Kandy Myny was home raising her two sons a decade ago when she began brainstorming ways to earn extra money. “I had painted murals on my boys’ walls, and I started painting murals at other people’s homes,” says Myny, a self-taught artist from Shelby Township.
Word spread quickly about Myny’s skills. “It exploded so fast,” she recalls.
In a short time, Myny was selling her art at local businesses as well as through Etsy. Her business, Bit O’ Whimsey, is now a full-time online and art-fair venture.
Myny creates large, colorful “whimsical and inspirational” mixed-media paintings. She also creates prints matted for frames, wood-mounted designs, coasters, and greeting cards.
Recently, she began turning out pint-size wooden houses. “I’m always coming up with new things,” she says.
Myny, who grew up in St. Clair Shores, has loved art since childhood; she’s even saved some of her elementary school drawings, which are a testament to her early aptitude.
In the beginning, she researched mixed-media work, and says she’s “honed her skills” in this art form over the years. That effort has paid off. In July, Myny was the featured artist at the 50th Annual Ann Arbor Summer Fair, the fair of the Guild of Artists & Artisans, and her art was showcased on the fair’s posters.
Interior designers can use Myny’s larger pieces — 36- by 48-inch canvases — to bring bright, animated color into any room.
“Many hang my artwork in children’s rooms,” she says, “but you’d be surprised how many buy my art for above a couch.” She says people are drawn to her upbeat paintings, and shares that customers sometimes tell her they’d love to “live inside” her paintings.
In her home studio, paintings start with a rough sketch, but “that all changes as I go along,” she says.
Texture on the artwork is achieved by layering various materials — vintage postcards, old sheet music, magazine pages, doorknobs, and even lace Myny finds at garage sales and antique stores.
Myny starts by placing color on the first layer of the painting (she says she’s especially fond of blues and greens). Then, she might glue a page from an old magazine or an antique dress pattern to the painting’s surface. “It’s just enough to give it texture and depth,” Myny says. “Every piece is so different.”
Afterward, the painting gets another coat of color, and Myny highlights objects or borders with charcoal or ink. She paints images and then, finally, the paintings are sealed with varnish.
Animals such as foxes and squirrels often take center stage in the paintings because, as Myny says, “I like doing the whimsical, and people love it.”
Myny’s distinctive style also features flowers with long stems and birds with long legs; a number of her paintings focus on Michigan themes, including the Great Lakes. Other paintings include inspirational sayings that appeal to people who are going through hard times, Myny says. “Some (quotations) are basic, such as ‘Believe in yourself,’ but I try to come up with a lot of my own, too.”
A multitasker, Myny often works on two to three larger paintings at once. “I work an hour here and an hour there,” she says. “The (artwork) has to dry in between layers, and I’m busy with life.”
Her product line is ever-changing, so wandering through her booth at a fair is an art lover’s adventure. “I’m always creating and trying to find something new,” she says. “I’m experimenting with new media, trying to be inspiring to others.”
More information: bitowhimsey.com.