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I’m Thankful for…

I'm Thankful for Printable Cards for Thanksgiving Day kids activity
I’m Thankful for…

My family – my husband and three kids, who are my everything. And our extended family too!

Our home – this cute Cape Cod house, filled with love, and light – great for painting. And it’s not too far from the beach!

This blog – that has motivated me – for close to five years – to be creative and pursue my own projects, which has filled me with such joy.

What are you Thankful for?
My printable Thankful Cards are available for download in my Etsy shop. 

I'm Thankful for Printable Cards for Thanksgiving Day kids activity

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My First Vendor Event – Recap and Tips

My first vendor event - recap and tips | selling my paintings in person
I survived my first event, selling my paintings in person. Here are my thoughts:

Table Setup: Aim for height and various angles – don’t lay everything flat. I like how my table came together. You could view things from far away. I brought a floor easel, a small wooden box, and a wooden wine stand to prop my paintings up.

Price cards. I know I never like asking people how much something costs. Having little price cards made it easy for people to learn prices and for me. People were handing me almost exact change when they were ready to purchase!

To talk or not to talk to browsers? I’m not sure of this answer. You want to be friendly, but people do like to browse without pressure. Because of the setup I wasn’t able to stand behind the table. And when the workshop started I was sitting a little bit away. If people were browsing for several minutes I said, “Please let me know if you have any questions.”

Several price points. Aside from whether or not someone likes your painting, purchasing a canvas, especially a large canvas is a commitment. A person needs the wall space in a room that goes with the aesthetic of the painting, not to mention the money. When you have items at several price points, including lower price points, it’s easier for people to buy. There aren’t so many hurdles. I sold the lower price points – pins, mini canvases that have a rope for hanging (like on a tree or small wall space), and prints. I did have a few people who expressed interested in the larger paintings and asked about size, etc. For them I had business cards on my table.

Entry Fee and Breakeven Point. This wasn’t an issue for me because I didn’t have to pay a fee for the event. My only “expense” was my time and I was supporting my friend Erin Andrews of Indigo House Interiors and attending her Interior Design workshop. But I thought about the vendor events I did many years ago when I designed invitations and stationery. If you are thinking about doing an event, think about the cost and how likely it would be for you to recoup the cost. For example back then I sold stationery for a few dollars. I would have to make quite a few sales just to cover a $50 or $75 event entry fee. Compare that to now, where selling one smaller canvas would cover the cost of the event.

Compare event fee to the size of the expected crowd. When considering an event you should think about the cost, how many attendees it usually draws and the type of attendee. If it is specifically an art fair, you know the attendees will be people interested in art, but all the vendors at the fair are essentially your competition. How many paintings is one person likely to buy? Not that many. But if you are at a more general vendor event there may be very few artists. You do have to keep in mind the type of fair. If the attendees are used to items for less than $25, it may be hard for them to buy a canvas that is priced well over $100.

Table placement. At a large event, the location of your table can play an important part in the amount of traffic you get.

I am considering doing another event because I learned I have the inventory and would like the opportunity to try to sell it to a larger crowd. Just before the holidays is good timing!

You may have missed the event but you can still shop at my website shop.eileenmckenna.com.


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My First Vendor Event

Selling art prints at a vendor fair
For the first time – tonight – I’ll be selling my paintings in person at a small vendor event. I’ve shied away from selling my paintings at these types of events, because I did a few when I designed invitations and stationery and they weren’t financially worth the time I put in to them.

I’m working with a different, reputable vendor to enable me to offer art prints for sale at reasonable price points. You can shop too at my website shop.eileenmckenna.com.

The event is an interior design workshop my friend Interior Designer Erin Andrews of Indigo House Interiors is hosting. I was very flattered when she invited me to sell. I want to support her, as she is supporting me. I figured the size of the event makes it less scary.

I don’t have any expectations as far as profit. I’m really doing it as an experiment. I want to see what kind of reaction I get to my work. Are people more interested in prints or canvas originals? I also thought it would motivate me to look through my stuff and figure out what to sell and how to present it all. I’m looking forward to meeting the other vendors, who are creative friends of Erin’s that she has talked about.

Similar to teaching watercolor this past summer, this opportunity came to me, and I’m looking forward to the experience.


