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Capturing the Bluest Blue Sky

Painting the sky in watercolor

I’m happy with the results of the sky above, which is ironic because I thought this painting was a lost cause. This is what it looked like:
Blue skies in watercolor

In an effort to capture the saturated blue of the sky (with a hint of purple), I had previously used several colors (including cadmium red and ultramarine) and the above was the result. It was too purple, and too dark. It looked like a cloudy day.

I didn’t give up. I removed a lot of the paint  by wetting it and soaking it up with the brush, and also blotting with a paper towel. Then I added cerulean blue on top. It was this layering of the colors that helped achieve the blue I was looking for. I don’t think the cerulean alone would have worked as well.

I also painted clouds and highlights with white gouache. I’ve been using white gouache for the foam of the ocean for a while but only recently have I been using it in my skies. I’m loving the results. Just shows that you gotta push through the ugly stage!

Read more on painting watercolor skies here:
Painting the sky in Watercolor #watercolor #skies #sky 

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

View my collection of watercolor seascapes at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Prints are available on watercolor paper or canvas, in many sizes.

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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Prep for the Beach Now and make getting ready a breeze!

Prep for the Beach Now and make getting ready a breeze! Essentials for packing for a day at the beach
Finally a warm day and we were headed to the beach, but I couldn’t seem to get packed up! What did I need? It took me forever to get ready to go. When I got home I got organized for next time!

Beach Day Musts:

  1. Beach chair, umbrella, and towel. Be prepared at a moments notice by leaving your gear in the car. My favorites – my Tommy Bahama chair and umbrella.
  2. Get a pedicure. Get those toes ready with a fresh coat of nail polish. My favorite new color “cabana.”
  3. Beach Bag – Have a designated tote just for the beach, packed and ready to go. My favorite – Scout bags.
  4. Sun protection! A wide brimmed hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. My favorites – Scala hats, classic Ray Ban Wayfarers, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer.
  5. Beach Bag essentials – A long sleeve T-shirt for cooler days, a good book, baby powder/cornstarch for wiping off sand, a plastic bags for protecting your phone and collecting shells.
  6. Drinks & Snacks. I get hungry sitting at the beach!


Wear your love for summer with this enamel Beach Pin

Beach Pin - 1" soft enamel pin with rubber clutch
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Click here to see more summer love products!

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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Painting my favorite candy – Dots

Painting candy packaging - Dots #candy #illustration #food
Uppercase Magazine – a favorite creative magazine of mine – recently had a call for submissions of artwork of your favorite packaging. I of course picked one of my favorite childhood candies, DOTS, to paint. (And Yes, I ate all the DOTS.)

One of my goals this year is to get my artwork “out there.” I’m not necessarily searching for places to submit my work, but staying alert for opportunities, in places that I’m a fan of.

So far:

I view each submission as a victory, regardless if I’m accepted or not. It is an accomplishment to follow through and submit, and in many cases create new art for the submission. And just like the old lottery slogan, “You’ve got to be in it, to win it.”

 

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

Have you visited my online shop? Prints of my seascapes are available on watercolor paper or canvas, in many sizes including the new “mini” canvas 11″ x 14″ at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek!

This 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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Twyla Tharp, “The Creative Habit,” and coming up with new ideas

Twyla Tharp, “The Creative Habit,” and coming up with new ideas #creativity
I had the pleasure this week of hearing Twyla Tharp, dancer and choreographer, and author of the famous book, “The Creative Habit” speak at Hofstra University. Her book, which I already read, is on many “best books on creativity” lists. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to hear her speak. She was no nonsense and honest, especially in her advice to the young dancers in the audience.

She began the talk, after introducing herself, by going through the book briefly and summarizing each chapter. Then she asked for questions from the audience, and while some were specific to dance, some were great questions that led to interesting answers – like “How do you know the difference between brainstorming and over thinking things?”

Twyla talked about the time she left NYC and went to a farm, where she and other dancers “worked.” No thought of celebrity or success, or social media (which didn’t exist at the time), but just focusing on dance. I appreciated this reminder that creativity is about putting in the work.

