones around in the family to think about .
    Sorry but I can’t do high caffeine tea. Two cups of coffee in the AM then I must switch to decafe herbal teas. Enjoy, and happy T day!

  • First, I love your art. Your reference photos show how good you are at recreating the images. You create stunning paintings, and your Paper Artsy entry was divine to see, too.

    Second, you OBVIOUSLY have never been a waitress, or you would not wonder why there is so much need for a wait staff. Waitress/waiter work is HARD. You are on your feet 8 to 9 hours a day. You never get to sit long enough to eat a meal, but must get up on occasion and finish with customers and clear your tables. You often eat a cold meal by the time you get back to it. NO amount of money will be enough for serving in some of these restaurants. Unless you work in a really high end restaurant, there’s going to be people who don’t want to go back to that kind of life. You couldn’t pay me enough to take a waitress job. Perhaps you might enjoy waitressing. I would NOT. When I was 18 and19, I had friends who were waitresses. Some even had to share tips unless they were given the tip specifically for them. I feel for the restaurants looking for experienced staff, but I also feel for the wait staff, too. Off my bandwagon now!

    Your tea sounds wonderful. I think I would enjoy it. I get headaches when I don’t have caffeine, so I can empathize. Thanks for sharing your beautiful watercolors, your Paper Artsy tutorial, and your lovely sounding tea you shared with us for T this Tuesday, dear Kate.

  • Kate you are such an incredible artist. You always surprise me with what you create. I too am not happy seeing Christmas in Oct. In fact the stores here started putting Christmas items out on Oct. 1. Really, can we get thought Halloween, and Thanksgiving? Oh well….. Wishing you a happy day.

  • Love your paintings, even though I’ve said that every time I see them! My dad was in Singapore in the War and one thing on his bucket list was to return there to see how much it had changed. I’m glad to say he managed it and was very pleased he did. I must admit to buying Christmas gifts all the year round…But I always for get what they are! I’m running very later so I’ll just say have a great T for Tuesday and keep on crafting! (Lyn)

  • Kaye your watercolours are beautiful,
    We give the family money as it’s too expensive on postage and even Amazon charge tax , I used to hate rushing around worrying what to buy, thankfully here apart from Christmas chocolates being on the shelves you don’t get the massive hype here although as the Spanish celebrate twice it goes on much longer, ha, ha
    Have a good week

  • Beautiful water color paintings. Your artwork is fantastic.

    Here in Connecticut, stores have started putting out Christmas stuff before Halloween for several years now, so this year is no different for that. (Halloween / Fall stuff gets put out the last week of August.)

    You were brave to say anything about the current situation in the US. I have learned, first hand, that one is allowed to exercise Free Speech on social media, as long as it agrees with the dictated acceptable opinions. One thing I find amazing is how some who claim to be for tolerance and acceptance of all (which would also imply all opinions, including those that differ from one’s own) are actually some of the most intolerant people.

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