Post by Category : Hand Painted Furniture

Tao Te Ching – Twelve

The five colours blind the eye.

The five tones deafen the ear.

The five flavours dull the taste.

Racing and hunting madden the mind.

Precious things lead one astray.

Therefore the sage is guided by what he feels and not by what he sees.

He lets go of that and chooses this.



Two words resonated – five and feel.

Five senses, five fingers, five toes, five sense organs. Balance between the hands, balance between the feet… feel!

Be guided by feel.

Feel is riding a horse. Feel is sensory, intuitive, mysterious. Feel is something to open up to and allow through balance and trust.

Feel, developed for me through The Alexander Technique, yet since messing up my toe, the confidence in my abilities eroded. Time to let that go! I can balance despite!

Feel is the flow of a paint brush, the calling of a colour, an idea wanting to be born. Feel is trust, breath, life itself speaking through you. Listen for feel.

Feel is not the emotions; it’s more than feelings.

Feel is a kind of inner awakening. A knowing that comes through allowing not by chasing or hunting.

This winter, snow most days. Every day the snow is different – crystalline, icy, wet, sticky, slushy… different feels. The last two days, powdery snow for the first time. Blue skies, warmth in the sun, spring around the corner.

I rode my horse, Angus, not ridden all winter with the ground so muddy or icy, rutted and hard. Yesterday and today, perfection.

He hasn’t forgotten the feel we’ve built between us. Neither have I. We were both happy. Blissed!

And a realisation – stop putting yourself down for not being good enough! It is all enough. It’s perfect.

Let go of ego’s nonsense. Comparison feels bad. Comparison blocks feel.

Today, I commit again to feel.

After riding, I up-cycled a small book stand with chalk paint. It belonged to a dear horsy friend, Jen, who died recently of Leukaemia. I painted roses either end.

Why did I want to paint it? It just kept coming into my mind to do it. Listen to what you are being told.

This morning I know why it felt right to up-cycle it. The book stand is symbolic… keep up-cycling one’s life with balance, feel, love, trust and gratitude and most of all enjoy the ride.

A perfect circle.

Thank you Jen!


28 Drawings Later – Drawing some conclusions, half way through

I’m doing a project called 28 Drawings Later aka getting through a shitty February in the wilderness! (Us Brits like to moan about the weather, a national form of therapy and endless fascination!)

The title 28 Drawings Later appealed – the suggestion of a journey, the suggestion of arriving in a new place – bring it on!


Hmm, I thinks to myself – drawing through the depth of a snowy winter means I can stay inside and watch daytime TV, not like last years madness of painting seascapes in oils all winter in my freezing cold studio. Drawing will be a doddle by comparison and give me a focus through the hideous weather.  I’ll do it!


I envision myself knocking off a quick sketch everyday no problem, but instead it has got me ‘drawing conclusions’ about my lack of method and random processes as an artist as well as my desires and hopes. It’s the 13th of Feb and I’m nearly half way through this drawing everyday thing and feeling like I haven’t even got going …


Conclusions drawn so far

  • I have different styles of drawings for different moods. Guess I must be moody!
  • Initial enthusiasm soon turns into an inner dialogue of … why are you doing this? You work every day anyway … why am I making myself DO a drawing project, it’s not like I need motivating … I ignore the chatter and start
  • I have an idea that I want to draw horse anatomy. So far, day 13, I have got nowhere near that work. Procrastination February!
  • Week one, I seem to be in a quiet cartooning mood, with ideas developing around lightness, buoyancy and uplift.  The drawings make me smile and feel ridiculously content and happy, which is just as well as the TV seems to have got stuck on a channel entirely devoted to true life murder stories.  Days pass and daytime telly becomes a gruesome backdrop of how and why people kill each other, horrible and yet quite fascinating! I convince myself that Goya would have watched these documentaries unable to switch back to my usual diet of antique and cookery programmes or put some music on. Animals start floating off the page … I discover programmes about forensics, I like anatomy I tell myself, watching cop shows is research!
  • Week 2, I manage to turn the telly off, but rather than get on with the ‘oh so accomplished’ anatomically correct horse drawings that I can see in my ever hopeful mind’s eye, I start finishing bits of furniture, up-cycling Danishly! Doodling and finishing stuff is part of the process, I console myself, feeling like the Queen of the Procrastinators whilst sensing some fear around finding that my inner Leonardo da Vinci really doesn’t exist!
  • Having got rather carried away with buying and painting furniture recently I spend most of the second week thinking I really must sell some of it. (Artist as hoarder.) I seem to have a particular ‘thing’ for chairs. Feeling sad at the thought of restraining my trips to the car boot I get a genius brainwave –  if I rid the house of two sofas and a very large arm chair, bought for my even larger now sadly deceased dad, that I never sit in, I can paint more furniture and buy more random objects that appeal and I don’t have to sell my painted furniture that I like and takes ages to do.  I could even do some still life drawings to justify buying more stuff! Realising the total genius of this idea I conclude that sofa’s are crap for the back anyway, take up a ton of space and it means I can make another drawing area where the sofa was and start channeling my inner Leonardo properly. It is now totally obvious to me that I am not drawing the way that I want to because of the sofas! I  just need to find a van and a man to help me take said lumps of back breakers, posing as comfy chairs, to the charity shop. I am, it turns out, not a hoarder at all but the High Priestess of clutter clearing!
  • Feb 13th happy with my plan to release sofas from my life, I realise that I have been a bit withdrawn (interesting word) of late. I am just tired, tired of the endless snow and rain in South Lanarkshire and mud, lots of mud, but my brain is now racing with  ideas of what I would like to achieve with my drawing and painting. The next painting is always going to be the best one! This is exciting! This is motivating! So as it is February and snowing again, I decide to allow myself to be with nature, and rather than beat myself up with my coloured pencils and sticks of charcoal, align myself with the bulbs in the garden that are just beginning to show and know that all these brilliant drawings too are hiding just out of sight, a bit frozen in my consciousness but about to burst forth when ‘winter’ lets go of its grip.
  • This seems like a jolly good reason to do lots of resting in semi supine aka The Alexander Technique aka Body Magic (link) to help the budding art grow from the inside out and of course give Leonardo a chance to find his way to Scotland … maybe he just doesn’t like the snow either! Happy that the Alexander Technique always illuminates,  I am off do do some drawing … or maybe just lie down for now … Spring up spring!