She said, “It takes work to have new ideas.” They don’t just hit you out of nowhere. You have to get going first. You have to be in the habit of “going.” She talked about the “rituals of preparation” and how important they are – whatever they are for you – to get you going. Once you have an idea, you move on from the ritual.

As a painter this all makes sense to me. The importance of sitting down every day to paint. Starting with anything to warm up and get going. I sometimes find the sitting down part is the hardest. Life is always trying to get in the way, even guilt that I should be doing something else. But this thought replaces the guilt, “I am a painter. I paint.”

Learn more about “The Creative Habit” by Twyla Tharp here.

This posts 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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A Magical Time at Disney World

Mickey and Minnie Disney World paradeWe had so much fun on our recent trip to Disney World! I highly recommend taking the kids when they are older because it’s a lot more fun going on rides with teenagers than managing diapers and strollers and all of that.

Magic Kingdom fireworks

Highlights of the trip:

  • The fireworks ay the Magic Kingdom – they project images onto the castle. It’s amazing! The people standing next to me got engaged during the fireworks!
  • The gorillas at Animal Kingdom, and the safari.
  • The Everest Expedition roller coaster at Animal Kingdom.
  • Meeting Star Wars characters at Hollywood Studios. I met Chewbacca!

Disney World is truly a place for all ages!

Everest Expedition roller coaster at Animal Kingdom
Gorillas at Animal Kingdom


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Fun Gift Wrap with Your Photo!

Unique personalized gift wrap

I’m so excited to announce my collaboration with fungiftwrap.com, a site that allows users to make one-of-a-kind wrapping paper using their own photos. What a special way to wrap a gift!

I enjoy designing and love the challenge of creating a pattern with a place for someone’s special photo. So far two of my designs have been added to the site:

How unique to give a gift with the recipient’s photo on it? Imagine how surprised and delighted they’d be. And the gift wrap at fungiftwrap.com is high quality, beautiful wrapping paper.


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No Expectations, No Pressure

Practicing watercolor portraits
I’ve learned that creating regularly makes me happy and starting the day by painting sets a great tone for the day. Sometimes I need to create without worrying about the outcome. It’s not always relaxing to sit and create something that you plan on posting or selling.
Practicing watercolor portraits
Sometimes I pick something that’s a challenge for me, like painting the shadows and skin tones of a face in watercolor, and I just sit and paint and practice. I do this almost unintentionally to relieve myself of any pressure to perform. When there is no expectations there is no pressure.

Why do my self portraits look so much like my dad? 😂

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

Have you visited my online shop? Prints of my seascapes are available on watercolor paper or canvas, in many sizes including the new “mini” canvas 11″ x 14″ at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek!


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Two paintings of the same subject

I often start and work on more than one painting at a time. It’s nice to have another painting to grab when you’ve reached the point with a painting where the newest layer needs to dry. Sometimes I work on more than one painting from the same reference photo. I’m not trying to create duplicate paintings. I’m giving myself the opportunity to try different things, to learn, to explore.

Two paintings of the same subject

The paintings above are from the same photo. In one there is a seagull. The crashing part of the wave is slightly different. Even the color of the sky, the detail of the sand. For me it’s not about which one is better. It’s more about what I learned during the painting process.

See my collection of seascape paintings at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Prints are available on watercolor paper or canvas, in many sizes.

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


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Crown and Bunny Fabrics

Crown and Bunny fabricsHere are two new fabric designs – Purple Royal Crown and Easter Bunnies. Purple Royal Crown was designed using an illustration I created back when Prince William and Kate had their first baby. I was recently inspired to create the pattern after watching The Crown on Netflix. Awesome show! The Easter Bunnies fabric was also created from an illustration in my sketchbook. You can see my growing collection of fabrics in my Spoonflower shop.

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

My collection of seascape paintings is growing! Visit shop.eileenmckenna.com to see!