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Acrylic Painting Routines

Acrylic Painting Routines

Since I began painting in acrylic vs. my usual watercolors, I’ve developed a routine. This routine of how I set up and arrange my paint, brushes, water, etc., makes me feel as if I’m emerging from beginner status.

Setting up is more extensive than just pulling out my watercolors, but I like thinking about what I’m going to paint as I get ready. Because it is more involved, I do it less often. I find it’s most efficient to work on a few paintings at once, especially since I’m concentrating on the same subject – the ocean.

I’ve solved a question, I had way back in the early days of my blog, of whether to use an easel or not. I prefer to paint flat and like the 12” x 16” canvas size. It is a manageable size to paint on a table. I’ve learned that anything larger is too cumbersome on the table. For larger canvases, after banging them around a bit, I learned to put them on my easel. Maybe I’ll finally get comfortable using it.

Early on I struggled with the first coat on the canvas – the canvas soaks up all the paint! I read that gesso helps the paint go on more smoothly. So now I apply a coat of gesso to each canvas before painting – wait 24 hours for it to dry – and then the paint goes on easier!
Acrylic Painting Routines - priming the canvas with gesso

Painting in acrylics is very different than watercolor. With acrylics it’s easier to blend and manipulate an area of the painting when the paint in that area is wet. Right now I have five new canvases gessoed and ready to go, and I’m excited about the possibilities.

Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter “My Creative Collection” by clicking here. Learn more here.

Click here to view my collection of watercolor and acrylic seascapes.

This post contains affiliate links to products/brands I use and recommend. I earn a small commission whenever you buy using these links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog!


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Create Seasonal Place Cards

Thanksgiving place cards | place card template | Thanksgiving table decor centerpieces place settings
Pretty up your Thanksgiving table this year with seasonal place cards. I’ve created a word template to get you started on creating your place cards.

Steps:

  • Select a font
  • Type in your names
  • Import artwork – The Watercolor Leaf Border Art is available in my Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/EileenMcKennaArt
  • Print, trim and fold

Alternative to importing artwork – follow other steps and hand paint or draw on each place card. A fun project for the kids. Let me know how your place cards come out!

Download the word (docx) place card template here.
Visit my Etsy shop to browse seasonal downloadable art!


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DIY Beach Wedding Table Numbers Centerpiece

DIY Beach Wedding Table Numbers Centerpiece | Beach Wedding Shell Driftwood Decorations
If your wedding has a beach theme or location, there are tons of ways you can DIY your centerpieces. Purchase glass containers from a dollar store and fill them with shells you’ve collected. Surround your jar of shells with starfish. Attach a table number card to a longer piece of flat driftwood – placed halfway into the jar. The acrylic seascape table card is available for download in my Etsy shop.

In a glass container:

  • shells
  • small pieces of driftwood
  • beach glass
  • a mixture of all three

Around the container:

  • starfish
  • medium sized pieces of driftwood
  • candles
  • all three

Most items you can collect on your trips to the beach, or you can easily find online or at your local craft stores.

Browse my Etsy shop for a selection of downloadable art for your wedding table cards.


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4 Tips for Professional Looking Invitations

4 tips for professional looking invitations | Christmas holiday invites | Cookie Swap invitation
It’s not hard to make your invites more professional looking. Think about the type occasion – is it formal or casual? For children or adults? Design the invite with the vibe of the party, and these four tips in mind:

  1. Size. Don’t design your invite to be 8.5” x 11” (letter) size. Instead choose a standard invite size (so it fits in a standard size envelope.) Popular sizes are 5” x 7” and 4.25” x 5.5”. You can fit 2 invites (next to each other) on a letter size sheet when printing. Then trim to desired size.
  2. Fonts. Use two fonts. Highlight important elements on your invite with a font suitable to the vibe of the occasion. Make important information bigger. Use a simpler font for details.
  3. Artwork. Use artwork – there’s so much affordable artwork to download online on sites like Etsy. Visit my Etsy shop here. Choose border artwork, or clipart for the top of the invite, or even use artwork in the background – making sure the text is still readable. A photo of the guest of honor is also a good option especially for kid parties.
  4. Text Color. Use one or two colors. Black plus one color is a safe way to go. Select the colors from the artwork or photo.

