Painter Kim McCarty’s monochromatic watercolors hang at the MOMA in New York, the Hammer in L.A. and show at some of the most respected galleries around the world. When we met Kim and had the opportunity to watch her paint inside her Malibu studio, we jumped at the chance.

McCarty’s unique and ethereal watercolors have garnered her a cult following in the art world and beyond.  Her sunny hillside studio is wallpapered with giant new works in progress – all of them female figures in melty washes of green and blue.

Game for a little play with the brushes the afternoon we joined her, Kim painted three portraits during our visit – all using blue spirulina and dried pitaya inspired by Pressed Juicery’s neon-hued Vogue lemonades. (Check them out here.) Basically, every wellness-minded art lover’s dream come true.

While visiting, we asked Kim about her daily inspirations and wellness rituals for our In The Studio series

Current inspirations:


Daily rituals:

Wake up, coffee, quick update emails, news, calls, studio before 9 a.m., break at 12:30, quick soup. Finish by 5:30, try for barre class to protect my back. After, always check on our restaurant, Michael’s. Home by 10:30 or 11. Otherwise, go back to the studio depending on exhibition or project schedule.

Top 3 reads for creatives:

Daybook, The Journal of an Artist by Anne Truitt, Hold Still by Sally Mann and books by authors who investigate the writing process, such as Anne Lamott or Steven King.

lunch in the studio is usually…

Vegetable soup and half an avocado. I usually sneak in an ice cream, but would never admit to it.

On painting with algae and fruit:

I’m completely amazed by the saturated color and texture. They have incredible staining ability. The algae granulates in unexpected ways. Some of the granules flake off the paper, which makes for some creative explorations. It’s good to add a touch of glycerin to the fruit to help spread the material.

Most exciting thing happening in art now:

Everything and anything is possible. Artists are combining different materials in both two and three dimensions. The art market has become less defined by the politics and visuals of Western values.

Best advice for the artist in all of us:

Create a physical space – it can be a desk or whatever – to go to every morning. Pretty soon you’ll be making something. Time will become more valued.

Painting makes me...

Attempt to sort out the surrounding chaos.

Current mantra:


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