‘Love Time’

by Kirsten Harris

Pen and watercolour on White Paper

The Lightness of Being a Horse

by Kirsten Harris

Pen and Watercolour on white paper


by Kirsten Harris

Watercolour and pen on white paper

‘The Bird that Wanted to Fly’

by Kirsten Harris

Pen on white paper



My painted furniture – side panels from a corner cabinet and set of shelves


More Alexander Technique drawings here The Daily Ease A Walk in the Woods. Colouring Book


Diary of an Exhibition – Sailor Tattoo Symbols

I have been hand painting wooden boxes and furniture using sailor tattoo imagery as the source of inspiration, in particular referencing the work of the American tattoo artist Norman Keith Collins (January 14, 1911 – June 12, 1973) known as Sailor Jerry.


So here is the symbolism behind the sailor tattoo imagery I have been slowly painting onto boxes, sea chests and small pieces of furniture …. A contrast in activity to the frenzy of oil painting seascapes.


Swalllow – that a sailor has sailed 5000 nautical miles for each swallow tattooed

Anchor – stability and security

Rope – hold fast, a deck hand

Rigged Sailing Ship – sailed around the Cape of Good Horn

Heart – love, dagger through the heart – broken heart

Mermaid – the dangers of the sea and life, potent female energy

Compass – Making way safely home, direction, protection, getting through rough waters

Octopus – Complexity, diversity, mystery, vision, camouflage, illusion

Sea Horse – Symbol of strength and power, connected to Posiedon and Neptune

Red Rose – love

Key – luck, knowledge and success, freedom and liberation

Shells – love and fertility































All pieces and more will be for sale at my upcoming exhibition Dundas Gallery, 6 Dundas Street, Edinburgh 26 – 30 April 10 – 6pm




Diary of an Exhibition – Memory Box – Forget Me Not

Work in progress ….


Having fun painting this, with a nod and a wink to saucy art of the past, often, as with this, discreetly hidden.


Loving the retro sexy mermaid!


I want to find a padlock and key for the box.  As yet I am not entirely happy with the outside.


I think I probably just have to rough up the bird a bit to make it look older. Argh, what a terrible sentence!


I love the idea of having a place to store memories. A real physical object that is solid and sturdy and will last. Not just memories popping up on face book, but a proper time capsule.


I found the box in a pop up junk shop, it is not antique, so am not sure what it has been made for, maybe a stage prop. But it is goodly and solid and I pounced on it.


The lady in the shop said lots of people had looked but no-one could see a use for it! Mad!


In some ways I wish I had just painted the inside… but that is art for you.. an experiment.


At least I know that the antique sea chest that I am in the middle of restoring from the coat of blue gloss paint that someone slapped on it,  I will just paint an image on the inside of the lid.







LET GO MAKE ART – It’s Body Magic! – Free Creativity Course

I have consistently produced artwork over the past twenty years …


I have not only paid my living expenses, but I have bought a house, some land, a horse  –  from selling my art. I am an independent artist!


Despite the fact that as a child I heard at school and from the adults around me  –


‘You will never make it as an artist’

‘You are not good enough’

‘Artists are crazy!’

‘It is too difficult to make your living as an artist’

‘Do something sensible with your life!’ ….


And despite being rejected from 5 art schools!


I have proved them all wrong!



By learning the art of Body Magic…inspired by the wonderful Alexander principle…



  • By learning how to bring my whole self into the process of making art – body mindfulness!
  • By learning how to let go of unhelpful and often unconscious habits that block the flow of creativity
  • By developing a reliable understanding of my anatomy and how my thinking effects my movement, which in turn effects the art I make…
  • By learning how to make things easier!


This free 8 day e-course will help you do the same …

Learning Body Magic is all about finding EASE…


If you are interested in letting go to make art and finding out about the art of Body Magic at the same time this course is for you!


And it is FREE!


If you are interested in finding inspiration for your creativity why not give yourself a present and SIGN UP NOW at end of blog.


If you are already a creative person but feel you are stuck or need a creative jump start, a different perspective, then this free course may be just what you need…

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Being an artist or creative person of any kind is, in many ways,  being an alchemist or  magician –


  • Taking materials and transforming them into something wonderful…
  • Taking a piece of cheap paper, for example, and transforming it into something of high value by adding your unique presence to it!
  • It is so simple really and anything goes in art!


Success in art is available to anyone these days! Magical you, you can do it too!


It is just that so often we get in our own way by not having the confidence to let go and make art, by not believing in ourselves and our own unique perspective ..




Your art may lead you to riches… you never know… you + art = pure gold.


Being an artist is all about creating a better future for yourself and others …

The world needs artists and creative thinkers right now.


So why not Let Go and Make Art?  It is Body Magic indeed.


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More about Body Magic on the course.


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It’s fun!