Added details for added interest:

  • Make the paper with the text a little smaller and layer on top of a piece of interesting paper (that is the final invite size). Attach the two pieces of paper with glue or hole punch, and tie them together with a ribbon.
  • Glue an element or two – like sequins, or anything that fits your occasion’s theme.
  • Order envelopes in one of your colors.

Browse my Etsy shop for downloadable holiday art, borders, and backgrounds for your next invitation project!

Download a free editable text template file (word doc):
invitetemplate_eileenmckenna

4 tips for professional looking invitations | fall halloween holiday invites


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InkTober … so far

InkTober front porch sketch
InkTober has begun. Here’s today’s sketch inspired by a beautiful front porch design by Ginny of @maplecreekmarket.

Here’s a recent sketch of montauk daisies.
InkTober sketch of Montauk Daisies

Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter “My Creative Collection” by clicking here. Learn more here.

Click here to view my collection of watercolor and acrylic seascapes.


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The Magic of a White Gel Pen

Drawing with a white gel pen
I often use a gel pen to add black details and outlines to my watercolors, but every so often I change things up and add white outlines onto a dark painting or paper using a white Gelly Roll gel pen. It’s a different effect.

This was a watercolor wash I painted last week. Every time I walked by it, I thought about how vibrant the blue was and how good white outlines would look on it. I grabbed a few shells for reference and used my white Gelly Roll gel pen. The white really pops!

 

Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter “My Creative Collection” by clicking here. Learn more here.

Click here to view my collection of watercolor and acrylic seascapes.

This post contains affiliate links to products/brands I use and recommend. I earn a small commission whenever you buy using these links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog!


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50 Ideas for What to Draw or Paint


There have been times when I’ve sat with my sketchbook open and thought, “What should I draw?” In reality, there are so many things around to choose from! Many of these things don’t seem interesting at first, we hardly notice them, but they are great practice. Once you start drawing you’ll see the challenge in capturing their shapes, shadows, perspective, etc.

  1. Lamp
  2. Padded chair
  3. Pillow – capture all the creases and folds!
  4. Pattern on curtains, couch, or pillow
  5. Accessories
  6. End tables – some have such interesting bases
  7. The Living Room – Part or all
  8. Kitchen or dining room chairs
  9. Ceramics – statue or teapot
  10. Cups
  11. Utensils or cooking tools – that pasta thing!
  12. Light fixture
  13. Fruit – whole or sliced
  14. Vegetables
  15. Cleaning product – like a spray bottle
  16. Vacuum
  17. The kitchen – all or part
  18. Sink knobs and faucets
  19. Robe
  20. Shoes
  21. Handbags
  22. Jewelry
  23. Makeup
  24. Makeup table
  25. Bedroom – all or part
  26. Laundry – folded or messy, the basket too
  27. Backpacks
  28. Trophies
  29. Hats
  30. Sports equipment
  31. Stuffed Animals
  32. Kid’s/guest bedroom – all or part
  33. Bookcase
  34. Computer or laptop
  35. Charging area with phones
  36. Pile of mail
  37. Spice cabinet
  38. Pantry – inside and out
  39. Laundry Room
  40. People (take photos if they won’t sit still)
  41. Pets (take photos)
  42. Your neighbor’s house
  43. Your street
  44. Car
  45. Plants
  46. Trees
  47. Flowers
  48. Patio or deck with furniture
  49. Lawn mower
  50. Watering can

Once your eyes open to the everyday things, you’ll never again wonder for long “What to draw or paint?” I love drawing with a smooth Uniball Signo gel pen. It works great alone or when adding details after watercolor paint dries. My favorite sketchbook is the Canson Multimedia XL, because the pages are bright white and thicker to allow for painting without the pages buckling.

Need help getting started with your creative journey? Read this post:

Want to be creative? Start here! creative inspiration | how to be creative Kick up your Creativity with Color! Steps to Creativity for everyone 

Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter “My Creative Collection” by clicking here. Learn more here.

Click here to view my collection of watercolor and acrylic seascapes.

This post contains affiliate links to products/brands I use and recommend. I earn a small commission whenever you buy using these links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog!